4 ½ Stars 2020 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Enviable quality plus sizable production – 107,500 cases in 18 (93 pts). Sumptuous, with dark berry depth, long savoury finish. Syrah (69%), grenache, cinsault, a little cab & viognier, all from Swartland.
92 pts Vinous
The 2018 The Chocolate Block is sourced from the Goldmine and Porseleinberg farms, the Cabernet originating from Voor-Paaderberg, and matured for 16 months in used oak barrels. It offers generous black plum and black currant aromas, pressed rose petals and a touch of menthol. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, and much more structured than the vintages of old (as I have pointed out in previous reviews), displaying fennel, bay leaf and white pepper toward the finish. This feels long in the mouth. A classy Chocolate Block that treads a fine line between commercial and intellectual appeal.
The 2018 Chocolate Block is a blend of Syrah (69%), Grenache Noir (13%), Cinsault (9%), Cabernet Sauvignon (8%) and Viognier (1%). The effect of the drought has now become even more apparent, making correct picking dates crucial to secure the very best fruit quality. Time spent in the vineyard was therefore essential to ensure timeous picking at optimum phenolic ripeness. With yields being even lower than usual, the quality was exceptional with very concentrated berries and surprisingly good natural analysis. The Swartland vineyards are renowned for its slate and granitic soils, creating tension and vibrancy in the wine. Syrah remains our backbone with Grenache Noir lending a delicate fruitiness and finesse, Cinsault giving floral and ripe strawberry notes and Cabernet Sauvignon contributing good tannic grip and structure in the blend. The Grenache was matured in 600L barriques to retain its unmistakable fruity aromas and a pronounced freshness. The wine matures in 1st (all of the Cabernet Sauvignon), 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barriques as well as 2 500L French oak foudrés for 12 months before it undergoes a light egg-white fining and filtration. 2 236 barriques were selected for our 2018 vintage.
The nose is dense and brooding, yet opulent, with its compote of dark, ripe plums and blackberry and attractive whiffs of liquorice, violets, cocoa and mint. The black fruit and perfume of the nose follow through onto a rich, savoury palate with flavours of dark cherry, red currant, black olives and cured meat. Fine grained, svelte tannins are in perfect balance with the lemony acidity, lending complexity to the mid-palate. The wine is full-bodied with a rich, smooth mouthfeel. The finish is charry and long, with hints of maraschino cherry, pimento olives and sweet tobacco.