With an annual production of 360,000 cases of wine, Boekenhoutskloof is renowned for being one of South Africa’s most respected wineries in the market. From being founded in the mid-1990’s by Marc Kent, the premium winery has become a top producer of high-end Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sémillon, in addition to introducing some of the most successful wine offerings to come out of South Africa.
The specialist winery is located in one of the most picturesque regions of South Africa, tucked away in the furthest corner of the Franschhoek valley and home to thriving vineyards of Rhȏne and Syrah varieties. Boekenhoutskloof, originally established in 1776, was named after the indigenous Cape Beech tree “Boekenhout” which is widely recognised in the production of furniture. The farm was then bought and restored with a new vineyard planting programme in 1993 by Marc Kent, the innovator and visionary of winemakers in Swartland who remains the main driving force behind the homestead today. In 2020, it was even awarded Platter’s South African Wine Guide Editor’s Award for Winery of the Year.
As the UK’s largest dedicated retailer of South African wines, its uniquely crafted ranges of vintage wines continuously sell out before they even hit the shop floor. The Chocolate Block is one of the most favoured blends in the winemaking industry, as it has mastered an iconic status of being instantly distinguishable and highly searched for amongst other brands. Although, Kent remains tight-lipped to this day about this particular Syrah-based blend. The name of the brand itself has become the stuff of a legend, as the secrets behind its production merely adds to the glamour and fascination of it all.
What we do know is this – the wine is tweaked each year by Kent from vintage to vintage to create and reflect on the Mediterranean climate of the Western Cape and its ancient vines of great character that are an integral part of the wine’s charm and personality. Marc Kent believes that the way to stay timeless, is to change and adapt. The popular wine export currently contains a blend of Grenache (11%), Syrah (71%), Cinsault (9%), Cabernet Sauvignon (8%) and Viognier (1%) grapes that have been delicately picked to create this rich, full-bodied wine.
As far as tasting notes are concerned, this cult favourite possesses a luscious palate of red and dark berry fruits with flavours of ripe, red plums, blueberries, black cherries and tobacco evident on the mid-palate. The nose is dark and intense with aromas of ripe plums, blackberries, fine cocoa tannins, mint and violets. The violets and spice of the nose reveals a vibrant acidity and smooth, fleshy texture. Blackberries and liquorice linger in the mouth with hints of dark chocolate notes and sweet tobacco. The finish is rich and balanced with hints of dried cranberry, tar, graphite and smoke.
It is no surprise that The Chocolate Block is a firm favourite on tables throughout the world. It is one of the most sought after wines, having claimed Wine of Origin Swartland with its grapes in 2015. In fact, it has grown to an annual production of 36,000 cases as the demand for the product continues to rise across the world. It is truly the modern legend of South African wine.