KANONKOP Black Label Pinotage, Stellenbosch
This wine, a definitive South African Pinotage, comes from unirrigated bush-vines planted in the 1950s in decomposed granite soils on the lower slopes of Simonsberg in Stellenbosch. It is fermented in shallow, open concrete vessels with the cap punched down manually every two hours and the juice separated from the skins after 3.5 days. The wine then matures for 18 months in 100% new, 225-litre French (Nevers) oak barrels.
The nose is perfumed with dark red rose petals plus layers of strawberries, red fruit and hints of sweet spice. The palate is packed with red fruit, black plums and chocolate with integrated oak in a supporting role. Plentiful, ripe tannins and a long, seamless finish round off this complex, powerful yet elegant wine. Ageing potential: 20-25 years.
A serious wine, made in a modern style, exhibiting notes of cinnamon and licorice that glide along, while ripe plum and dark chocolate flavors meet in the center. Firm in structure and thick in texture, this carries through to a solid, juicy finish. A bit restrained, so cellar for several years.
92 points, Aleks Zecevis (September 2019)
"Abrie Beeslaar is not alone in putting 2017 on a par with 2015 as a red wine vintage, so it's no surprise that the Cape's best Pinotage has delivered the goods. Sourced from a low yielding 3.9-hectare block, this is serious, layered and very fine, effortlessly handling its 100% new oak and showing liquorice, blackberry and black cherry fruit."
96 points, Special Report - South Africa 2019
...very, very impressive... Grapes from 65-year-old bush vines... matured for 18 months in French oak, 100% new. The nose shows red and black cherries, plums and hedgegrow fruit, fynbos, tilled earth and attractive oak-derived characteristics including vanilla and cinnamon -- it’s deep and very alluring. The palate has huge fruit density -- sweet in the best sense, almost liqueur-like -- but there’s also bright acidity and the tannins are firm and pleasantly chewy. It’s a real statement wine -- powerful but composed and built to last.
95 points, Christian Eedes, winemag.co.za (October 2018)
Joint winner, Wine of the Year, Pinotage -- South Africa 2019, Tim Atkin MW
Immediately impressive upfront, the nose of the 2017 Black Label Pinotage is open and expressive. The opaque core has deep purple edges, and the fruit is concentrated with the oak. The dense and chewy fruit expresses the full array of blue, black and dark red tones—dark plum, blackberry, black cherry with hints of blueberry fill the nose of the glass. On the palate, the fruit has a depth and breadth that is complex and gives pleasure. This is an impressive Pinotage bottling. The mid-palate is rich, full-bodied and is highly complex, while the finish is still youthful and has a firm tannic grip that will ensure this wine lasts for decades. Wow! This full-bodied wine ends with a long and highly complex finish with notes of dark chocolate. It is an impressive wine that will captivate your attention. Drink 2020-2045.
94 points, Anthony Mueller, November 2019