Iona Red Blend
Ashbourne Pinotage 2018

The Mentors Canvas 2019

I doubt there is a household in South Africa where a bottle of KWV hasn’t appeared on the dinner table. Going all the way back to 1918, this wine enterprise branched out into every aspect of the drink business, establishing a wine culture that could defy borders and time. Then, harnessing an invaluable core of expertise with access to great sites, they understood when the time was right to create something off the charts. Hence The Mentors was born. Today decorated with many awards, and rightfully so, it is recognised as its own brand and a consistent quality symbol.

The Mentors brand is an ode to Mother Nature as the leading mentor. Their philosophy is to employ mentors in their field, harnessing the best from nature, and translating this into award-winning wines that again, will be unmistakable for the mentors they are.

Innovation, experimentation, quality, the ultimate expression, and multiregional diversity are keywords for The Mentors.

The Mentors Range is made for wine lovers who are curious about new grape varietals and be associated with the best quality while drinking trendy and luxurious wines.

“A mentor embodies leadership, and The Mentors brand depicts this. One of a mentors’ greatest values is the ability to have outstanding skill and foresight. This is where the winemaker Izelle has outperformed many with her drive to create exceptional wines. – Georgio Meletiou

The Recipe

Mushroom Pasta Rice Salad With Olive Ciabatta and Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • 250 grams pasta rice (Orzo)
  • Willow Creek parmesan flavoured olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 250 grams crème fraiche
  • 1 tin Rhodes quality mushrooms in brine, drained
  • Grated parmesan, cooked bacon and chopped parsley to serve


Cook the pasta rice according to the package instructions. Strain and drizzle with the olive oil so that the rice doesn’t stick. Add the crème fraiche and mushrooms.Season to taste. Mix well and serve with the bacon, parmesan, and parsley.

  • 800 grams SASKO white bread flour
  • 1 packet Southern Coating Original (200g)
  • 15 ml yeast
  • 30 ml salt
  • 30 ml sugar
  • 1 cup semi dried and pitted olives
  • 100 ml Willow Creek Parmesan flavoured olive oil
  • 850-900 ml lukewarm water


Place the flour, Southern Coating, yeast, salt, sugar, and olives in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. On a slow speed, add the olive oil and 3/4 of the water.

Once combined, increase the speed, and mix the dough until everything sticks to the paddle. You might need to add more water for that to happen. The dough shouldn’t be too thick. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave to rise for at least 30-45 minutes.

Pour the dough out on a floured surface. Cut into 2 loafs of bread and tuck in the edges so that it forms a long loaf. Bake for 30-45 minutes on a 220-degree Celsius oven or until cooked and golden brown.

  • 500 grams vanilla muffin mix, prepared according to package instructions
  • 2 litre vanilla or chocolate ice cream
  • Some preserved cherries or berries to serve


Spread the prepared vanilla muffin mix on a prepared baking sheet and bake on 180 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. Cool down.

Soften some ice cream and keep aside. Using ring moulds, place a disc of cake on the bottom and top with the ice cream. Place another disc of cake on the top and press together. Place in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with preserved cherries or other berries.


  • One might think cheese and wine is a given, but a strong cheese can quickly derail a wine. In the case of the Canvas, its intensity equals that of Parmesan cheese.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the wine. Suited with fine tannins, the crème Fraiche will enhance its distinctive chalky texture, translating as a beautiful, velvety mouthfeel.
  • The signature character of this wine is its aromatic red fruit. Adding mushrooms as an earthy element balances the experience, creating a platform for delicate nuances of salt, sour and umami flavours to come into play.
  • Briny and smoky elements like olives and bacon are daring when pairing bold red wines. However, the wine is earmarked by a luminosity and fresh acidity that will help it highlight the fruit even more.
  • Thought you couldn’t have your red wine with dessert? The cherries and ice cream will bring out a child-like quality in the wine, with whimsical fruit aromas drawing the final curtains on the meal.

Our Experience

The Mentors was arguably KWV’s best move ever; at least for us oenophiles craving wines with an unexpected twist that makes you say: “Hey John, Jo and Jenny, you need to taste this! It’s absolutely marvellous!”

If a wine evokes that need to want to share it with someone, they did something right. Trust me, such wine has the power to lodge itself in your memory, and everything will come rushing back the next time it passes your lips.

Visiting Italy for the 6th time this month in the comfort of our home, the pasta dish changed off course, but the wine remained the same. And enjoying the last bottle in our case of six, Georgio also felt compelled to take out his new authentic pasta machine.

The Mentors Canvas 2019 is a wine you want to invite to dinner every night, with or without the company.

First and foremost, prepare yourself for a wine in range that was meant to swim upstream. It wasn’t intended to tick all the boxes of what you expect a red blend to be. It was meant to defy the norm and push boundaries – delivering an intelligent execution of various regions’ best vineyards and most exciting parcels. It requires a winemaker with foresight, willing to hover on edge but knowing that she won’t lose her balance. Yup – it’s a female winemaker and a bloody good one too.

Izelle van Blerk loves to share her anecdote of expecting the unexpected, and you imagine her in the cellar like an alchemist creating little concoctions of wonder that one day, she will share with the rest of us. However, when a wine reaches that stage where she feels ready to be shared, it is done with unfeigned delight. Petit Verdot. Mourvèdre. Grenache Noir. Tannat. Carignan. Shiraz. Tempranillo. Sangiovese. Nebbiolo. Or a blend of all the above.

“The whole idea is to find new building blocks to create unique wines. The canvas started out as a Rhone-style blend driven by red fruit. Still Shiraz based, it is now more of a Mediterranean inspired blend. It is all about the art, and the craft of winemaking and nature has the last say in which direction the piece will go.”

The wine demands attention with a rather vivacious personality. Its deep ruby colour fades out from the core, displaying vibrant flashes of crimson red. Not a degradation of colour but sharing the character of various cultivars contributing to its magic colour dream coat.

Canvas is pure delight, and the artist clearly had carte blanche to apply broad strokes of genius, determined to show skill and creativity.

As a regional blend from Paarl, Swartland, Wellington and Stellenbosch, it comprises Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Mourvedre. I don’t measure spices when I cook, so the overall experience of the wine overrules the quantities of each.

The wine welcomes you with a pronounced aroma of young, crunchy plums, ripe mulberry, black and red cherries. A becoming perfume of violets and sweet spice adds class and finesse. Even before tasting the wine, the evolution in the glass adds more dimensions, like opening a box of chocolates, tucking in for all your favourites like mint, black cherry, and almond praline. Still, a clear savoury thread ties the opulence together.

We just loved how both the fine chalky tannin and a riveting acidity illuminated the wine, tucking all the lovely textural elements together like the string of a corset. Well-judged and made with precision, every cultivar and region of the blend adds its worth to help the wine age gracefully.  

You will find yourself utterly delighted just by discussing the wine with the person you enjoy it with. Indeed, a smart wine, like its maker.

See it for yourself

Gallery of our experience.
All images copyright Samarie Smith and/or the featured estate.

To have your wine featured and reviewed, please contact us.


Samarie +27 82 072 5451

Georgio +27 83 326 3016