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Spice Route Chakalaka 2010

Other Red Blends from South Africa
  • WS91
  • RP90
14% ABV
Other Vintages
  • WS89
  • RP89
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • WS90
  • WS90
  • WE90
  • WS90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Intense red-purple in the glass. Initial smoky cloves and savory notes give way to a plum and black cherry nose with hints of sweet oak spice. Medium bodied with well-integrated oak and fruit, this wine has a smooth tannin structure and lingering spice flavors.

Blend: 37% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, 13% Carignan, 10% Tannat, 8% Grenache, 7% Petit Sirah

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
Solid, featuring dark plum, currant and blackberry fruit melded with a roasted apple wood note. A sanguine edge fills in the finish, exhibiting enough length and depth for modest cellaring. A terrific value. Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Tannat, Grenache and Petite Sirah.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Spice Route Chakalaka, from Swartland, Oakleaf and Koffieklip, is a serious Rhone Ranger blend of 30% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre, 13% Carignan, 8% Grenache and the rest Petite Sirah and Tannat aged 14 months in a combination of French and American oak (14.5% natural alcohol). This intriguing red is loaded with white chocolate, coffee bean, black currant, kirsch, licorice and Provencal herb characteristics as well as a slight touch of vanillin (from the oak aging). It is a beautifully fruit-driven, medium to full-bodied, South African powerhouse to drink over the next 5-6 years.
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Spice Route

Spice Route

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Spice Route, South Africa
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Five centuries ago the ancient mariners braved uncharted seas to round the Cape in search of exotic spices. Their nerve and dash inspired Charles Back to found the Spice Route Winery in 1997. Charles had bought the farm Klein Amoskuil, and this Malmesbury based farm is now home to Spice Route's Swartland terroir styled wines. The Spice Route Winery has found its signature wine style in the warm rolling hills along the Cape West Coast. Matching traditional practices in the vineyards with modern, minimalist approaches in the cellar, they produce exceptionally ripe and deep-flavoured wines. The deep red soils sustain unirrigated bush vine through the long warm summers. These harsh conditions are tempered by cool Atlantic breezes rolling in overnight. In its few years since inception had a stratospheric climb into the top echelons of the South African wine industry.
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South Africa

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With an important wine renaissance is in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” 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, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing 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 brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

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 red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy 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 close behind.

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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 enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. 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.

PBC9079432_2010 Item# 122626