I'm proud to say I scored this wine long before Wine Spectator named it #100 in its 2010 Wines of the Year and featured a great picture of punchdowns at Kanonkop in its December issue. I scored it before the retailer where I work sampled it but did not pick it up, on the grounds that $30 was too much to ask for a pinotage. Well, maybe that's true, but I know good pinotage when I taste it (speaking of which, LCBO gods, thanks for throwing a pinotage into the Wine Tasting Challenge in Toronto this week – it accounted for a quarter of my right answers in the first round!). Anyway, yeah. This is good pinotage.
The back label indicates that punchdowns were performed every two hours during fermentation, which explains the vigorous tannins and gorgeous blackberry color. Harvested from bush vines up to 56 years old with no irrigation (very cool, in hot-hot Stellenbosch), this wine shows serious concentration and unmistakeable sense of place. The nose is so familiar – I could hand a dear friend a glass of this and say "this is Stellenbosch. This is where I lived."
I served it slightly chilled for a change with pleasant results, and paired it with spicy steak fajitas. The flavor profile is textbook: chocolate, game, gorgeous whole clove and elderberry, with a menthol twang playing against a thick, rich vein of toffee. A sip yields firm tannins, great acidity and a brambly, bloody finish that smooths out into dark chocolate. A fierce wine, ideal for flank steak asadas with mole sauce (or braai of course!). Great stuff – varietally correct, unapologetic, and elegant in its primeval loveliness. My kind of wine, no question. Nice job, Kanonkop!
Kanonkop Estate 2008 Pinotage
Wine of Origin: Simonsberg-Stellenbosch