96 pts Tim Atkin MW 2020
Abrie Beeslaar sources his Pinotage from sandier soils than the ones he uses to make Kanonkop’s Black Label release. The result is a slightly brighter, more scented wine with less weight and concentration but engaging finesse and palate length. Silky and supple, it’s a red that shows the Pinot Noir side of the grape’s personality, with fine tannins and sweet summer berry flavours. 2022-28.
95 pts Greg Sherwood MW Oct 2021
Made by Kanonkop winemaking legend Abrie Beeslaar from 25-year-old dryland bush vines grown on decomposed shale soils with a small portion of decomposed granite. Fermentation took place in open top concrete tanks with regular punch downs performed every 2 hours to maximise extraction. After fermentation, the wine was aged in 40% new 225 litre French oak barrels for 21 months. On the nose, there is plenty of density and broody black fruited depth together with intricate notes of raisined black cherry, raisined cranberry, damson plum and hints of Christmas pudding, incense and crème bruleed caramel oak spice. But for all the richness, intensity and depth, the palate shows a freshness and vitality that is quite startling, helping to balance the expansive fruit concentration and sweet, creamy tannins. Where the 2017 showed a more weightless perfumed concentration of vibrant red fruits, this 2018 is darker fruited and more savoury with plenty of sweetness on the front of the palate but also a fine, drying, tangy finish. Very classy.
4 ½ Stars 2021 Platter’s South African Wine Guide – 2018 Beeslaar Pinotage
There’s plenty of notably sweet flavour, almost jammy richness & density on 18 (92 pts). 40% new oak, strong tannin structure & powerful 14.5 % alcohol gives more blockbuster effect than usual here.
91+ Wine Advocate Issue #253 Feb 2021
Owned and made by Abrie Beeslaar, the 2018 Pinotage displays a dark core with subtle purple highlights. Bursting with oak aromas of vanilla, crème brûlée and oatmeal cookie, the wine is marked with much of the same style of Kanonkop, giving way to a juicy frame with elements of Chambord, crème de cassis and macerating berries. Generous and full-bodied, the palate is rich, luscious and powerful with gobs of French oak expression laid over juicy plum and potpourri spices, before showing a balanced structure. The wine offers dark chocolate and black cherry flavors along a persistent, oak-driven essence on the elongated finish. I see where this will get better in time when the oak expression is absorbed into the fruit-forward backbone—hence the “+” sign next to my score. 2021-2032
One of the driest vintages in recent history. December thunderstorms deposited lots of nitrogen in the vineyards, stimulating aggressive growth. The average daytime temperatures were 2C warmer than the long term average, but without any significant heatwaves. Cooler nights allowed the vines to recover from the harsh stress of the warm, dry days.
Handpicked grapes were destemmed, sorted and fermented in open top concrete fermenters at 280C. The skins were punched down by hand, every 2 hours during fermentation. The juice was drawn off the skins after 3 days. Malolactic fermentation and maturation took place for 21 months in 225L French oak barrels (40% new).