Monday, March 23, 2009

Mini Vertical #10: 2001 and 2002 Kanonkop

The last two wines that were opened to dull the senses and help me forget the Big 4-0 were a pair of Kanonkop Pinotages, one of South Africa's premier bottlings of Pinotage. Now in many (most?) wine circles the words "Premier" and "Pinotage" rarely come together, but I can't say I have tasted enough of this grape (a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault) to condemn it to mediocrity - what I can say is that in the hands of this estate you get a fine product (one of my Top Cellar Picks):

The 2001 Kanonkop Pinotage was much more subtle than its younger brother below - some earthy and flinty notes at first decant, it took a while to open up ... later adding some pretty notes of coffee grounds and violets, but relatively uncomplicated. Silky smooth and very elegant on the palate, crisper and earthier than the 2002 below, I would be surprised if this were simply due to another year in the bottle - clearly these were quite different vintages.
cork. 14.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$38.95 (LCBO)

The 2002 Kanonkop Pinotage was just so much...MORE - riper, heavier, with a nose of meaty cooked fruit, spicy (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) black earth, vanilla, violet and some tobacco. Hot and quite heavy on the palate, a nice velvety finish but lacking the acidity that held the 2001 together a bit better. An intriguing take on this grape that could challenge some of the best from the south of France, but perhaps bit TOO much...
cork. 14.5% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: gift

Many thanks to Chris, my good friend and the member of my wine group who first put me on to this wine a few years back.

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