Monday, August 27, 2007

2004 KanonKop Estate Wine Pinotage

I have long been a fan of the Pinotage varietal and consider it one of South Africa's great grapes. Yet it is a varietal that many people either love or hate. I think it gets a bad rap though and more people would like it if they had some of the better Pinotage wines that exist.

I recently purchased a few bottles of the 2004 Kanonkop Estate Wine Pinotage ($35). I have heard much about this wine, very positive press. But I was a bit concerned over whether I should drink it now, or let it sit in my cellar for some years. I had read an article over at The Pinotage Club discussing how many of Kanonkop Pinotages needed to age for ten years. So, I emailed Peter May at The Pinotage Club to ask him about the matter. Not only did he quickly respond to me, in a lengthy email, but he even tasted the wine again and wrote about his thoughts. His praise for the wine only made me even more eager to taste it.

The 2004 Kanonkop Estate Wine Pinotage is 100% Pinotage, made from vines that are up to 59 years old. The wine spends 16 months in new French oak and it has a 14.5% alcohol content. It is made in the Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch.

The wine is inky dark with a fruity nose, a smell of ripe berries. On the front palate, there were nice cherry and blackberry flavors that soon merged into a more smoky, bacon flavored finish. That merging was seamless, and the flavors just seemed to naturally change on the palate. It was a very smooth wine, with mild tannins. A lush mouth feel that definitely pleased me. And the more I drank, the more complex it seemed. Tinges of other flavors seemed to peek out, even a bit of chocolate. This wine certainly did not need to age to be an excellent wine.

Some Pinotages have a more earthy taste, which I don't mind but which turns others off. Yet I did not really find much earthiness here. This is the type of Pinotage that any wine lover should enjoy. It is just a superb wine, with a balanced complexity and luscious taste.

I paired the Pinotage with pasta and sausage. Yet it was a home-made venison sausage, very spicy, plus it was in a spicy Arrabiata sauce. With the taste of wild game, and the spiciness of the sauce and sausage, I thought this might be a good pairing. And it definitely worked. The Pinotage flavors melded perfectly with the food.

Overall, this was an excellent wine and a strong Drink & Buy recommendation. If you want some of the best of Pinotage, this is your wine. If you don't think you like Pinotage, then I challenge you to taste this wine and see what you think. I still have a couple bottles left, and will let them age a bit. Though I am going to seek out some more of this wine so I can drink some now as well.

Peter May was certainly right about this wine!


african vanielje said...

Great Richard, pinotage is usually only a favourite with South Africans and ex-pats. I know of some who go to great lengths to import it. Your posts are very informative and helpful, thanks. I grew up on a wine estate in SOuth Africa, but I have to admit I am a bit of a wine philistine (much to my man's disgust). That's why it's always good to get people's advice, especially since come autumn I may just be making some venison sausages myself.

Richard Auffrey said...

Hello and welcome to my blog. I actually have several friends who enjoy Pinotage as well. I think it is more a matter of getting people to try some of the better Pinotages out there. If you do try the Kanonkop, let me know your thoughts on it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love Pinotage, but have trouble finding good bottles. This one goes on the list. Thanks!

Alana Gentry said...

Richard, I tried the 2010 Kanonkop Pinotage and it was fantastic. Highly recommend it, Cheers!

Richard Auffrey said...

So glad to hear that. Too many people don't give Pinotage proper credit. It can be an excellent grape.