Photo Caption: Celebrating the 2020 Veritas Vertex winner, KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2018 at KWV: Christo Pienaar (chairman Veritas), Justin Corrans (KWV cellar master), Izelé van Blerk (senior winemaker KWV The Mentors), Johan Conradie (managing director Vinventions SA) and Bennie Howard (vice-chairman Veritas).
The Veritas Vertex Award for the overall champion wine from almost 1 300 entries for Veritas this year, was won by KWV The Mentors Orchestra 2018, a Bordeaux style blend – representing the climax of proceedings at the recent awards function.
The magnificent hand-crafted glass trophy was handed over to the KWV Mentors senior winemaker Izelé van Blerk – where KWV was the star of the day by also bagging three Double Gold and ten Gold.
It is the first time that a red wine wins the Veritas Vertex Award since first being awarded in 2017. Its name derives from the Latin word “vertex”, which means “highest point”, which represents the Veritas Awards’ objective of crowning the best wine at the peak of all the medals awarded.
Van Blerk says the Orchestra 2018 is a blend of six classic Bordeaux grape varieties that went through a seven-stage selection process, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Carménère. It was only the second time Carménère was used in the composition for the Orchestra.
“Each base wine was tasted individually to determine its own unique contribution to the blend. Blending was done with one objective: the whole had to be the best reflection of the different varietal characters; the wine had to feel ‘complete’ to all senses. The result is a very typical Bordeaux-style wine, but with a touch of New World fruit aroma to add dimension and complexity,” she said.
The grapes benefited from favourably cool climatic conditions at vital growth phases and a warm ripening season produced small, characterful berries.
Winemaking took place in the KWV The Mentors Cellar where hand-picked grape bunches were sorted, to ensure that only the best of each variety would go into the blend. After fermentation, the most promising wines were chosen to continue maturation in barrel. After 12 months, the finest were again selected to mature for a further six months before blending. This blend is truly about selecting the best-of-the-best of each variety, Van Blerk emphasised.
The wine was matured in French oak barrels for 18 months in total, 70% of which were first-fill.
The end-product is a modern, multi-layered and Bordeaux style blend that shows aromas of blackcurrants, blueberries, plums and black pepper, with nuances of pencil shavings and dried herbs. On the palate, the intense concentration is prompted by a firm tannin structure and layers of sweet fruit with an excellent follow-through.
As with a fine orchestra, this blend showcases the unique individual attributes of the different varietals, but in unison delivers a complexity beyond the sum of the components. The wine can be enjoyed on its own or paired with braised lamb shoulder or filet mignon. It has the potential to further mature for 10 – 15 years.
Composition of this Wine of Origin Western Cape: 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 6% Carménère – deriving 72% from vineyards in Stellenbosch, 22% Paarl and 6% Wellington. Alcohol 14.69% vol, pH 3.42, Total Acidity 6.31 g/l, Residual Sugar 2.95 g/l.
Order online and get it on your doorstep
The Vertex winner can be ordered on the brand new VinoVeritas by CTP App that was launched three weeks ago, which makes all the coveted Veritas Gold and Double Gold medal winning wines and brandies available for easy, online ordering and delivery to buyers’ doorsteps.
To download, search for and register on the VinoVeritas by CTP App on Google Play or the Apple App Store on your mobile. The awards can be searched and ordered straight from the App. The Veritas website also features two icons to click on for direct access to the App for registration.
Remember, a VinoVeritas GetWine voucher makes for a perfect Xmas gift this year! Visit www.getwine.co.za to purchase a voucher, mention VinoVeritas and let your loved ones know to purchase their wines using the VinoVeritas by CTP App. During the payment process they simply supply GetWine with the voucher number; it’s that easy!
Veritas London and Hong Kong tastings to resume
The Veritas Awards tastings for Double Gold winners that were started three years ago in London and Hong Kong and hosted by international judges Joe Wadsack (UK) and Ms Tersina Shieh (Hong Kong) respectively, will continue next year during June after being put on hold for the past year in London due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while smaller events were held in Hong Kong.
Vinventions, a global leader in complete wine closure solutions, has confirmed that it will continue its sponsorship to fly the Vertex winners to London for the tastings and then on to a visit to the Berthomieu-Ermitage cooperages and several wineries in France. The 2019 Vertex winner, owner and GM of Domaine Des Dieux, Megan Mullis with their Domaine Des Dieux Chardonnay 2015, will be joining Izelé van Blerk next year for the London tasting.
To replace this year’s cancelled London tasting, a special series of Zoom tastings will be hosted by Joe Wadsack, BBC wine journalist and regular Veritas judge, with a number of other top wine journalists in the UK. The tastings will later also be available for accessing via various social media and internet channels.