Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2012 Franschhoek South Africa

Already a lot of Whiskies are covered this year, so why not divert to a nice Wine again. There is a lot around to enjoy! Today we’ll be looking at a nice blend from South Africa, but first, an introduction:

The winery was founded by Hugenot settlers in 1776. A group of wine-enthousiasts bought the farm in 1993 and major development took place since 1996. Boekenhoutskloof today has around 20 hectares of vines. 75% are red grape varieties (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot), and thus 25% are whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier). Boekenhoutskloof is farming organically and has plans for bio-dynamic wine making. The winery produces around 3 million bottles per year of which 95% is branded as Porcupine Ridge and Wolftrap, the other 5% are marketed as Boekenhoutskloof and Chocolate Block. Chocolate Block we’ll be looking at is made with 70% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Grenache, 6% Cinsault and 1% Viognier. The Syrah grape variety is grown in Malmesbury where it has deep-rooted vines and gives a lot of color, flavor and tannins. Grenache is grown in Citrusdal which has a sandy terroir, excellent for Grenache. Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier are grown in Boekenhoutskloof and Cinsault is grown on granite soils in Wellington. So quite a complex blend.

The Chocolate Block 2012Franschhoek Valley is a broad valley in the south-east corner of Paarl, Western Cape. Franschhoek is warm and produces robust red wines (and fruity whites). The surrounding mountains (Wemmershoek to the north and Groot Drakenstein & Franschhoek to the south) cast shadows which help reducing the temperature and hours of sun the grapes get. They also reduce the influence from the sea. On the other hand, the mountains also hold the cooler winds from the south. Terroir is alluvial sandstone (doesn’t hold water well) and in the north some granite (in the mountains). On the hillsides there is some clay to be found.

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Spicy, sweet red fruits, very nice and very appetizing. Fat (sweet) fruit notes, like plums, apple skins with a hint of Tobacco, but also fruity strawberries. Lots of creamy vanilla. Excellent warming nose.

Taste: Dark fruits, although none of them leap out my glass specifically, slightly unripe strawberries and some red berries maybe. A sort of “total” taste. A mild and very nice acidity that transforms into the oaky bitterness that is in the finish. Spicy wood, and no shortage of soft tannins. Next a hint of licorice. Hint of oaky bitterness in the finish.

Definitely a Syrah, although the Cabernet Sauvignon is detectable too. Excellent stuff. The wine has an ABV of 14.5%. The bottle was from Lot No. L13/252 and this vintage yielded 1735 barrels.

Points: 87

Plage du Sud Pays d´Oc IGP 2013

Next up a Rosé wine from the Languedoc region in France.

Plage du SudNot so long ago, Rosé Wines had colours almost like light red wines and were made with grape varieties like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. But the fashion has changed, today the fashion is more about more elegant and more refined rosé wines from the Provence region in France and northern Italy. Very pale Rosé’s with very light old pink colours or even salmon-like colours. Plage du Sud is one of those Rosé wines from the south of France that has that pale pink colour rreferring to the Mediterranean feel from the Cote d’Azur. The wine is made with ​​Grenache (60%), Cinsault (35%) and 5% Syrah to give it a slightly heavier body.

Color: Pale old pink. Very elegant looking

Nose: Lots of aroma. Fruity with peach and banana. Sweet and sour in one gulp. The acidity is very nice and refreshing. Peach yoghurt, but also slightly floral, yes it smells of (pink) roses.

Taste: Less complex than the nose and not as aromatic as expected. Nice balance though. Light and simple. Not acidic nor sweet, keeps in the middle. All is in control and very drinkable. After a while the fruity aroma’s return. Quite nice stuff and nobody should be having troubles finishing a bottle like this. Just relax, sit back and enjoy the nice weather looking at people passing by. Do not sip this, drink this with big gulps, it tastes even better that way. Luckily they also sell nice 1,5 litre bottles 🙂

Excellent example of the modern style, pale looking Rosé wines from the south of France. The colours of these wines are really stunning.

Points: 80

Ogier Caves des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reine Jeanne 2010

Let’s continue with another red wine. This is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Ogier Caves des Papes. Not to be confused with the Ogiers from Côtes Roti.

Christophe Ogier had a wine shop established in 1859 called Ogier et Fils. In 1872, his son Etienne took over the company and he passed it over to his grandson Antoine in 1914. In the 1950’s the company joins with Bessac Caves des Papes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Their combined estates are all located around Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

This example of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is built around the four well-known grape varieties for the appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache (versatile, easy to use and adds rich fruit flavors), Syrah (ballsy, adds black and blue fruit flavors, chocolate and pepper), Mourvèdre (spicy, leathery, gives the wine a dark red color) and Cinsault (perfumy and floral). Grenache and Syrah (and Mourvèdre) being the most popular for the region and this type of blended wine. The wine has had some ageing in oak barrels and boasts a hefty 15% ABV.

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Creamy and very fruity. Red fruits and prunes. Hot butter and warm earth. Vanilla and utterly balanced, otherwise light. It has some sweet-smelling oriental spices, most definitely some ginger and hints of licorice. Small hint of meat(loaf). Great overall perfume.

Taste: Again light, not very tannic, but still a mouth full, and a little bit drying. Licorice. Deep terroir and only slightly acidic. Medium finish with the licorice sustaining. A bit mysterious. Already needs decanting for its full aroma to show, but after some breathing (also in the glass) a very good and aromatic wine.

Very nice and somewhat light Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Today a very inoffensive wine but with a lot of quality to it. Extremely drinkable but not to be taken with heavy foods. Sometimes almost an aperitif wine! I think the wine should be aged further for at least five years. It will improve, but in which way it will develop is hard to predict. Lovely wine, but could have been better with some more body, a little bit more meat on the bone, but the meat this is there is pretty good mind you! Let’s hope it will get more body from the additional ageing. Very nice wine nevertheless.

Points: 87

Thanks Richard for the wine!