The Society's Exhibition Pinotage, Stellenbosch 2013 is no longer available

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The Society's Exhibition Pinotage, Stellenbosch 2013

Red Wine from South Africa
Produced for us by Kanonkop, this voluptuous, spicy and full-bodied red was traditionally fermented in open concrete vessels. Deep and vibrant in colour, it shows typical plum and red-fruit aromas and flavour, with smooth fleshy palate and gentle oak and tannins.
is no longer available
Code: SA10151

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Pinotage
  • 14% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Cork, natural

South Africa

South Africa is undoubtedly one of the world's most dynamic wine producers. Established winemakers re-emerged onto the international scene in the early 1990s, following the demise of the apartheid era, and new wines, wineries, highly qualified winemakers, and even new regions have appeared steadily ever since. This makes South Africa more exciting than ever, but more complicated, too.

Most South African wines are varietally labelled - a key factor in any buying decision. Styles vary of course, and our notes aim to clarify this, but you will probably already know whether you like sauvignon blanc (now among the world's best), chardonnay, riesling, syrah, pinot noir, or cabernet.

South Africa's most famous grapes - white chenin blanc and red pinotage - will be less familiar unless you are already a convert. South African chenins are quite different from those in the Loire - almost always dry, but ripe and full of flavour (often with the complexity that comes from the increasingly...
South Africa is undoubtedly one of the world's most dynamic wine producers. Established winemakers re-emerged onto the international scene in the early 1990s, following the demise of the apartheid era, and new wines, wineries, highly qualified winemakers, and even new regions have appeared steadily ever since. This makes South Africa more exciting than ever, but more complicated, too.

Most South African wines are varietally labelled - a key factor in any buying decision. Styles vary of course, and our notes aim to clarify this, but you will probably already know whether you like sauvignon blanc (now among the world's best), chardonnay, riesling, syrah, pinot noir, or cabernet.

South Africa's most famous grapes - white chenin blanc and red pinotage - will be less familiar unless you are already a convert. South African chenins are quite different from those in the Loire - almost always dry, but ripe and full of flavour (often with the complexity that comes from the increasingly sought-after old-vine fruit and the use of oak). Pinotage, a South African creation, is for many a love-it-or-hate-it grape. Pinotage's 'parents' are pinot noir, which imparts its strawberry aromas and lovely texture in young wines, and more complex, farmyard characteristics in more mature examples, and cinsault, the southern French grape, which adds spice and body. It was developed in South Africa in 1926. Shiraz is now making a name for itself in South Africa with some superb examples bottled varietally and showing characteristics that often places it between the plush New World style pioneered by Australia and classic Rhône balance and elegance.

More significant in South Africa than much of the New World (notably New Zealand and Chile) are blends, which make selection more complicated, as the style of the wine is less easy to anticipate. As in Australia and California, however, many of the best wines here are blends - a sign of maturity in the industry. Bordeaux blends were favoured initially but there are increasing numbers of Rhône and southern French influenced blends, including some eclectic mixes, many of which are among South Africa’s best wines.

The Regions

The vineyards of South Africa are at a latitude of about 35o south, with hot, dry Mediterranean-type summers tempered by oceanic influences in the south, particularly the very cold Benguela Current. Much of the country is mountainous or hilly with a multitude of terroirs for winemakers to play with. Soils are ancient and complex, and many and varied from region to region, and even vineyard to vineyard. Rainfall is very varied from one area to another, largely depending which side of a mountain or range a vineyard lies on, and in some parts irrigation is essential.

South Africa’s rigorous Wine Of Origin scheme demarcates vineyard areas, including some single vineyards, and guarantees the geographical source of the wine much like the old French appellation contrôllée system recently renamed AOP, though there are no controls on yields and grape varieties as there are in France..

Bordeaux-style blends are one of the Stellenbosch region's great strengths. Wines such as Kanonkop's Paul Sauer, Meerlust's Rubicon and Warwick's Trilogy are South African icons, produced over many years, and with proven ageing capacity. The striking Simonsberg mountain names the ward (or area) most highly sought after for these reds, but Stellenbosch produces a wide range of wine styles, from excellent chenin blancs and sauvignons to robust pinotage and Cape Blends.

Paarl is its less-well-known neighbour, also warm, and best known for its robust but smooth reds. Franschhoek is understandably one of the most-visited towns in the Cape (with lots of French Huguenot history and some of the best restaurants in the region). It has a number of famous producers, most notably Boekenhoutskloof, but most do not produce exclusively from Franschhoek fruit. Cape Chamonix is an exception we rate highly, producing a wide range of wine styles from bubbly to cabernet franc led red blend Troika.

The generally warmer Swartland region has been at the forefront of the development of Rhône varietals in South Africa, led by stars such as Eben Sadie, as well as home to some of the best old chenin blanc vines. Further north, and much cooler is Citrusdal, where fresher styles are produced and chenin blanc can achieve real finesse.

The Cape peninsula, to the south of Cape Town itself, is home to Constantia, known for its cooler climate thanks to the influence of the two oceans that almost circle it. Here, sauvignon blanc and the Bordeaux grapes predominate, but there are lovely examples of aromatic varieties too, notably Klein Constantia's elegant riesling and its wonderful sweet muscat Vin de Constance, and the vibrant sauvignon blancs from Cape Point vineyards to the south. Rhône varietals are successful new additions.

Elgin, en route to Hermanus, is another very cool region, very much up-and-coming for sauvignon blanc, as is Elim, which is even further south and the source of our former Exhibition Sauvignon. Robertson is almost due north of Elim, but way inland and far hotter. A small number of family producers manage to make excellent sauvignon here, too, but it is also a good source of chardonnay, increasingly pinot noir, and elegantly styled pinotage and Rhône varietals, not forgetting the excellent fortified muskadels which are unique to the Cape.

The most important factor in deciding whether or not to buy is often the producer's name. This is easily achieved when some of the grandest 'old' names, such as Meerlust, Hamilton Russell, Kanonkop, and Klein Constantia, still rank among the country's best producers. Where it gets trickier is when the winery is new, has no track record, or the winemaker is not a household name.
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Kanonkop

Kanonkop, in Stellenbosch, is a leading South African estate with a whole raft of awards to its name. Kanonkop means ‘Cannon Hill’ and originates from the days when cannons were fired to signal the arrival of Dutch trade ships into Cape Town harbour.

This estate is probably the most famous producer of pinotage internationally and was one of the first ever estates to even grow the grape. Incumbent winemaker, Abrie Beeslaar won the esteemed title of IWSC International Winemaker of the Year award in 2008, having taken over from legendary predecessor and so-called ‘king of pinotage’, Beyers Truter.

Kanonkop is renowned for its red varietals, and chooses to specialise in only a few wines. Apart from its famous pinotage, the other grapes grown here are cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc which go into its very approachable Cape Blend, and the best into its iconic cabernets and Paul Sauer bottlings. These tend to be big, robust wines which go superbly well with red meat and spicy dishes.

South Africa Vintage 2013

A wet and cool winter set the grapes up for a smooth ride through to an earlier than average harvest in 2013. Temperate weather brought some rot concerns with it, but generally the fruit came in healthy and a big crop was harvested.

Pinotage performed particularly well, and reds are, by and large, concentrated and deeply coloured while whites are fruity and full of flavour. As was the case in 2012, Paarl and Stellenbosch did very well.

2013 vintage reviews

Kent & Sussex Courier

This stellarfull-bodied wine, traditionally fermented in open concrete vessels, with aquick extraction, is laden with character and packed with fragrant red andblack berry fruits including plums, coffee,...
This stellarfull-bodied wine, traditionally fermented in open concrete vessels, with aquick extraction, is laden with character and packed with fragrant red andblack berry fruits including plums, coffee, raisins, chocolate and someoriental spices which mingle in a delicious mouth-filling mix. A truly bold,elegant and rich winter warmer with a subtle smoky edge that will be arevelation to those habituated to coarse and rustic editions of pinotage. Thereis no burnt rubber here! It has the structure to evolve attractively over thenext five years, becoming earthier [and] meatier.
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- James Viner

York Press

This is a decentexample and good value for under a tenner. Full bodied and juicy, it oozesraspberry and plum fruit with vanilla, spice and some smoky oak. It would makea good partner for gourmet burgers...
This is a decentexample and good value for under a tenner. Full bodied and juicy, it oozesraspberry and plum fruit with vanilla, spice and some smoky oak. It would makea good partner for gourmet burgers or sausages.
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- Mike Tipping

wineanorak.com

From Kanonkop,fermented in open concrete lagares. Deep coloured, this has a fresh sweetblackcurrant fruit nose with some green characters and a hint of mint. Thepalate is supple with a green edge to the...
From Kanonkop,fermented in open concrete lagares. Deep coloured, this has a fresh sweetblackcurrant fruit nose with some green characters and a hint of mint. Thepalate is supple with a green edge to the raspberry fruit. It’s sweet and freshwith a vivid personality, and a hint of grip.
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89/100 - Jamie Goode

The Scotsman

For those who lovethis quirky, spicy South African grape, this is extremely good value pinotagemade by the Cape’s famed Kanonkop estate. Ex-lawyer Johann Krige and hischarming family run this...
For those who lovethis quirky, spicy South African grape, this is extremely good value pinotagemade by the Cape’s famed Kanonkop estate. Ex-lawyer Johann Krige and hischarming family run this historic pinotage estate near Stellenbosch.
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- Rose Murray Brown

Sheffield Profile

An enticing wine withrich aromas and good potential for further ageing. Lots of pepper, somecreaminess and an array of complex flavours abound - from plums and dark redfruits to citrus peel. Enjoy with...
An enticing wine withrich aromas and good potential for further ageing. Lots of pepper, somecreaminess and an array of complex flavours abound - from plums and dark redfruits to citrus peel. Enjoy with spicy foods and red meat.
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- Richard Marsden

Decanter

Is pinotage seeing arenaissance? It seems so, and this example from Kanonkop may convert you.Fermented in open concrete tanks, the bright nose is plummy and generous withenticing smoke and spice. The...
Is pinotage seeing arenaissance? It seems so, and this example from Kanonkop may convert you.Fermented in open concrete tanks, the bright nose is plummy and generous withenticing smoke and spice. The savoury palate has rich plum fruit and a smoothstructure.
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- Weekday Wines

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