Kanonkop Almost Strikes a Grand


You can never have enough Kanonkop.
You can never have enough Kanonkop

Trying to stretch the limits of my original and unique Millennium® 1000 points scale for judging wine, I had a look at my expansive collection of Kanonkop wines. It was enough to give me a semi-woody: Pinotage 1973. Paul Sauer 1990, 1995, 1998. Cabernet 1982, 1988 and 1997. But I decided to haul out the Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, a vintage characterised by late berry-set, a pungent north-east breeze during March and a bit of hail in February. Average in the greater scheme of things.

But I should have known better – when it comes to Kanonkop, things are about as average as a wet T-shirt competition in a second year residential unit occupied by Ukrainian brunettes. This Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 was a mind-shag, causing me to stash the remainder of the vintage in a place where my uncultured and recently of-drinking-age family members would not be able to get at it.

The stuff is black in colour, the kind of black Roald Dahl used to describe the honey produced by bees scoffing pollen from marijuana plants, and the Cabernet’s whiff was almost as heady as those very same plants. A deep, haunting seductive perfume of concentrated black fruit, pine-needle and bouquet garni that pierces the senses and begs to be ravished.

The wine was fresh, but nine years’ maturity had given it depth and a commanding presence. Sweet, tantalizing and juicy fruit opened-up a warm spot wanting filling as the wine was introduced. The spot was duly covered with trance-inducing flavours of crushed overripe wild strawberries, Sardinian dried tomato, saffron and a decadent savouriness. All in all, the wine lay on the palate like the feather of a princely falcon, offering enjoyment and sensual pleasure that should make this Cabernet carry an age restriction higher than 18.

The verdict? Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 rings-up a 981/1000.

Another lovely wine I chanced upon is the Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir 2011. Leading a tasting for the Constantia Ridge MasterClass® I took one swig and told these Constantia Pinot Noir virgins that this wine offers a wonderful blue-print for what Pinot is.

Blushfully restrained in colour, the wine had a typical Pinot nose of iron, honey and mushroom. The attack is fresh and the wine immediately makes its presence known, like a whack on the shoulder from hand-bag donning Queen wishing to introduce you to his other side. Cathy’s Pinot splashes into the mouth, fresh and fruity, but still serious with opulent varietal-true flavours of cherry tobacco, autumnal forest floor and flowing mountain water. A lovely little Pinot, I just wish the Constantia patrons had change out of their horsey riding gear before the tasting.

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir 2011 gets 845/1000.

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir - cool label, too.
Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir – cool label, too.

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4 thoughts on “Kanonkop Almost Strikes a Grand

  1. I remember that 2004. It won a blind Cabernet tasting my club (The Noble Rotters) held a few years ago. I also recall it being a Platter’s Wine of the Year at some stage, though I’m under correction on that one. Nom-nom!

  2. Kwis, it is a beaut. Doubt it can get better than right now! Seeing as you are not family, let me know when you are around and I’ll share a bottle.

  3. Wine of Year in 2009 Platter (also winery of year), and they note the CS was the first wine ever to receive 5 stars in 1980.

    I presented a tasting of Kanonkop for the Imperial Hotel, Gt Yarmouth (UK) in 2009 showing this, the Paul Sauer 2004, Pinotage 06 and Kadette 05 and ordered an extra case of each for myself – still got some left of all but the Kadette.

    Thanks, Emile, for the heads up on the CS, I won’t keep it much longer but enjoy it now while it tastes like ‘the feather of a princely falcon’. 🙂

  4. That’s generous, thanks Emile! My business totally caves when I’m not here, so even though there are 1001 reasons for me to go to the Cape, the opportunity to go seems unlikely anytime soon. When I eventually do, I look forward to making a complete pig of myself, trying to catch up on lost opportunities. In the meantime, I’ll visist vicariously – maybe I’ll stumble upon a 2004 Cab at Kanonkop’s Black Label tasting later in the year. Tonight, something different, but very good: a Wine Cellar tasting of the new Mullinieux stuff.

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