Kanonkop sets new South African wine record

Well-known auctioneers Strauss & Co established a new South African wine-auction record when a rare vertical tracking three decades of Kanonkop’s Paul Sauer, South Africa’s most iconic red wine, sold to an online bidder for R546 240 at the start of its three-day virtual auction. The exceptional offering of 19 large-format bottles of Kanonkop’s signature Bordeaux-style wine attracted considerable interest and eventually sold for double the pre-sale estimate.

“We are thrilled with the success of the first producer-focused auction, involving the great names of Kanonkop, Klein Constantia and Boekenhoutskloof. Hammer prices were way over the estimates, showing excellent demand for vintage South African wines. The 2015 vintage from Kanonkop and Boekenhoutskloof in particular received incredible interest and record prices. The 19-bottle five-litre Kanonkop Paul Sauer vertical from 1988 to 2006 was, as expected, a huge highlight and proves Paul Sauer’s iconic status.” – Roland Peens, director of Wine Cellar

The wine auction forms part of Strauss & Co’s three-day virtual sale of South African fine wine and Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art. The fine-wine sale comprised 124 lots representing three iconic Cape producers – Kanonkop, Klein Constantia and Boekenhoutskloof – and achieved total sales of R2 264 429. The white-glove sale saw all 124 lots on offer successfully find buyers.

Frank Kilbourn, Strauss & Co’s chairperson said: “We are delighted to have repeated the excellent performance of our initial virtual sale in May by successfully selling every lot in our current catalogue. This excellent result is a testament to the consistency and quality of the three wine producers showcased in our carefully curated selection, which was overseen by our trusted partners, wine specialists Higgo Jacobs and Roland Peens of Wine Cellar. We are especially proud to have affirmed Kanonkop’s pedigree as a highly collectable fine wine. Strauss & Co is committed to establishing credible auction benchmarks for South African fine wines.”

The top-selling Paul Sauer vertical came from a private collection assembled and stored at Kanonkop. Few wines are bottled regularly in large format, especially over three decades, making this record-achieving vertical somewhat unique. A smaller vertical of Paul Sauer vintages from 1997 to 2002, each bottle of the six bottles measuring three litres, sold for R 91 040.

Auctioneer Alastair Meredith led the wine sale from a studio at Strauss & Co’s Johannesburg office. The sale was livestreamed in partnership with Invaluable.com and attracted online as well as telephonic bidders. The sale was held in full compliance with the terms of the Disaster Management Act and its regulations pertaining to the sale of alcohol.

Other notable Kanonkop lots sold included the inaugural 2006 vintage of the estate’s Black Label Pinotage, which fetched R 34 140, and 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon, which achieved R 28 450. Each lot comprised six 750ml bottles.

Klein Constantia was represented by eighteen vintages of the long-aging and historic Vin de Constance. A half-dozen bottles of the 97 point 2007 vintage sold for R 22 278, while two bottles of the first release, 1987, received R23 450 each, inclusive of all commissions.

The exceedingly rare Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 1997 arguably put Boekenhoutskloof on the map with the three bottles selling for R22 278. The Journeyman, Boekenhoutskloof cult Bordeaux-blend, is similarly scarce as hen’s teeth. Two lots of its 2015 vintage, composed of 90% Cabernet Franc from a 15-year-old vineyard high up on the Franschhoek property, along with Merlot from an old block next to the winery, sold for R 23 450 and R 25 036. Each of the two lots comprised six 750ml bottles.

“I can think of no better time to celebrate South Africa’s best wines and the recognition they demand globally,” says expert sommelier and wine partner Higgo Jacobs. “Sunday’s results are an affirmation of our optimism and regard for the heights these wines deserve. We will proudly continue to grow the platform and contribute to the future of SA wine.”

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