Marc Kent has built up an international reputation as one of South Africa's greatest winemakers. His small batch production ideology and passionate winemaking have created a demand for his wine that is the envy of his contemporaries. Based in Franschhoek, the estate has gained cult status because of the exquisitely balanced wines that reflect the varieties used as much as the soil they come from. Chocolate Block has carved out an impressive niche for itself with its deep complex character.
The 2016 Chocolate Block is a blend of Syrah (79%), Grenache Noir (11%), Cabernet Sauvignon (6%), Cinsault (3%) and Viognier (1%). Due to the looming drought conditions, yields were much lower, resulting in higher berry concentration and healthier grapes. Phenolic ripeness was easily achieved, with the harvesting of grapes taking place earlier, during the cooler stages of the harvest period. The increased volume of Grenache Noir in the blend enhances the flavour profile significantly, with Syrah being its structural backbone. The Grenache was matured in 600-litre barrels to retain its unmistakable fruity aromas and vibrancy. The wine matures in first-fill (all of the Cabernet Sauvignon), second-fill and third-fill French oak barrels as well as 2,500-litre French oak foudres for 16 months before it undergoes a light, egg-white fining and filtration.
The nose is exceptionally perfumed with an abundance of complex red and dark berry fruit, violets and intense aromas of white pepper. Dark brooding fruit follows through onto a structured, opulent palate with notes of cardamom, cumin, cloves and black pepper. The mid-palate is rich, textured and balanced with integrated acidity, cocoa powdery tannins and a definite cedarwood character derived from French oak. White pepper lingers on a smooth, lifted finish.