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.
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 fondly recalled for their consistent quality and enjoyment.
Although presented under the Young Vines range, these vineyards are between 13 - 15 years old, producing wonderful fruit.
The fermentation and maceration of this wine takes place over 14 days before being aged in older french oak barrels for 3 months before bottling.
This is a lovely, fruit-driven wine, with subtle oak. It has white pepper and spicy flavours with mocha undertones. Rich black cherry fruit flavours on the middle palate then continue to a smooth, round finish.
This wine is great to enjoy on its own or with pizza and lasagne / pasta dishes. This wine is very popular in summer, when served chilled.
This concentrated wine with spicy flavours is an ideal partner to both contemporary and classic cuisine.
Fairview is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Paarl, which is more sheltered from the moderating maritime influence than nearby Stellenbosch. Vines were planted here as early as 1699. The property was bought by the grandfather of current owner Charles back in 1937. Fairview has a reputation for consistent quality across a range of innovative styles, using both classic and unusual varieties. Charles leads the field in South Africa in matching varieties to specific sites. The Fairview estate now has a total of 586 hectares of vineyard over four appellations: Paarl (350 hectares), Swartland (115 hectares), Darling (86 hectares) and Stellenbosch (35 hectares). This vineyard ownership in so many different regions allows Charles to produce a wide range of wines, from grapes grown in optimal conditions. In 2014, Charles received a lifetime achievement award from the International Wine Challenge.
Pinotage is a classic South African variety and originates from a 1925 cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (known as Hermitage in South Africa). The Fairview Pinotage was harvested from older bush vines in the Agter- Paarl and from trellised vineyards on the Fairview farm in Paarl. These older bush vines are dry farmed and grown on deep, Malmesbury Shales soils, whilst the trellised vines are drip irrigated.
The 2016 vintage was three weeks earlier than normal, much like the challenging conditions faced in 2015, the winter season delivered less than half of the average rainfall across all areas, requiring early measures of crop control to ensure quality. The grapes were healthy, with concentrated flavours which produced good quality wines.
The grapes were picked over a number of days to ensure perfect maturity of each block. The bunches were destalked and lightly crushed before fermentation in stainless steel tanks and open top foudres. After malolactic fermentation was completed, the wine spent ten months in 15% new French and American oak barrels, before blending and bottling.
The Fairview Pinotage 2016 has a bright ruby red colour. Cranberries, violets and plum aromas with a hint of vanilla. Elegant flavours of fresh red fruit and clove spice with a firm tannin finish.
Dense ruby in colour with prunes and Christmas cake aromas on the nose. The palate is well-balanced, full of spice and mixed dried fruit followed by richly sweet, fortified flavours.
This is a beautifully smooth Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe dark berry fruit, sweet spice and well balanced tannins.
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.
Aromas of bright red cherries and cassis with perfumed hints of lavender spices. An elegant medium-bodied palate with fresh acidity. Subtle oaking emphasises the fruit flavours, with a lingering 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.
Dark violet like appearance and showing youth. Earthy, herbaceous tones with ripe fruit and underpinned mintyness. Sweet spicy palate and tannins gives the wine a generous finish. Balanced oak but still youthful and will develop well in the bottle.