KANONKOP Paul Sauer Cabernets, Stellenbosch
The make-up of Kanonkop’s flagship Cabernet-led blend can vary but is typically 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% each Merlot and Cabernet Franc from vines grown on the lower slopes of Simonsberg in the Stellenbosch region and planted mostly in the 1980s on decomposed granite soils. The wine is named for Paul Sauer, grandfather of present owners Paul and Johann Krige. It is fermented for five days on skins in shallow, open, concrete fermenters, with the cap manually punched down every two hours.
It then matures for 24 months in 100% new, 225-litre French (Nevers) oak barrels.The wine typically shows complex and layered aromas of cassis, plums and sweet spice are further complemented by notes of tobacco, cedar wood and cigar box on the nose. The palate has a plush, juicy red and black fruit core with seamless, integrated tannins and a fine seam of acidity. Balance of oak and fruit results in a wine with grace and elegance finishing with savoury notes. The wine will mature and improve for 20-25 years.
...by any standards, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% each of Merlot and Cabernet Franc is... one hell of a wine... Grippy, focused and slightly leaner than the 2015, but with savoury tannins and plenty of youthful fruit concentration.
96 points, Special Report - South Africa 2019
Joint winner, Wine of the Year, Bordeaux Blends -- South Africa 2019
Licorice, violet and rooibos tea spice rides atop the earthy cherry pit, black plum flesh and warm strawberry-rhubarb pie tones on the nose of this blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc. The palate is similarly spicy and well structured, with framing tannins and a velvety texture that envelop the ripe red-fruit flavors. There's a nice juiciness on the palate, lending freshness through the finish. It's bright and well balanced, and will mature well through 2030.
93 points, Lauren Buzzeo (September 2019)
Compared to the 2015, the 2016 sees Cab down to 62% from 70%, Cab Franc up to 25% from 15% and Merlot down to 13% from 15%. As with 2015, maturation lasted 24 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 100% new, alcohol down to 13.84% down from 14.47% in the case of its predecessor.
The nose is exotic and intriguing with notes of vanilla, incense, earth and tar to go with black and blue fruit while the palate shows plenty of sweet, dense fruit and smooth tannins – winemaker Abrie Beeslaar has managed to coax impressive depth out of his grapes...
92 points, Christian Eedes, winemag.co.za, July 2019