(2022) A wine from various sub-zones including the Helderberg Coast, Jonkershoek and Simonsberg, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was matured for 24 Months in 225L French oak barrels, 76% new. There's a complex mix of soils including decomposed granite, shale and clay, with vineyards rising from 100 to 325 metres. Vineyards between 10 and 24 years old. Vivid and dark in colour, a really intense, graphite-touched nose of concentrated and tightly-wound black fruit, a real Pauillac-like character here, but a blueberry density of fruit too. So sweet and plush on the palate, layers of blue-black fruit, creaminess and fabulously juicy character sit over ripe, chocolate-rich tannins and beautifully judged acidity. The smoky swirl of the barrels adds a layer beneath, in a fabulous wine of endless length.
(2021) Kanonkop winemaker Abrie Beeslaar makes this under his own label, from 25-year-old, unirrigated vineyards. It was fermented in open-top concrete vats and spent 21 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. It's a huge, plush and uncompromising style of Pinotage, an ultra-refined version of those 'coffee' and 'chocolate' renditions that were all the rage for a while, copious black fruit melts into a swirling dark pool of espresso and cocoa. But there is finesses here: it's as sheer as silk on the palate, and while that depth of sumptuous fruit floods the palate, the tight grain of the tannins and pert juiciness of the acidity balances, the wine finishing long, spicy and supple.
(2021) From a single vineyard on decomposed shale which is subject to ocean winds, and which Dirk believes shows some kelp character from that. Planted in 1994 as dryland bush vines. Made with 50% whole bunches, and partly matured in barrel. A very fragrant wine this, a lovely floral character, touched by old roses and pure red and black fruits. Fine sense of minerality, and the palate has a chalky tannin character, elegant and quite soft, but beautifully balanced, the fruit sweet and central to the finish.
(2019) A Rhône blend of 49% Syrah, 45% Grenache and 6% Mourvèdre, the Syrah for The Gypsy comes gravel soils over clay, the Grenache from decomposed granite at 450m altitude. It spent two years in French oak, all new. A sonorous, deep nose melds cocoa and cedar with lots of plum and brighter cherry fruit. On the palate it's a wine that beautifully marries that richness and depth with an agility through a certain peppery spice, taut tannins and a very good acid framework. Yes it has a chewy character, but fruit and freshness too.
(2019) From the slopes of the Helderberg this is all Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermented with wild yeast, it spent 18 months in barriques, 50% new. Just the faintest touch of herbaceousness, then a silky impression of dense blackcurrant. Creamy, with a little pencil shaving finesse. Lovely palate, sweet and ripe fruit and quite sumptuous again, but a refined tannin and acid structure, not ruffling the creamy smoothness of the fruit.
(2019) Huge, heavy bottle. Five Bordeaux varieties, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, 24 months in new French 300-litre barrels. A subtle nose, the hint of game and cedar, a balsamic note to the oak, lots of sweet cassis, the tannins dry and adding a nice roughness, and again a particulalry peppery finish.
(2019) From bush vines that are up to 63 years old, this spent 18 months in French oak, 75% of it new. Rich, ripe red berries and smoky, fragrant and cedary oak. A really sumptuous style, coffee deep and the fruit is black and glossy. Silky in terms of texture and te fruit, tannin and acid structure, spicy and ripe into the finish.
(2019) At this point the bush vines were 57 years old. This spent 16 months in French oak, 75% new. Similar recipe as the 2016 tasted alongside. Has more of the estery character associated with Pinotage, but there’s an earthier quality through the ageing, the sweet fruit is there on the palate, a stripe of dry tannin giving extra grip, a fresh finish. More Pinotage personality perhaps, though less slick and modern in feel.
(2019) From 25-year-old estate vines on average, this spent 24 months in Nevers oak, 50% new. This is fragrant, with delightfully pure cassis, edged with graphite and nicely polished pencil-shaving character. Very ripe, intense sweet Cabernet, the tannins dry and tight and racy, the acid tangy like cherry skins, plenty of spice into the finish.
(2019) Vines for this bottling were 32 years old on average, and again it had 24 months in Nevers oak, 50% new. A very nice and youthful nose here, a little resinous note, but keen black fruit and some gamy tertiary development adds to the complexity. No UK stockists at time of review.