After being mightily impressed how well the 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages of Paul Sauer stood up next to the equivalent from Bordeaux First Growth Château Mouton Rothschild at the recent Big 5 Tasting, I couldn’t resist opening a bottle of the 2000 for friends on Monday night.
In colour, it showed signs that it was starting to mature with the outer rim being red-brown, although the centre was still opaque suggesting a good while to go yet. On the nose, cassis and some earthy notes while the palate was full-bodied with layers of flavour, great balance and very persistent finish.
You’ve got to check out the Kanonkop website, one of the best around. First up, you’re asked to choose your preferred language from a selection including Afrikaans and English as well as Argentinean (!), French, German, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Xhosa, a subtle way of suggesting that Kanonkop is a serious player in the global market.
There are fact sheets on every Paul Sauer back to 1992 (not quite comprehensive as the maiden vintage was 1981 but even so, this amount of information puts the vast majority of other local producers to shame). As for the specific blend in the case of the 2000, this consists of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot (unusually no Cabernet Franc). It spent 26 months in French oak, 90% new and 10% second-fill. In terms of analysis, it has an alcohol by volume of 14%, a residual sugar of 1.1g/l, a total acidity of 6.02g/l and a pH of 3.52.
This is the stuff to gladden a wine geek’s heart although it seems I committed an act of sacrilege in opening the 2000, because according to the site’s “vintage chart”, the 1994 and 1996 are the youngest that are anywhere near drinking.