Thursday, June 26, 2014

KWV launch the new vintage of the Mentors range at The Test Kitchen

As if this week could not get any better? Then it did. On Thursday we attended a tasting of the KWV Mentors newly released wines at the Test Kitchen, where some of their best wines were paired with the food of South Africa’s number one chef Luke Dale Roberts. It was a tour de force of wines which, to quote Johann Fourie Chief Winemaker at KWV, “started the renaissance of KWV”. This renaissance was driven ably by Cellar Master Richard Rowe.
KWV managed to take over the restaurant for the lunchtime service
Eamon and Clare McLaughlin welcome guests at the door, 
Fiona MacDonald chats to Marco Ventrella, Chief Viticulturist at KWV
We love watching these chefs doing preparation in the very quiet kitchen. They each have a job to do and they do it silently and efficiently, then the food is assembled and the magic happens
Everyone knows exactly what is expected of them
First a tasting of 7 white wines, then 7 reds and then the Noble late harvest 2013
Tasting, tweeting, discussing, photographing and making notes happen throughout
From bottom left: 1. Mentors Semillon 2013, so classic, so clean and crisp with long flavours of citrus. HOW can we get SA drinking more of this wonderful wine? 2. Mentors Stellenbosch 2013 Sauvignon Blanc with cats pee notes and quite austere for Stellenbosch! 3. Mentors Darling 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was shyer, with more asparagus, crisp and dry, very different, will age when it settles. 4. Mentors Sauvignon/Semillon blend from Groenekloof. Grassy, dusty, nice glycerols, crisp lemons and melons. 5. Mentors 2013 Chenin Blanc. Dusty but full of fruit salad - peaches and melons, nice crispness and elegance. Drink now! 6. Mentors Verdelho. Herbal and full of peaches, nutty apricots, with minerality and elegance which was unexpected, but not powerful enough, needs more fruit and acid depth 7. Mentors 2013 Chardonnay. Golden delicious apples, shy, with wood notes but no smoke. Some umami hints on nose. Golden flavours, vanilla apricot and peach but dry, not sweet
Richard Rowe talks about the wines
Eamon McLaughlin
Winemaker Johann Fourie and Viticulturalist Marco Ventrella
Johann talks about the way they make the wine and source the grapes
Marco Ventrella spoke about the way they select vineyards for their special characteristics, to find the best terroir for each varietal
The line up of red wines
Chef Luke Dale Roberts
The red wines from bottom left: 1 Mentors 2012 Pinotage. Very rich, bloody notes, with intense red berries on nose. Wonderful mouthful of rich berries, long flavours. No metallic notes, toasty on end. Lynne would drink this (second pinotage this year!) Keep it and it will show its Pinot Noir parentage 2. Mentors 2012 Shiraz. Amami, tomato soup notes, sweet fruit, deep and delicious, pepper, spice and black cherries and mulberries  3. Mentors Cabernet Franc. Elegant. Incense wood. lovely berries violets and vanilla. A Dive-in nose. On the palate, clean bright fruit, beautiful minerality, and nice chalky tannins. Superb flavours. Lynne has written I WANT SOME, so this might be her Birthday wine this year. She scored 19½/20  4. Mentors 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis, warm fruit, classic nose. Cassis and amaretto cherries on mouth, chalky tannins and minerality. Needs 10 years to settle. Will be great  5. Mentors 2012 Petit Verdot. Shy but full of promise. Violets, roses, pure Chanel. Rich, full pure fruit, a lovely expression of the grape, vanilla on end. Nice structure. Taste this in 4/5 years  6. Mentors Orchestra 2012. Bordeaux blend. Blockbuster blend. With layers and layers, great balance; berries are expressive but not overripe. A 10 year wine  7. Mentors Canvas 2012 Rhône blend. “Hot country” wine, with nice acids and depth of fruit layers; violets and chalky closed tannins. See me in 10 years please. So unusual for a Rhône blend to be more closed than a Bordeaux
The menu paired with 5 of the wines
A smiling chef
A plate of delightful amuses to go with the bread platter. It included some savoury millionaires' shortbread, a square of foie topped with gold leaf – more, we want more, we muttered
Luke tells us about the food to come
So hard to resist this bread and pretzel platter, but we managed
Tony Jackman, Eamon McLaughlin, Neil Pendock and Marco Ventrella
‘Home dried’ tomatoes served with aubergine and sesame puree, with the burnt aubergine jelly and a goats cheese mousse. It was everything you ever wanted a tomato to be. Paired with the Mentors 2013 Chenin
Another view of the same to make you even more hungry
Tuna sashimi with a miso cured quail egg on top of baby lettuce, toasted garlic and ginger dressing. Paired with the Mentors 2013 Verdelho
A sweet and perfectly grilled scallop on fine green beans, braised & raw shiitake mushrooms on a tofu miso suke (fermented bean paste), braised scallop dressing with miso on toast for crunch. Perfect with the Mentors Semillon 2013
A palate cleanser of pomelo and grapefruit three ways, a sorbet, a foam and small segments, sprinkled with herbs

We all have to have a photograph of THAT!
Pan seared rare Springbok loin, baby beets, springbok skilpadjie, (red onion and almond liver parfait wrapped in caul fat) with a roasted springbok and beetroot ‘extraction’. Such a perfect match with the Mentors 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

And as a fine finale, an Assiette of chocolate, grilled white chocolate and cinnamon sponge, caramelia cremeuz, guanaja parfait & almond streusl and maple foam went with the perfect glass of The Mentors Noble Late Harvest 2013
Take a bow Mr Dale Roberts and KWV
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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