Thursday, 10 January 2013
Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2009
Kanonkop was inspired by a special offer that caught my eye and has since inspired a love of South African wine that I am yet to shake. Made in a distinctly Bordelais style with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (giving it an edge of complexity over the single-grape Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon), Kanonkop is an excellent expression of what it is to be a 'proper' South African red.
Decanted for 3 hours before serving (at a later tasting I attempted 1.5, which was clearly too short), the colour was an rich, smoky red. Almost opaque, and interestingly a herald of things to come.
Nose: Kanonkop says 'I'm South African' all over the nose. It has the typical red fruit associated with a blend of this variety, but backed with the smokiness that is so classically South African. Coming in as top notes were blackberry, cherry, plum and some pepper. The more I sniffed, the more I felt the smoke was perhaps tending ever so slightly towards the phenolic aromas of a peated whisky. That is one I'll have to try to find again.
Palate: After 3 hours it was gloriously soft, smooth, fruity and rich. A decent oomph of spice kept it from being cloying and the smokiness gave it a lovely mouth-feel that was both complex and accessible. While I have listed a series of platitudes as regards red wine above, this wine should not be dismissed as basic - the layering and structure of the fruit, spice and smoke means it gives any palate a good run for its money.
Body: As mentioned above, this is an extremely smooth wine considering its full flavours. Tannins are remarkably soft, especially considering the youth of the wine.
Finish: Superb is the only word for it. Every constituent part softens and fades away in a subtle and yet somehow distinct order. It is medium-long and the structure holds perfectly throughout. Most excellent.
Conclusion: A really, really lovely wine. The sort of wine to kindle a love-affair. The quality of blending that one would expect of a Bordeaux combined with real flavour, passion and power. This is certainly one to have with a good braii on the beach (Cape Maclear, Malawi would be my ideal). It's potent and yet sufficiently subtle, complex and structured to stand up to any food without overwhelming it. But why would you bother trying to match it with food? This is magnificent on its own.
I have since bought a case that will be sitting in my cellar for however long I can resist temptation. Expect to see updates as I check on the developments. It can be bought for around £25-30.