Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2017

By , 17 July 2020



Da bomb.

Does the 2017 vintage surpass 2015 when it comes to the quality of Stellenbosch reds? The Cape Bordeaux red blend that is Paul Sauer has to be the ultimate bellwether and I reckon it’s as intense but more polished than the 2015.

Consisting of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot, it was matured for 24 months in French oak, 100% new. The nose shows a hint of reduction before black fruit, some leafiness, vanilla and milk chocolate while the palate is full bodied with plenty of dense, sweet fruit along with coated acidity and smooth tannins (alcohol: 14%). “Flashy” is the word that comes to mind and it’s sure to impress its legions of fans. Price: R700 a bottle.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

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6 comment(s)

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    Hennie C | 17 July 2020

    Christian I am curious – I know 95 is hardly a low score, but did you mark it down because it is too polished? Too flashy? I had the 2015 a couple of weeks ago and it is was sublime – I would’ve scored it higher than you have.

      Christian Eedes | 17 July 2020

      Hi Hennie, As has been discussed fairly often on this site, it can be argued that there are two competing visions as to what constitutes wine greatness, the first being one that favours opulence (massive fruit concentration, less prominent acidities, smoothness of texture) and the second being one that favours soul and personality (wine made so as to reflect terroir as much as possible). Kanonkop has always managed to straddle the divide successfully but I do wonder if the property is perhaps now veering a little more towards the former…

        Gareth | 17 July 2020

        Hi Christian,

        I think that sums up the scoring debate rather nicely. Would you say that you personally subscribe to the latter … and therefore appreciate and reward more generously in terms of scoring, those types of wines?

          Christian Eedes | 17 July 2020

          Hi Gareth, The short answer is: yes. Why? Because integrity of agriculture that respect for terroir usually entails equates to uniqueness in the drinking experience whereas the excessive application of technology in order to make a “luxury wine” leads to standardisation and uniformity. But it’s no simple matter. I think one’s personal aesthetic is always evolving just as wine fashion is ever changing. If anything, I’ve made a conscious effort in recent times to be more accommodating of wines made to be sumptuous, weighty and powerful – these are not in and of themselves illegitimate properties, after all…

    Johan Nel | 17 July 2020

    So, a lower score than the ’15 straight cab?

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