91 pts winemag.co.za November 2017
The Cape’s extended drought may be reducing the size of yields but generally seems to have had remarkably little effect on wine quality. The Black Label Pinotage 2016 from Kanonkop, however, does not seem to have benefited from warmer and drier conditions that prevailed during growing season.
Grapes from a single vineyard planted on granite in 1953, the wine underwent maturation for some 18 months in French oak, 100% new. The nose is heady with notes of incense, macerated cherries, banana loaf, vanilla and spice while the palate is sweet, extraordinarily rich, smooth textured and hot on the finish. It will have a following in some quarters but it’s not a patch on the stellar 2015.
93 pts Vinous/Neil Martin Aug 2018
The 2016 Black Label Pinotage was matured for 18 months in 100% new Vicard French oak and represents Kanonkop’s top Pinotage cuvée. It has a very refined bouquet of blackberry, red cherries, licorice and a touch of menthol. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, and as usual, it seems to suck up that new oak effortlessly. Rounded and quite sensual toward the finish, this is a gorgeous Pinotage (no oxymoron!) that really demonstrates what this grape variety can do in the right hands.
96 pts Tim Atkin MW 2018
One four-hectare block, planted in 1953, supplies the grapes for this world class Pinotage, first made on 2006. Picked early in 2016, it’s opaque, rich and very serious, a wine that almost supersedes its variety. Layered, complex and built for a long life, with lots of tannin, violet and blueberry fruit and well-integrated new oak. 2022-30.
5 Stars 2019 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Ripe & rich, but 16 (95 pts) refined enough to make the 14.5% alcohol a surprise, so balanced it is. Plenty of sweet fruit (dark cherries & raspberries) & svelte texture, with tannins molten & soft, though informing, & good acidity. 50% new oak well integrated.