KANONKOP Pinotage, Stellenbosch
Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and the southern Rhone Valley’s Cinsaut created in South Africa in1925 and now widely considered the country’s signature variety. Kanonkop is a leading exponent. The grapes come from (untrellised) bush-vines planted between the mid-1950s and the late 1980s on decomposed granite soils. They are fermented in open concrete tanks with the cap punched down manually every two hours and the juice and skins separated after three days.
The wine is then matured for 16 months in 225 litre French (Nevers) oak barrels – 80% new and 20% second use. A textbook Stellenbosch Pinotage with aromatic and spicy aromas of mulberry, raspberry and cinnamon. Muscular, well integrated tannins add structure. Flavours of bramble, violets, plums and black berries are balanced with oak. The wine is typically elegant, with savoury notes on the lengthy finish, and a lifting underlying freshness. Drink now or age for 10-15 years or more.
"Still youthful and showing its 80% new wood, this is a very ambitious Pinotage from a fantastic Cape red wine vintage, exhibiting considerable colour, structure and concentration, fine-boned tannins and layers of raspberry and black cherry fruit. Give it time."
94 points, Special Report - South Africa 2019
This starts off shy and reserved, with tight wood tones that seem to currently cover the black plum and cherry fruits that sit beneath. It's more herbal and spicy in nature right now than fruit-forward, with leather and cured sweet-game tones. It's medium-plus in weight, with a plush feel to the midpalate that is lifted by bright acidity and a fine yet firm structure of tannic support through the finish. This is an infant now, but will surely continue to harmonize and coalesce well through 2035, though best to resist opening prior to 2025.
94 points, Lauren Buzzeo (September 2019)
...very smart... Matured for 16 months in French oak, 80% new, the nose shows red and black cherry and plums to go with musk, vanilla and spice plus a little banana loaf. The palate is extremely flavourful and very well balanced with pure fruit, punchy acidity and fine tannins (alcohol: 14.32%). It’s polished in the best sense and sure to appeal to a wide range of wine enthusiasts.
93 points, Christian Eedes, winemag.co.za (June 2019)