Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage 2021

By , 9 November 2023



The 2021 vintage of Black Label Pinotage from Stellenbosch property is one for the ages. Grapes from a 1953 vineyard on decomposed granite, the 2021 was matured for 18 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 100% new. The 2021 growing season was cool and hence longer, resulting in something particularly harmonious and complex (alc: 14.05%).

The aromatics are compelling – cassis and black cherry plus pleasing notes of vanilla, chocolate, freshly ground coffee beans, incense and earth, while a certain leafiness adds an intriguing counterpoint. The palate is really well delineated with succulent fruit, fresh acidity and firm, nicely grippy tannins. The finish, in turn, is long and ultra-dry. A wine of great aplomb. Price: R2 350 a bottle.

CE’s rating: 97/100.

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4 comment(s)

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    Greg Sherwood | 13 November 2023

    As a cultivar we basically “own” in South Africa, a mere 97 does becon the question, what else the most famous producer of this grape needs to do to even crack a 98… a score level even the declassified Magnetic North Chenin Blanc in the form of Gone South cracked?

    One can argue about Cabernet and Bordeaux over and under scoring all day long, but when if comes to Pinotage… surely “a wine for the ages” is worthy of a benchmark score? Or does the editor simply believe this cultivar is not actually worthy of greatness??

      Christian Eedes | 13 November 2023

      Hi Greg,

      As ever, I’m anxious not to contribute to the rampant score inflation that exists around the world.

      My scores for previous vintage of Black Label as follows:
      2014 – 92
      2015 – 96
      2016 – 91
      2017 – 95
      2018 – 94
      2019 – 96
      2020 – 94
      2021 – 97

      I’m happy that my scores reflect vintage variation and that the 2021 release is the best in recent times. Will Kanonkop make even more profound wine in time to come? There’s every chance that it will and at least I will have some points in reserve.

    Gareth | 9 November 2023

    I also had the privilege of tasting this yesterday and I think it’s the most complete and accomplished vintage of this wine to date. Absolutely stonkingly good!

    Kwispedoor | 9 November 2023

    I agree, this 2021 is a spectacular wine. I’d probably score it a point or two higher. Perfection, just about.

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