What I Drank Last Night
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Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2009 vs. 2010

What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes.

Earlier this year, Kanonkop became the first winery in the world to win best blended red wine for the fourth time at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition with the 2009 vintage of Paul Sauer – a wine I was responsible for rating only 4 Stars in Platter’s 2013 (shows what I know).

Last night, the 2009 next to the 2010, which I nominated for 5 Stars in the soon-to-be-released 2014 edition of Platter’s proved a fascinating contrast. Of course, 2009 has been deemed an exceptionally good vintage and 2010 quite the reverse – a heatwave shortly before harvest causing Stellenbosch vineyards to stress .

The 2009 features 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, the 2010 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc and 16% Merlot (currently available at R370 a bottle).

The 2009 is more classic (or old-fashioned depending on your stand-point on stylistics) with an alcohol by volume of 14% compared to 14.5% for the 2010. Both are very definitely Paul Sauer with red and black fruit but the 2009 has a herbal top-note and much more grippy tannins (dare I say the “greener” of the two?) while the 2010 is more plush and the tannins are softer. Interestingly enough, the 2010 has the lower pH of the two at 3.49 compared to 3.61 for the 2009.

Looking at them side by side, I’m inclined to think I under-rated the 2009 and over-rated the 2010 – both are 4½ Star wines.

Comments

  1. Christian says:

    Hi Ruben,

    Both wines are built to go the distance and I think it really depends on your stylistic preference, the Vergelegen being Bordeaux style and the Columella Shiraz based. It bears mentioning that the 2010 vintage of Columella was one of my top 12 wines of the year in 2012.

  2. Hi, Christian.

    Would you help me with something?

    1) A friend of mine will be in Johannesburg next month. What wine stores would you recommend, both in terms of variety and good price?

    2) If you take Eben Sadie Columella, Kanonkop Paul Sauer, Vergelegen “G.V.B.” (the flagship red blend), Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon, Boekenhotskloof Syrah and AA Badenhorst Red Blend,
    a) Which wine is your absolute favorite?
    b) Which one do you think has the best quality-price ratio?
    c) Which one has the best maturation potential?

    3) How long would I have to wait in order to have a more evolved (but not necessarily at peak) Columella from the 2009 or 2010 vintage?

    Thank you,
    Ruben

    • Hi Ruben,

      1). The reputation of Norman Goodfellows precedes it while my good mate Corlien Morris recently opened a branch of Wine Concepts at Blu Bird Centre, corner of Atholl-Oaklands Road and Park Road, Birnam.

      2). Choosing a favourite from the list provided is just about impossible. In terms of value and maturation potential, I’d go with Kanonkop Paul Sauer.

      3) I’d say approximately five years from vintage and your Columella will be past its first flush of youth.

      • Thanks, Christian!
        One more question:

        Would you give both the Vergelegen G.V.B. 2007 and the Collumella 2009/10 a 5 star rating? Or 18/20 maybe?
        I know these are both age worthy wines…But which one should be kept in the cellar for a longer time?

  3. Christian, in your opinion, what is the maturation potential of the ’09? I ask for personal reasons. My son was born in ’09, & I’ve purchased a few ’09 magnums to put away for him. Unfortunately by the time I got around to purchasing them, it was no longer available for tasting.

    • Christian says:

      Hi Cornelia, Presuming you raise your son to appreciate old wine (which I’m sure you will), he should be in for a treat on his 21st birthday. As an insurance policy, I’d get some 2009 Vintage Reserve from Boplaas or De Krans.

  4. Francois.R says:

    Well put Christian,
    Perhaps we could do the same comparison in ten years time and then in 20…

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