Kanonkop Pinotage 1993

The real deal.

Last night, a meeting of our social tasting group, the theme of the evening older Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon scrounged from various sources with two ringers thrown in just to keep things interesting. We tasted blind and here’s how I scored the wines using the 20-point system.

Kanonkop Pinotage 1993: 19/20
Red fruit and some floral notes on the nose. Delicate but very much intact on the palate. Subtle, understated and yet very persistent. A wine of great pedigree – revealing that it should trump its more classic stable mates.

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1991: 18/20
Red and black fruit as well as violets on the nose. Pure and focused on the palate. Good fruit expression but also tomato cocktail and oak spice. Elegant, seamless, poised.

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1992: 18/20
Dark fruit on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and rich. Huge concentration, relatively smooth textured. Still remarkably primary. Much more powerful than the 1991.

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1986: 17/20
Pleasant developed notes on the nose and palate. Red and black fruit as well as vanilla and slight tarriness on the nose. Slight sweetness, softness to the palate. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and no real tannic grip. Very appealing.

Kanonkop Paul Sauer 1991: 17/20
Dark fruit and slight earthy note on the nose. Rich with relatively soft acidity and smooth tannins. Fuller in body than the straight Cab of the same vintage but somehow less complete.

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1994: 16.5/20
Some savoury developed character on an otherwise shy nose. Dark fruit, slightly hard acidity and fine tannins. Lean and austere overall.

Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1995: 16/20
Earthy, meaty notes to go with red and black fruit as well as coffee on the nose. Juicy fruit, moderate acidity, relatively soft tannins. Appears sweet and not quite as focused as the other wines of the tasting.

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3 Comments

  1. KwispedoorMay 3, 2012 at 11:45 amReply

    Ha-ha! Yes, the only people that think blind tastings are easy, haven’t done them. This also alludes to one of the issues I have with category tastings. If tasters know they are tasting a Pinotage category (and any other, for that matter), they all have preconceived ideas/expectations. Of course category tastings also have their advantages, but there should at least always be ringers to keep tasters honest (and humble). 

  2. ChristianMay 3, 2012 at 10:16 amReplyAuthor

    Hi Kwispedoor. I was the only one of six tasters who knew precisely what the ringers were as these came from my late dad’s cellar. Truth be told, I thought the “quirky” 1995 Cab was the Pinotage. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes, as they say…

  3. KwispedoorMay 3, 2012 at 9:27 amReply

    Wonderful things, these old wine tastings. You could taste the same line-up tomorrow and likely have different results, with all the bottle variation. It also gives credence to the opinion that Pinotage comes into its own when the really good classic examples are aged (some contend that it should only be made into a highly extracted, ripe caricature or a tutti-fruity cheap and simple wine) .That 1992 vintage wasn’t hailed as much as the ’86, ’91 and ’95 at the time, but it matured beautifully.

    Did the Pinotage stand out or did some/all tasters not spot it as Pinotage? 

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