5 Stars 2019 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Remarkable quality & consistency from sizeable production, 2057 barrels in 2017 ***** (95 pts). Mainly syrah (64%) with grenache (14%) from own vineyards; bought-in cab (new barriques, rest older oak), cinsault & viognier, as in 16 (94 pts). Plush & generous but serious, with structure & underlying power for good few years cellaring. Swartland WO.
93 pts Wine & Spirits
Shortly into taking notes on this wine, I gave up and wrote, “Oh yum.” With less syrah and more grenache and cinsault than the 2016, it’s super-floral and spicy, with a crushed-berry freshness to the fruit that makes it immediately appealing. Stay with it for a few moments and it develops the savor of a steak cooked black and blue, the bloody tang of the meat and smokiness of the grill marks adding a deep savor. Poured blind, it’d be easily confused for a top Rhône grenache—at least, until the price is revealed.
93 pts Tim Atkin MW
One of South Africa’s most successful brands, selling at a price that many producers can only dream of, this Syrah-based cuvée with Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier is smooth, youthful and floral, with Asian spices, bramble and blueberry fruit, some tannic backbone and the potential to age further in bottle. 2020-26.
92 pts Vinous Aug 2018
The 2017 The Chocolate Block contains less Syrah than previous vintages: 64%, plus 14% Grenache, 11% Cinsault, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Viognier, the Cabernet being the only variety that saw new oak. It was matured 16 months in used oak. The important factor is that there is not much more fruit sourced from the estate’s vines in Porseleinberg and the Goldmine Vineyards. It has a very well defined bouquet of blackberry, raspberry coulis, crushed rose petals, hints of orange peel and minerals. This is much more detailed and classic in style than previous vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, a fine bead of acidity, and quite saline and spicy in the mouth . The fresh, quite pure finish lingers in the mouth. This is a very impressive wine, to the point where I feel that “The Chocolate Block” no longer reflects the style of the wine. It is a great achievement that this level of quality is achieved with 2,057 barrels of wine. Bravo.