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.
De Waal Wines, situated on Uiterwyk Estate in the cool Stellenbosch Kloof Valley, has been a De Waal family concern since 1864.
Owned by Pieter de Waal, this historic family legacy boasts nine generations of passionate winemakers, entirely focused on delighting their patrons by offering exceptional wines. The wines combine elegant Old World finesse and abundant New World fruit. De Waal's mature vineyards offer grapes that produce deep, rich wines renowned for their consistent quality and enjoyment.
De Waal is renowned for the classic style of its Pinotage wines, the only indigenous South African grape variety. CT de Waal, a member of this family, was the first person to make wine from Pinotage grapes in 1941. Uiterwyk is also the home of Top of the Hill Pinotage, made from the oldest Pinotage vines in the world.
The grapes for this wine are picked from those 66 years old vines that are the oldest Pinotage vines in South Africa. The vineyard is situated on warm north facing slopes. The wine is allowed to mature for 18 months in new French Barriques. The wine is strictly limited in availability and only 3000 bottles of the 2013 vintage were ever made.
Beautiful plum and spice flavours with dark fruit, rich on middle palate, with a smooth and lingering finish. This wine has the potential to age for up to 16 years from vintage.
This wine is fantastic for food pairing to any venison dish and hearty red meats including dishes such as Beef Bourguignon.
This is a velvety soft wine with flavours of creamy blackberries. Extremely easy to drink and a good partner to the Young Vines Sauvignon Blanc.
This concentrated wine with spicy flavours is an ideal partner to both contemporary and classic cuisine.
The Landscape Series of wines is an authentic representation of Gabrielskloof's top vineyards, as well as a few old vine treasures. They wanted the labels to reflect this and decided to commission local artist and friend Niël Jonker to capture the spirit of the Overberg landscapes.
The 2015 vintage led to early proclamations that it is a Cape classic, and the wines are certainly backing this up. In his fourth annual guide to South African wines, award-winning wine writer and Master of Wine Tim Atkin says the 2015 vintage is “the best I’ve tasted in 26 years...”. A wet 2014 provided ample reserves for the vines to develop happily through the warm and dry summer leading to early, but full ripeness and beautifully balanced wines.
The fruit for this wine comes from a single vineyard, mountainside site on the Gabriëlskloof property. The soil is a combination of Overberg Shale and Table Mountain Sandstone, with this complexity transferred into the wine through a lovely mix of fruit and spice. The vineyard is 15 years old, and this maturity shows in the depth and character of the wine.
The fruit was hand-picked into small crates and transferred directly into their cool room where it remained overnight. 90% of the crop was destemmed with the remaining 10% left as whole clusters. The wine was fermented wild and aged in 500L barrels for 18 months, with 30% new French Oak used.
The wine is unmistakably Cabernet Franc, with notes of tobacco leaf, bell pepper and plum leading into an elegant, refined palate with fine tannins and just enough grip to balance the concentrated red fruit.
Charles Back, the owner of Fairview, is also the man behind Goats do Roam, which was launched in 1999. Goats do Roam is rare in that it is an amusing and original proposition allied to wines of good quality and value for money. Normally, these 'concept' wines put more money into marketing than into quality but, characteristically, Charles has done the opposite. The fruit for Goats is sourced primarily from Paarl, Malmesbury and Paardeberg. The 'legend' goes that some errant members of Fairview's long established goat herd, supplier of milk for Fairview's internationally award-winning cheeses, escaped one afternoon from their paddock into the Fairview vineyards when Charles Back's young son Jason accidentally left the paddock gate open. The little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from some of the choicest vines. Their selection serves as the inspiration for the blends of these wines.
This is a blend of four different grapes sourced from various producing areas and selected for their varietal characteristics which together make for a vibrant, supple wine with smooth tannins. It is comprised of Barbera from Paarl and Swartland, Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch, Sangiovese from Darling and Nebbiolo from Paarl.
After being de-stalked and lightly crushed, the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks. After malolactic fermentation the various components aged in 225 litre barriques for 13 months. The wine was matured in a mix of French and American oak, mainly second to fourth use, with approximately 10% new wood being used. The Nebbiolo component was fermented in 500 litre barrels and basket pressed, then to older barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine was blended and lightly filtered once before being bottled.
This full-bodied wine has pronounced red fruit on the nose with perfumed violets. The palate mirrors the initial aromas with added savoury flavours and a prominent herbal note on the finish.
Bright ruby in the glass. Fresh berry aromas layered with subtle spice and smoky notes. Light to medium bodied with young juicy berry flavours, fine integrated oak and smooth tannins. A beautifully balanced wine with a soft finish.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).
Jurgen Gouws is the assistant winemaker at Lammershoek, the leading exponent of ‘natural’ wines in Swartland, which is where he also produces his own small batches of Chenin Blanc and Syrah. The approach is similar to that of Lammershoek, but not as extreme. Previous vintages of Intellego Syrah contained some Mourvedre, but this is a varietal wine made from old, unirrigated bush vines, mostly on decomposed granite soils. It’s a minimal-intervention red, unfined and unfiltered, although some sulphur dioxide is added at bottling. The fermentation takes place in older French oak (whole-bunch fermentation for 10 days), as per the Swartland Revolution norm. Maturation is for 9-10 months in old French oak barrels of 500-litre capacity.
A youthful, fresh Bordeaux-styled blend showing plums and spiciness. Very accessible with a smooth and balanced texture.
Classic Pinotage aromas of spicy mulberries, plum pudding and cherries, with more subtle hints of smoky bacon. Juicy and accessible with a soft palate and delicious fruit concentration.
The Forrester red equivalent of the iconic FMC Chenin: a stunning New World, red Rhone blend. 65% Grenache, 35% Syrah: a hand-picked selection of the finest and ripest fruit.
Cool-soaked prior to fermentation, then taken to new French oak barrels for 12 months. At this point a further selection takes place before blending and the final blend goes back to new barrels to marry and harmonise over the following 12 months. After almost 2 years languishing in a cool cellar the Gypsy is stable with the oak and intense fruit totally harmonised. A very concentrated, focussed blend, with layers of deep fruit.
The character is somewhat 'wild' a little brambly with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark spices, with vanilla scents and a distinct, concentrated red-fruit focus. Great for laying down and keeping for at least ten years but already rewarding if allowed to breathe in a decanter.