Kanonkop is a 4th generation family-owned estate, which has been handed down from generation to generation and is now in the hands of brothers Paul and Johann Krige. The name Kanonkop is derived from a hillock (kop) on the Simonsberg mountain above the estate from where, during the 17th and 18th centuries, a cannon (kanon) was fired to announce the arrival of sailing ships entering Table Bay. The roar of the cannon would be the signal to local farmers, who were waiting to make the 50-kilometer journey to the harbour, to load up their wagons with fresh fruit and vegetables to barter their produce.
The first wines bearing the Kanonkop label were produced in 1973. To wine lovers familiar with the centuries old châteaux and domaines of Bordeaux and Burgundy respectively, the winemaking history of our estate may seem surprisingly young. For 1973 was the year in which Kanonkop’s contention for a place in the annals of South African wine greatness began, just three years before the death of the man to whom the wine estate owes everything it has achieved and all the recognition it has attained: Paul Sauer.
In 1924, while heading up Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch, Professor Abraham Perold made a crossing of two grape varieties that today forms the South African wine industry’s unique selling point. Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (once known as Hermitage in South Africa) became Pinotage, a red-blooded South African grape variety. One of the world’s finest examples of Pinotage, a variety first planted on Kanonkop in 1941.
Deep garnet with a purple hue, this wine offers plush plum and cherry flavours with an evocative hint of spice. As the wine ages in the bottle, it gains an earthy, forest-floor character and a delectable cassis-like, sweet-fruited core. This wine improves with age and fifteen – twenty years is a good period for which to cellar it.