Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wine Review: Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block 2012 Red Blend

Franschhoek, where this wine is from, is Dutch for "French Corner" and it's located in the southwest of South Africa. It was settled by French Huguenot immigrants in 1688 and since then viticulture and winemaking has been an important part of their culture. Now it's known as "the food and wine capital" of the country.

Boekenhoutskloof Winery was founded in 1776, the same year the United States claimed independence. It was bought and renovated by the current ownership in 1993, the same year Jurassic Park and Mrs. Doubtfire were released. Coincidence? That's for you to decide.

The name Boekenhoutskloof means "ravine of Book-n-howed", Boekenhout being a native tree popular for making furniture. They produce the very popular Wolftrap wines and the highly acclaimed Chocolate Block.

The last time I had Chocolate Block must have been five years ago and I believe it was the 2006 vintage. I thought it was just the bomb-diggity. Well, my wine knowledge has kinda improved just a tad since then and I recently acquired a bottle of the 2012 through the kindness of a good friend's heart. Time to check this bitch out.

Chocolate Block is always mostly Syrah, and it uses the same other grape varietals every year, but the percentages are changed to fit the character of the vintage. The 2012 is 70% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Grenache, 6% Cinsault,  and 1% Viognier.

The bottle is tall with broad shoulders and the label is very simplistic. It just says "The Chocolate Block" at the top, then there's a great white vastness reminiscent of Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. At the very bottom in small print is the vintage, region and winery information.

I feel like the color of this wine is the same color that Prince has for his satin bed sheets. It's not purple and it's not red... it's purple-red. Is there another word for purple-red? It should be called panty-dropper-purple and I bet you that Prince agrees.

The nose is all about the earthiness and I friggin love that. There's dirt, wet moss, cedar, leather, mocha, raspberry, and black olive. The more you swirl the more the black olive comes out to play. I can tell this is another wine I'll spend more time smelling than tasting. The complexity of the aromas and the pure strength of the volatile components are fantastic!

At first the palate is smokey, as I expect from South Africa, but that pulls back as it opens up until it's just hanging out in the background. There's quite a bit of minerality and currant. Every once in awhile I get a hit of big, juicy red cherry that sends my eyes rolling to the back of my head in pleasure. What? That's not weird or awkward at all.

The tannins are soft but the wine is incredibly rich. It's full bodied with balanced acidity. It finishes with raspberry... and lots of long-lasting espresso. Make mine a double and don't do anything cute.

Price: $22
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended.
(what does that mean?)

The bottle used was a personal gift from a friend.


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