05 April 2007

A Decade of Kanonkop Pinotage - Part 2

The tasting notes.

Kanonkop Estate has been making Estate wine since 1973, and in that time there have been only four winemakers, Jannie Krige and famed rugby player Jan “Boland” Coetzee (now at Vriesenhof), then Beyers Truter (now at Beyerskloof) from 1980, and currrently Abrie Beeslaar took over the reins in in 2002. The owners are Johann and Paul Krige, the fourth generation at this family owned wine farm.

Kanonkop were pioneers in planting Pinotage and their old Pinotage vineyard (pictured below) still contains many of the original vines.

2005 Kanonkop Kadette
Soft front, easy drinking, some body from the Cabernet plus the typical Pinotage sweetness, pleasant tang on finish. 60% Pinotage/25% Cabernet S/15% Merlot. Made from the younger vines, up to 15 years old. (85 pts.)

1995 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage - Cape Winemakers Guild
Black core, red rim. Clean nose, red berry fruits, soft tannins, ripe and delicious. Dry tannins on a very long finish (93 pts.)

1997 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Dense black colour, red rim. Sharp nose, less fruit, firmer and higher toned, crisp tannins, higher acidity. (84 pts.)

1998 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Dark red, wider red rim. Slight barnyardy nose, sweet fruits but I think this has started its downward path -- fades in glass. (83 pts.)

1999 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Dark core, slightly paler rim. Blackberry fruits. Theres a depth of ripe fruits with sweetness and tannins intertwined and a good balance of acidity. There's a freshness and liveliness about this wine, best of the evening. I remember having enjoyed several 99s over the years and recommending it as a Kanonkop that could be enjoyed young. Wish I'd kept some. Now, where can I buy more? (97 pts.)

2000 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Farmyard nose, deep core red rim. Good fruits, but drying tannins - and a bit matallic - on the finish (84 pts.)

2001 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Intense black core, really ripe approachable fruits, good structure and balance, very very nice. (94 pts.)

2002 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Very dark, sweet nose. This is quite different on the palate from the previous 6 vintages – there’s wine gums, sweet jamminess. It is very drinkable, but it doesn't have that same family style all the others do. This is the handover vintage with both Abrie Beeslaar and Beyers Truter working the cellar. (89 pts.)

2003 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Very dark, purple rim. Very easy on the front palate. There are some firm tannins on finish, nicely drinkable. This is Abrie Beeslaar first solo vintage. (85 pts.)

2004 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Intense opaque with purple rim, extracted fruity front palate, sweet body, good fruit/acid/tannin balance. Very soft integrated tannins, coming to fore on the medium long finish (89 pts.)

2005 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage
Lightest body colour, fragrant nose, rounded berry fruits of forest in mouth. There's a lot going on here, good tannins. This will be wonderful in 2015. Only 6K cases made (usually around 8K) (94 pts.)

2006 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage *Barrel sample*
Sweet fruit, beautiful welcoming fruit mulberry/blackberry with spices and coffee tones. Superb and stunning. From the the old vineyard, 3 tons per hectare, will spend 16 months in 100% new French oak barrels (97 pts.)

2007 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage *Tank sample*
This is just starting malolactic fermentation so it’s way too early to form any judgement, but it has intense colour and bubblegum flavours and very interesting to sample it on its path from vineyard to eventual bottling.

Many thanks to owners Johann & Paul Krige, Abrie Beeslaw and all the hardworking team at Kanonkop Estate for the opportunity to taste these wines and for a most enjoyable evening.

Kanonkop Old Pinotage Vineyard

The old Pinotage vineyard at Kanonkop


  1. how did you palate keep up with all that tasting...sjoe!

    But it sure must have been a day to remember when you back in SA?

  2. Its hard going when there are so many first rate wines; the overall level was so high to start with and one gets hyper-critical. I didn't go through the decade of Cabernets that were also there, just the odd recommended one :)

    I'd be back in the Cape tomorrow if I could. As it is - unless someone invites me - I'm unlikely to be back this year.

  3. Peter.
    Thanks for the tip and thanks for reading!
    -Michael McGeary (theory-in-practice)

  4. We have the 2006 Kanonkop Pinotage on sale for 19.99 at invino.com