Five-Star gleam for KWV Cathedral Cellar

Monday, 5 November, 2012
Smart Communications
KWV has again stepped into the spotlight in what has been a stellar year for the company, this time thanks to its Cathedral Cellar Chenin blanc 2011, which received a coveted five stars from the Platter’s Wine Guide this week.
The Chenin blanc was one of only a handful of wines in its category rated as “superlative” and “South African classics” for the Platter’s 2013 edition, which was launched in Cape Town. The guide, now in its 33rd year, is one of South Africa’s most authoritative wine guides.

The recognition for KWV follows on the heels of a string of significant awards collected by the Paarl-based producer, which include most recently its emergence as most successful producer at both the Old Mutual Wine Trophy Show and, for the second consecutive time, the Veritas Awards. In addition to the five stars awarded by the Platter’s panel of wine judges, the Cathedral Cellar Chenin blanc 2011 received a Gold medal at the Decanter International Wine Challenge this year.

Reflecting on South African Chenin blanc in general in her forward to Platter’s, Master of Wine Lynne Sherriff says it used to be regarded in the markets of the UK and Europe as “cheap and cheerful” wine. “How the times have changed! Thankfully some winemakers dedicated to Chenin…continued to strive for world-class wines. The results are irrefutable.”

KWV chief winemaker Richard Rowe says there is a distinct move to Chenin wines that are lower in alcohol, made with judicious use of oak, drier in style and free of phenolics. “With the Cathedral Cellar Chenin blanc and the others across our range - this is where we’re going. Ours is an elegant style that is meeting the quality demands of an international palate.”

He added that the wines were the result of keen stylistic awareness and finesse by the winemaking team in an environment of constant evolution. “Our objective is the production of premium wines that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with international counterparts,” he said.
The Cathedral Cellar at KWV’s cellar complex in Paarl officially opened in 1930, and has been home to Cathedral Cellar wines ever since. It was restored in 2005 with its barrel vaulted roof, stained-glass windows, has a granite and wood inlaid floor, providing the perfect conditions for the hand carved wooden vats on each side, to hold and mature Cathedral Cellar wines into the style of wine today.

The wine itself is a blend of three components, two of which were fermented in barrel. The first was fermented with an indigenous yeast strain to enhance the texture of the wine; the other inoculated with commercial yeast to ensure maximum cultivar-derived fruit flavours. Left on extended lees contact for 100 days after fermentation, the wine was then racked and placed back into barrel for maturation for another three months. The third component, making up 25% of the final blend, is a tank-fermented Chenin blanc. This was added to the blend to enhance freshness, minerality and overall complexity.

The result was a juicy wine that delivers aromas of apricot, limes and citrus on the nose. Mineral and chalky flavours linger on the palate, cascading into a fresh, zesty finish. The wine can be enjoyed immediately or cellared for a few years. Available from most specialist wine stores nationwide, the wine retails for approximately R90 per bottle.
Cathedral Cellar Chenin blanc 2011
Cathedral Cellar Chenin blanc 2011

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