06 Apr 2012
Great wines from Boekenhoutskloof
On my recent trip to the Cape I was lucky to visit a number of top Cape producers, including the 2012 Winery of the Year in Platter’s Wine Guide, Boekenhoutskloof. The winery is in Franschhoek, which means French Corner, named for the French Huguenot settlers that arrived in the valley in 1688.
At that time of their arrival, the valley was known as Olifantshoek (Elephant’s Corner) as there were large herds of elephants roaming the valley. Franschhoek has got to be the most picturesque corner of the Cape winelands. I have been visiting that general area for a long time and each time Franschhoek manages to take my breath away with its scenery. The town has managed to retain its charm despite recent development. Definitely stop in Franschhoek if you are visiting the Cape.
Since the early 90’s Boekenhoutskloof has been quietly paving its way to be one of South Africa’s best wineries. Cellar master Marc Kent oversees the winemaking team, and has led the winery to numerous 5 star awards in South Africa, and equally impressive accolades in international publications. Marc Kent met us in the tasting room, beers were handed out. Hanging out on the lawn drinking beer was a welcome change. A few beers got us through a cellar tour, following which we were sat down to a tasting of the whole lineup.
Boekenhoutskloof really focus their attention on making a few wines but doing them really well. Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet sells out every release, with the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah close behind, the current releases of both wines having received 5 star ratings. The Cabernet always requires time to come out of its shell, is a mix of powerful big fruit balanced with some elegant herbaceous notes. All of the fruit for the Cabernet comes from Franschhoek which make it a more elegant style. The Syrah, which sources grapes from nearby Wellington, leans towards a Rhone style wine.
Boekenhoutskloof Chocolate Block 2010, a shiraz based blend, has been a huge success as it seems to have nailed the wine style and marketing. Big mouth feel and soft tannins, the Chocolate Block offers immediate gratification. There is also the Porcupine Ridge range and the Wolftrap Range, both of which are value driven wines that sell in the USA for under $10. The Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap White 2010 is a white Rhone blend which comes from the Swartland, and was named the Superquaffer of the Year in South Africa.
As the evening unfolds, many wines are tried and a good time was had by all. During dinner Marc Kent pulls out his most limited wine of all, The Journeyman, which doesn’t make it to the USA. There will be no jogging in the morning…
Posted by Oliver