KWV today unveiled two remarkable high-end brandies, Nexus 30 Year Old and Héritage XO Cognac, part of an initiative, Finish Great, designed to focus local and international attention on the stellar quality of the KWV brandy portfolio as a whole.
Three of KWV’s potstill brandies, 20 Year Old, 15 Year Old Alambic and the recently launched 12 Year Old Barrel Select, receive the maximum five stars in the new 2015 edition of Platter’s Guide.
KWV was also rewarded with the Worldwide Best Brandy accolade at this year’s International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), with the KWV 12 following on from winning Best Brandy in the World for KWV 15 in 2013. KWV previously won Best South African Brandy in 2013 with the 20 Year Old.
WORLD’S FIRST 30-YEAR-OLD COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE POTSTILL BRANDY
KWV Nexus 30 Year Old is an exceptional potstill brandy, handcrafted in small batches at the KWV cellars in Paarl using a blend ranging in age from 30 to 42 years old. It’s said to be the world’s first commercially available 30-year-old brandy.
KWV marketing director Peadar Hegarty notes: “Retailing at a recommended price of R23,000, Nexus is for those who want to celebrate those ‘Finish Great’ moments with an exceptional brandy, that is personalised on order, from our retail partners.”
“Nexus, meaning the highest point of a connection, links our KWV journey to finish great, representing the pinnacle of our brandy journey, which begins with our 3 Year Old.
Master distiller Pieter de Bod says that during the first stage of maturation clear potstill spirit absorbs the characteristic colour of the oak and develops its flavours and bouquets (the scent of oak, warm vanilla and the rich aromas brought out during toasting).
“After 20 years, the brandy mellows, the bouquet becomes richer and the flavour known as ‘rancio’ appears. This is a Charentais term, being notes of exotic mushroom and walnut oil, complex specific aromas that develop during the long barrel ageing accentuating their intensity.”
Nexus is suspended in the orb of a striking hand-blown bottle crafted by internationally acclaimed glass artist, David Reade. Each individually crafted bottle is sealed with a handmade Baltic amber stone, a unique gem with origins that can be traced to tree resins going back some 50 million years and set in copper by award-winning jewellery designer Maike Valcarcel.
Hegarty points out that the outer casing, also handcrafted from wood, represents the culmination of a journey of craft, patience and attention to detail.
KWV HÉRITAGE XO: CHALLENGING CONVENTION
Described as South Africa’s first and only XO Cognac produced under a South African brand name, KWV Héritage XO is the result of a collaborative partnership with the French House of Maison Charpentier.
“Cognac can only be produced in western France,” Hegarty says. “Verification of its authenticity is taken very seriously, protected by an origin appellation, meaning that in order for a blend to qualify as a cognac, grapes must be sourced and the product bottled and matured in France’s Cognac region.
“Pieter chose from 20 of the finest Extra Old (XO) cognacs from Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne, aged between 12 and 30 years, making it one of the oldest blends available worldwide and earning its prestigious XO distinction.”
De Bod developed the brandy at the cellars in Paarl, then travelled to France for blending and maturation. Cognacs from sought-after Petit Champagne are characterised by their elegance. De Bod says that the artisans at Maison Charpentier, founded in 1895, are true masters of their craft, distilling their cognac on site in small batches and maturing it in French oak. This is significantly different from the mass produced mainstream brands.
“We are very proud to be the first South African company to produce a South African branded cognac,” says De Bod. “This represents what is believed to be the world’s first cross-continental alliance, illustrated by our brand statement of Two Continents, Two Keys, One Extraordinary Cognac.”
Peadar Hegarty concludes: “Finish Great is the story of a journey of ups and downs true to the journey our brandy embarks on as it matures to perfection. It is also the human story of how we can all overcome life’s challenges and celebrate our own Finish Great moments along the way.”