Kanonkop, South Africa’s world-famous wine estate situated in the Simonsberg region of Stellenbosch, has become the first winery in the world to win the prestigious Trophy for Best Blended Red Wine at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London for the fourth time. The trophy, formerly known as Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Trophy, was this year awarded to Kanonkop’s legendary Bordeaux-style blend, Paul Sauer 2009.
Kanonkop won the same trophy in 1994 with the Paul Sauer 1991 in 1999 with the Paul Sauer 1995 and in 2008 with the Paul Sauer 2003.
Kanonkop co-owner Johann Krige describes this award as the “World Cup for a red wine producer”.
“Since our first harvest in 1973, Kanonkop has been committed to producing wines to a classical and elegant style, whilst maintaining the integrity of our unique soils and climatic conditions at the foot of the Simonsberg,” he says. “Having won this award for the fourth time is not only a great moment for Kanonkop and our reputation of producing wines of consistent quality, but one we would like to share with the whole South African wine industry by vindicating our belief that South Africa is one of the world’s top wine producers in terms of quality. This reputation is needed more now than ever as the wine markets become more competitive by the year and South African producers will be judged by the pedigree and excellence of our wines alone.”
Abrie Beeslaar, Kanonkop’s winemaker and only the third winemaker in the estate’s history, ascribes the success of the Paul Sauer to the first lesson he learnt when joining Kanonkop eight years ago. “We don’t reinvent the wheel…..that’s the first thing the new Kanonkop winemaker hears,” says Beeslaar.
“The Paul Sauer, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, is still made to traditional vinification techniques – such as open-tank fermenters and manual punch-downs. Maturation is two years in new wood. But our soils and climate lie at the heart of everything. With natural assets such as our terroir and vineyards, the wheel doesn’t need reinventing.”
Beeslaar says the IWSC award also vindicates those who espoused the virtues of the 2009 vintage.
“The year 2009 will undoubtedly go down as one of the best vintages in the history of the South African wine industry,” he says. “I believe that the quality of that year’s Paul Sauer will, together with other top South African wines, go a long way in furthering our reputation as one of the world’s most unique and best wine producing countries.”
The IWSC Trophy for Best Blended Red Wine on Show will be awarded to Kanonkop on 13 November at the gala din.er in the Guild Hall in London.