Kanonkop Wins IWSC Warren Winiarski Trophy with Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon

Kanonkop Wine Estate in Simonsberg, Stellenbosch has won the coveted Warren Winiarski Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London. The winning wine, Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, not only affirms this property as an international leader in the making of classic red wines, but also as a New World property whose wines have the ability to grow in stature as they tick-off years in the bottle.

Johann Krige, co-owner of Kanonkop, said winning the Warren Winiarski Trophy comes at a time when South Africa is focussing on showing its ability to make classically-styled, refined and elegant wines to the world. The trophy is named after the founder of Napa’s pioneering Stag’s Leap winery.

“For Kanonkop to be awarded this trophy vindicates the ethos we have had since our first vintage in 1973 of allowing our unique terroir on the slopes of the Simonsberg of Stellenbosch to express itself through our red wines,” says Krige. “Selected grapes from site-specific vineyards, old-school manual punch-downs in open fermenters and lengthy maturation in quality barrels. This is what Kanonkop has been doing since our first vintage – which included a Cabernet Sauvignon – and this commitment to classic winemaking remains at the core of our business today. 

“This recognition for Kanonkop by way of the Warren Winiarski Trophy is also recognition for the South Africa wine industry, especially the Stellenbosch region, which is re-discovering its ability of making world-class wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, arguably the region’s best red variety.”

The Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon is considered one of South Africa’s finest red wines. The average age of the Cabernet Sauvignon vines on Kanonkop is 25 years and they are rooted in decomposed granite, Clovelly and Hutton soils. A late ripening variety, the Cabernet is usually harvested in mid-March. Grapes are fermented in open concrete fermenters for on average five days, manual punch-down done every two yours. 

Half of the wine is sent to new 225l French oak barrels (barriques) for aging, with the balance going into 2nd fill oak. It ages for 24 months before bottling, where-after the wine spends another two years in the bottle before released onto market.

Released only four years after vintage, a young Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon is already commanding attention as a pure and unique expression of the world’s greatest red variety. The wine is plush with notes of black-currant, damson and dried fig, with the firm tannins giving the wine extraordinary power and depth. As the wine ages, the bright fruit remains intact, tannins rounder and fuller with notes of cedar and pencil-lead adding dimension and personality.

“Winning this trophy with a 2006 vintage reaffirms our Kanonkop’s commitment to making wines that not only age, but improve with age,” says Krige.