Kanonkop Estate Pinotage 2018
In 1924, while heading up Oenology and Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch, Professor Abraham Perold made a crossing of two grape varieties that today forms the South African wine industry’s unique selling point. Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (once known as Hermitage in South Africa) became Pinotage, a red-blooded South African grape variety.
Kanonkop’s Estate Pinotage is one of the world’s finest examples of Pinotage, a variety first planted on Kanonkop in 1941. Deep garnet colour with a purple hue. Fragrant aromas of ripe cherry, plush plum and mulberry with evocative hints of spicy oak and cinnamon. Inklings of banana flavours on the palate. Muscular and concentrated, this wine gains a forest-y character and sweet-fruited core as it ages in the bottle. Well-structured with an underlying freshness, integrated tannins and savoury notes on the lengthy finish.
Secret pairing recommendation: Try serving this wine with char-grilled venison with a plum and balsamic reduction. Find the recipe below!
The grapes are picked by hand and placed into 18kg lug-boxes. At the cellar, the de-stalked bunches go through three stages of sorting: sorting machine, vibrating table and computer-controlled optical sorter. Maceration occurs in open top concrete fermenters for 3 days on skins at 28°C. To ensure optimum yet delicate tannin and colour extraction, the cap was punched down manually every 2 hours. Finally, the wine was matured for 16 months in 225L French Nevers oak barrels (80% new and 20% 2nd fill barrels). This wine will keep developing in the bottle for the 10–15 years from vintage, but can mature for longer under ideal conditions.
Char-grilled venison with a plum and balsamic reduction recipe:
800g Venison loin or Ostrich fillet 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary (about 6 cm long)
Salt and black pepper
FOR THE PLUM & BALSAMIC REDUCTION:
2 cloves garlic
4 ripe plums, deseeded and halved
1⁄4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 cup of water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoon soya sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon of Chinese 5-Spice
2 rounded tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Start by preparing the sauce. Halve and de-seed the plums and add to a heavy bottomed pot. Add the 1⁄4 cup of water, the ginger, minced garlic, Chinese 5-Spice and bring to a boil over medium to high heat. Stir frequently, taking care that the plums don’t stick to the bottom of the pot as they will burn. After about 10 minutes the plums should start to break down. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the plums have mostly broken down into a sauce.
Add the soya sauce, lemon juice, cider vinegar and sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the stove and process the plum sauce with an immersion blender or food processor. You should have a fairly thick sauce the consistency of bottled apple sauce.
Trim and pat the venison or ostrich with paper towel to dry. Season generously on all sides with salt and black pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed frying pan, add the olive oil and butter, which should sputter and melt if the skillet is hot enough, and add the venison or ostrich fillet. Leave it to sear and form a crust – about 4-5 minutes then turn and repeat on all sides. Remove from the heat, add another tablespoon each of olive oil and butter and baste the meat all over. Add the thyme and continue to baste for another minute then place the skillet in a pre-heated 180°C oven and cook for between 5 minutes (for medium rare) and 8 minutes (medium to well done). It is best to test for doneness with an instant read thermometer otherwise use your judgement as the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat. Remove from the oven and place the meat on a board or serving platter, tent loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Place the skillet with the cooking juices and residue back on the stove top. Remove the thyme and discard and when up to temperature deglaze with the balsamic vinegar. Pour in the plum sauce and simmer over medium heat, stirring until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Take care to stir continuously and make sure it does not burn.
When reduced pour the reduction into a gravy boat, slice the rested venison or ostrich and serve with roasted sweet potato and Brussels sprouts pan roasted with black pepper and bacon.
AWARD & ACCOLADES
– 94 POINTS
Neal Martin – 91 points
– 4.5 stars