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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block Red Blend 2009

Other Red Blends from South Africa
  • RP90
14.5% ABV
  • TP91
  • WS88
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

An expressive nose with intense dark cherry spiced raspberry, black fruit and violet-infused perfume. With time another dimension of rusticity and fleshiness is revealed with underlying earthy notes. The palate is firmly structured, yet elegant, with supple tannins and spicy oak aromas covering a rounded mid-palate that reveals purity of fruit and a lifted freshness. Classically styled with integrated tannins and balanced acidity to ensure a long, succulent and textured finish.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 67% Syrah, 14% Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cinsault and 2% Viognier, the 2009 The Chocolate Block has a rustic, earthy bouquet with a touch of saddle-leather and Provencal herbs. The palate is smooth and rounded on the entry and is armed with crisp acidity to cut through that plush dark berried fruit interlaced with rosemary, white fennel and white pepper. Very svelte and harmonious towards the slightly oaky finish and demonstrating good length, The Chocolate Block is a well-crafted Rhone(ish) blend from Marc Kent and his team. Drink now-2015.
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Boekenhoutskloof

Boekenhoutskloof

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Boekenhoutskloof, South Africa
Image of winery
The name "Boekenhoutskloof" comes from the Cape beech, or Kaapse boekenhout, a tree indigenous to Franschhoek and once used by the Cape Dutch for furniture making. It is pronounced, not easily, bok-un-hoatscloof. The winery's white-washed, Dutch-style farmhouse, dated 1771, once stood in an orchard; pears still plump up in the trees around it. Kent and his partners, including South Africa's consummate ad-men John Hunt and Reg Lascaris, have never advertised the wine. And still the bottles - each with a sleek hand-torn label picturing seven different Capestyle chairs, one for each partner - keep selling out.

Kent is now studying to be a master of wine, one of three in South Africa taking the seriously competitive international course rather than the regional one. He's not got hubris enough to presume the post himself; he's already saturated in the business of making Boekenhoutskloof, as well as the winery's second label, Porcupine Ridge.

While he sounds casual about his craft ("It's a series of decisions, and when you make them"), small details give away his obsessive streak. His dogs are called Petrus and Gaja.

South Africa

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The South African wine renaissance is in full swing. Impressive red and white bargains abound. South Africa has a long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

EPC18533_2009 Item# 113934