I returned to South African wine last week with a 2015 Kadette Cape Blend from Stellenbosch. This wine from Kanonkop is a blend of Pinotage (54%), Cabernet Sauvignon (34%), and Merlot (12%). It has been aged up to 14 months in French oak. South African winemakers tend to produce blends more than other New World winemakers. Bordeaux blends have become common along with some Rhone-style blends but if Pinotage is thrown in the mix, you have a Cape Blend. This designation has been around since the beginning of the century, when the county’s vintners wanted to create a special red blend distinctive of South Africa. Many winemakers are proponents of Pinotage being a required grape in a Cape Blend as it is the signature red grape of South Africa and has strong loyalty among some people.
This was my first Cape Blend and I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy the smoky, savoury notes in some Pinotages. I got all of that and more in this wine. Deep ruby color, medium body. It was more like two wines in my glass, the first was fruit-forward with cherry and plum, almost a bit jammy but still with some smooth tannins. Then, the finish! There was my Pinotage, it was earthy and smoky on the finish. It was just a touch, but really gave the wine complexity. It’s been a long week and I cannot even remember what we ate with this wine but it’s definitely a food wine, think earthy dishes with mushrooms, maybe a pasta with a thick red sauce, or something “meaty” like tempeh.
This wine could probably age a bit and it would be interesting to see how it develops.