Stellenbosch-based Kanu – whose name relates to the legendary African bird of bounteous harvests and not the gangly ex-Arsenal striker – dates from 1692 when German soldier Matthias Greef was gifted the farm by a local governor. At first he used it to raise sheep and grow medicinal herbs, before sensibly switching to grapes. Much later, during the Anglo-Boer war, the estate was used as a horse supply camp, rifle range and hospital.
Fast-forward to modern times and Kanu’s global reputation was cemented in the early part of this century by head winemaker and Chenin Blanc guru Teddy Hall. His successor, and current incumbent, Johan Grimbeek, has continued the tradition of excellence and has a string of awards to his name.
Kanu is a member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative, an alliance between South Africa’s conservation and wine sectors that helps to preserve such exotic creatures as the cape leopard and geometric tortoise. It devotes over a third of its land to native wildlife.
Johan and his team focus on South African specialty Chenin (known locally as Steen) and a selection of warm-climate grapes like Shiraz, Chardonnay and Viognier. Though based in swanky Stellenbosch and utilising a high proportion of fruit from that district, Kanu does source from other premium areas too, meaning that its wines bear the more expansive ‘Western Cape’ appellation.
Best buy: Kanu Shiraz 2006 (€13.99) Matured in luxurious new French and American oak, this single-vineyard Shiraz is powerful, polished and loaded with glossy flavours of black cherry, dark chocolate, pepper and mocha.
p.s. To celebrate the arrival of our African friends we are offering Wine Club Members €2 PER BOTTLE OFF FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS. Offer applies online and in store but in both cases ends at 3pm Wednesday April 17th. Not a Wine Club member? CLICK HERE.