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.