(2022) The Chocolate Block is a wine that has developed a devoted following over the years, based mainly on Syrah grown in the Swartland. It's made by Boekenhoutskloof, and a fair chunk of the fruit comes from their Porseleinberg vineyard, a wild and rocky place widely regarded as one of Swartland's best terroirs. The nose is all about mocha and spice, and a wild berry fruitiness that comes through - the 'chocolate' is a subtle reference, as this is about spicy, peppery fruit at heart. There's grip aplenty on the palate, a streak of meaty umami character, gripping sandy tannins and edged with a vivid acidity for gastronomic appeal. Not to be confused with the rather sickly vogue for chocolate or coffee-flavoured wines, this remains a class act. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Always a favourite, always a crowd-pleaser, and now from its own sites in Swartland, that's a big change as it was such a success when mostly made from fruit bought in from across the Wesern Cape. Mark and Gottfried say they realised they had to “become more serious”. Very spicy and sensuous, coffee and chocolate and a deep red berry fruit, tobacco and rustiness, a brighter orange rind and bold red berries on the palate, but then that grip of the tannins, peppery quality and more structure than the old recipe, but still plush and crowd-pleasing. 64% Syrah, 14% Grenache, 11% Cinsault and 10% Cabernet (from new oak) with a touch of Viognier.
(2019) From six vineyards spread from sea level to 800-metre altitude up at Ceres in Swartland. Much more solid fruit ripeness with glossy black berries it seems, compared to the Home Truth Cab Franc certainly. A lovely mouth-filling elegance, lots of cherry and blueberry tartness and acidity giving it loads of cut and energy.
(2019) Little bit of Grenache in the blend here, the wine fermenting with wild yeasts in old barrels. Lovely bacon fat note, a touch of game and liquorice, peppery bold red and black fruit beneath. The palate has a powerful concentration, but there is real freshness here, loads of sweet fruit but marinated in a savoury broth. Finishes with plenty of fruit and really precise acidity.
(2019) Like all of David & Nadia's wines, this is 'biologically farmed' - not organic but focused ion the biological health of the soil - though in this case half the fruit does come from an organically certified vineyard. Stays on the skins for four weeks, mostly whole bunches, with some natural carbonic fermentation. A year in old oak barriques. Lovely pale colour, cherry ripe with a touch of tobacco and spice. Nice fruit here, dry, nutty and juicy and lithe.
(2019) Carignan(34%), Syrah (33%), Pinotage (14%), Cinsaut (14%) and Grenache (5%). Quite a bold note, with some rhubarb and roibos notes, but the red fruit dances on the aroma. The palate really bright and clear, dry and with a meatiness, but fine tannins and very good acid balance into a long, savoury finish.
(2019) A blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Cinsault and Tinta Barocca from a 1962 vineyard. Beautiful liquorice-rich, dense but bright cherry fruitiness, touches of crimson brightness and then super-silky and smooth onto the palate, slick wth dark blue and red fruit; the dark bittersweet tang of damson and blueberry edged with cherry. A raft of dry tannin, the acid adding extra tension into a long, very pure finish, a touch of rhubarb and beetroot to add a grounding earthiness. Stockist quoted at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2015) Syrah makes up 92% of the blend with Carignan and Grenache. Component blended after a year of separate ageing, with a total of 26 months ageing in large, old barrels. The nose has a buoyant, beautifully crunchy and vital fragrance with a big lemony core and tart, cherry skin grip to the black fruit.