This legendary wine is named after Kanonkop’s patriarch and is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The depth of flavour, structure and complexity offered by these three grape varieties is accentuated by 24 months’ ageing in new French oak. Blackcurrant notes combine with aromas of Cape wildflower and cigar box to offer a regal wine recognised as one of the best South Africa has to offer.
Complex and intense aromas of cassis, plums, spiced oak and cigar box on the nose. The palate is rich and supple, with seamless fruit/oak integration, delicate tannins and a fine seam of acidity. Layers of plush fruit explode on the palate with concentrated flavours of tomato cocktail, black and red fruits, and stewed meat. A wine of immense purity, depth and freshness.
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98 pts Tim Atkin MW 2020
‘Wines of the Year’
Would I or wouldn’t I give this 100 points? I tasted it over a period of five days against a number of its competitors, and it nearly got there. Time may prove me wrong, but I don’t think this is quite at the level of the 2015. But it’s still a stunning wine, combining Cabernet Sauvignon with 17% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot. Youthful, concentrated and less immediate than the 2015, with a little more oak spice, it’s a taut, ageworthy style with layers of bramble, cigar box and blackcurrant fruit and sinewy tannins. 2025-35
98 pts Greg Sherwood MW May 2020
The 2017 Paul Sauer is a classic blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot from vines grown on prime Stellenbosch decomposed granite, Hutton and Clovelly soils with an average age of 30 years old. The vintage yielded a moderately low 4.5 tons per hectare or 2,750 litres per hectare, and was aged 24 months in new 225 litre French oak Nevers barrels. In my 2015 preamble, I stated that the perfect Paul Sauer blend seeks the comfort of the perfect balance between power and concentration, structure and freshness.
This 2017 is undoubtedly elegance and seamless finesse personified. Possessing a deep garnet-purple colour, the aromatics are initially slightly restrained, unfurling cautiously to reveal a fabulous cornucopia of red and black summer berry fruits, black cherries, tart blue berries supported by complexing notes of crushed gravel and a vampish graphite vein. Like any truly great wine, every time you revisit your glass, yet more intricate notes assault the senses. Violets and lilac perfume, cherries immersed in black chocolate, blood and iron, freshly tilled earth and the most seductive kiss of promise from the premium French oak vanillins. The palate is exquisitely framed by fine talcum-like tannins and an invigorating acid freshness that resonates across the tongue. Once again the joyful poise and elegance of the weightless 2017 concentration and intensity confounds the senses, unfurling layer upon layer of black cherry kirsch liquor, crème de cassis and a tart, saline sea breeze freshness on the long exhilarating finish. For a wine like this, Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux is and always will be the road map region by which winemakers navigate their path to greatness.
This 2017 Paul Sauer has all the subtlety and finesse, elegance and seamless balance to rival the greatest Bordeaux blends of France, while retaining its own unique South African signature imprint. Drink this wine on release to banish your curiosity but then cellar some of the rest for up to 30+ years. Undoubtedly another must have icon for collectors and drinkers alike.
5 Stars 2021 Platters South African Wine Guide
Easily amongst Cape’s most renowned wines. Cab upped to 76% in 17 (98 pts); cab franc 17%, merlot. Classic aromas of cedar & cassis plus vanilla & tobacco from all-new oak that time will integrate. Firm, excellent tannic structure, supple & rich, still with sweet primary fruit plus savoury intensity. Long, long finish points to great concentration. A wine for decades to come.
94 pts Vinous Feb 2021
The 2017 Paul Sauer is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot, cropped at 4.5 tons/ha and matured for 24 months in new French oak from Nevers. It has an intense, high-toned bouquet of black cherries, blueberry jam, fresh fig and glycerine; the warmth of the growing season comes through here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and a palpable sense of control. Displaying superb delineation and seamlessly integrated new oak, this is a very classy Paul Sauer that should give 15–20 years of drinking pleasure.
93 pts Wine Advocate issue #253 Feb 2021
Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with 17% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot, the 2017 Paul Sauer offers a juicy, red-fruited nose with heady floral aromas and oak tones of cinnamon, vanilla and sweet cedar. Medium to full-bodied, flavors of red plum skin and dark cherry juice cover the palate with rosewater elements before gripping tannins expresses on the tongue. The wine lingers with a richness and robustness with vibrant, juicy flavors of currant and cassis, ending with a long, succulent finish. This shares many of the same similarities in style with its 2015 bottling and should age just as gracefully. 2022-2040
93 pts Wine Spectator 7/31/21
A rich and toasty full-bodied red, displaying mouthwatering acidity, a backbone for the melted licorice- and dried sage-infused flavors of sappy blackberry coulis and crème de cassis fruit. Amped up and expressive in all the right ways, with just enough restraint and definition to keep it from being flamboyant. Sculpted tannins firm the well-spiced finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2030. 3,500 cases made, 120 cases imported.