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Kanonkop Estate Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
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VINEYARDS: Kanonkop is situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. The vineyards range between 197 and 294 feet above sea level. The majority of the vineyards are situated on southwest-facing slopes, considered the most favorable aspect for vines in the Cape. The soils are predominantly red decomposed granite and Hutton, with a high clay content and excellent water retention capacity. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines are an average of 24 years old. VINTAGE: Cool, dry weather throughout the 2012 growing season resulted in a slightly later harvest than usual. This allowed grapes to attain phenolic ripeness at lower sugar levels, while maintaining bright, fresh acidity. Yields were down slightly, but quality was excellent. Berries were smaller than usual, with intense color and concentrated fruit flavors. VINIFICATION AND MATURATION: The grapes were hand harvested and hand sorted. They were then fermented in opentop concrete vats over a period of five days on the skins, with manual punch downs of the cap every two hours around the clock. When fermentation was complete, the wine was run to 225 liter French oak barrels (60% new, 40% second fill) for malolactic fermentation and aging. It was aged in barrel for 24 months and was bottled without fining or filtration. TASTING NOTES: This elegant Bordeaux-inspired gem is South Africa's equivalent of a "First Growth." Rich and medium to full-bodied, this stunning Cabernet exhibits intense flavors of dark berry, tea leaf, cedar and spice accented by smoky hints of tobacco. A balanced acidity combines with integrated, ripe tannins that lead to a long, lingering finish.
With a reputation for producing some of the Cape's finest red wines, the heralded Kanonkop Estate is often referred to as a South African "First Growth." The fourth generation family farm, presently run by brothers Johann and Paul Krige, has been owned and operated by the Sauer-Krige family since the early 1930s. The name Kanonkop is derived from a "kopje" (small hill) on the property, from which a cannon was fired in the 17th century to announce the arrival of the Dutch East India Company's trading ships at Table Bay. Upon hearing this signal, local farmers would load their wagons and set off for the harbor to barter their produce. Situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in Stellenbosch, Kanonkop encompasses just over 247 acres of vineyards at altitudes of 195-395 feet above sea level. Cooling breezes from False Bay provide natural "air conditioning" for the vineyards, which are planted predominantly on decomposed granite soils of Clovelly and Hutton. With their high clay content and excellent water retention properties, these soil types eliminate the need for irrigation, although supplementary irrigation is required on the small portion of the farm (7%) planted on sandy Pinedene soils. Kanonkop boasts some of the Cape's first commercially planted Pinotage vines, with an average age of over 50 years. These are maintained as traditional bush vines, while the Bordeaux varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc are trellised. The estate's legendary Pinotage serves as a benchmark for this unique and exotic South African grape. Respecting tradition while embracing the future, Kanonkop fuses labor-intensive age-old wine-making techniques with state-of-the art cellar technology. All of the grapes are hand picked and sorted, and the wines are vinified in open concrete fermentation tanks with manual punchdowns performed every two hours around the clock. The wines are aged solely in French oak. Kanonkop crafted their first estate bottled wines in 1973, and they have since garnered numerous accolades and tremendous international recognition as one of South Africa's elite wine producers. In 2008, Kanonkop "Paul Sauer" was awarded the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande trophy for the best blended red wine in the world at the International Wine & Spirit Competition - the third time the iconic wine received this prestigious accolade - while Kanonkop winemaker Abrie Beeslaar, at the helm since 2003, was named IWSC Winemaker of the Year. Kanonkop recently swept the two most prestigious accolades in the 2009 edition of John Platter's South African Wine Guide, claiming both the "Winery of the Year" crown and the "Wine of the Year" title for their "resplendently complex" 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.
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