2019 Boekenhoutskloof, The Chocolate Block, Franschhoek, South Africa
Tim Atkin MW
About this WINE
Boekenhoutskloof is one of the most celebrated of all South African wineries and was indeed voted Winery of the Year 2012 by the influential South African journalist John Platter. Created in 1776 and situated in a remote corner of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, the estate‘s recent fame dates only from 1993 when new owners completely restored the vineyard and established new plantings of varietals such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Viognier.
The driving force here is winemaker Marc Kent, a maverick genius with an unswerving commitment to the highest quality in all that he does. The winery is better known for its reds, especially Syrah and Cabernet, but also makes a stunning white from the Semillon grape amongst a small range of whites.
One of the most iconic wines of Boekenhoutskloof is the famed Chocolate Block, a red blend which changes every year according to the vagaries of the vintage, but is largely based on Syrah. The source of the wine’s name remains a mystery, as the estate’s owners refuse to divulge its origin, but the key point is that the wine is sublime.
Franschhoek wine region lies to the west of Stellenbosch in a fertile valley surrounded by the Drakenstein Mountains. The town of Frankschoek was founded by fleeing French Huguenots in 1688, who brought along their winemaking traditions and vines. Franschhoek's warm, temperate climate is perfectly suited to the production of powerful, saturated red wines and concentrated, fruit-driven white wines. The most prominent grapes in the region are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
Today it remains very much a boutique wine region with smallholding producers.
There are over 200 different grape varieties used in modern wine making (from a total of over 1000). Most lesser known blends and varieties are traditional to specific parts of the world.
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The nose immediately hits with a powerful bouquet of rich dark fruits, it has black cherry and blackberry in abundance, with black olives and cedar lingering in the background. There’s a typical warm spice to this pleasant blend, berry compote, red plum, licorice, sweet tobacco and silky fine tannins add to its impressively complex palate. Syrah makes up the majority of this blend but the addition of Cinsault and Grenache add a brilliant purity of fruit. Drinking rather pleasantly now, but will also benefit from a few years cellaring. Drink now – 2028
Joshua Friend, Private Account Manager (February 2021)
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