The Mentors adds lustre with new limited edition Tempranillo 2021

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THE apex limited edition series of wines by KWV The Mentors has a new addition. The Mentors Limited Edition Tempranillo 2021 is the fifth expression to be included in this outstanding collection in as many years.

Limited Edition wines were born from The Mentors cellar’s desire to showcase unique wines, made to the highest standards. They comprise exclusively of single variety expressions, giving wine lovers the opportunity to emulate the cellar’s experimental journey by sampling wines from different terroirs.

The Limited Edition Tempranillo 2021 follows earlier releases – to great acclaim – of The Mentors Carménère 2017, Petite Sirah 2018, Malbec 2019, Nebbiolo 2017. It is the second wine bottled with labelling introduced last year that highlights its super-premium status and allure.

The Tempranillo hails from a small vineyard selected for its production – only 1000 litres of this wine were made. The block is situated in the premier wine-growing region of Wellington, and has shown over time, to produce world-class quality wine.

“I’ve worked with the Limited Edition blocks for over 15 years and come to know each one intimately,” says The Mentors winemaker Izele van Blerk (pictured above). “As far as the new Tempranillo is concerned, the grapes have been on an upward trajectory for some time. When the fruit emerged ahead of the 2021 vintage, I knew it had found its stride to make a blockbuster. It was the time to act.

“It just had to be included in the Limited Edition series,” she says.

The Mentors range was established in 2006 and without exception, rapidly became one of South Africa’s most accomplished wine ranges. Its consistent quality has come from a focus on the crafting of small batch wines in a cellar dedicated to experimentation and innovation, backed by a pioneering legacy dating to 1918 – the year KWV was founded.

As an extension of this heritage, The Mentors Tempranillo 2021 showed the first glimmers of excellence in the vineyard. KWV chief viticulturist Marco Ventrello noted that the preceding growing season influencing this wine was characterised by a cooler summer, with “particularly cooler nights”.

“This is per se a very good indicator of a quality vintage,” he declares.

Every step of the wine’s production involved separating out the best, starting immediately post-harvest with sorting of the grapes. Once vinified, the wine spent 18 months maturing slowly in 70% new barrels, with an even split between American and French oak. Another selection then saw only the best barrels identified for the final blend.

This whittling down from harvest to bottling is a mark of The Mentors, entrenched in its pursuit of getting to the best of the very best.

The Tempranillo 2021 has emerged a full-bodied wine, opening with a fanfare of strawberries, red cherries, raspberries and hints of tobacco on the nose. The palate reveals undertones of cloves, dried fig and leather, supported by a firm tannin backbone and zippy acidity. Its development in bottle has brought integration to the wine, which delivers an intense and satisfying finish.

“By its very nature, this wine meets our philosophy of honouring the diversity of terroir,” says Izele.

“Tempranillo is such a diverse variety and is mostly used in blends with Shiraz, but in Spain and especially Rioja, it plays an integral part in winemaking.”

In Wellington, the local expression rose to full splendour and is set to be welcomed with as much excitement as its predecessors.

The Mentors Limited Edition Tempranillo 2021 is available worldwide in selected markets, and in South Africa exclusively from the KWV Wine Emporium. It sells for R799 a bottle.

For more information, click here.

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