Boekenhoutskloof – The shining star of South African wine
South African wine – One of the loveliest wineries of the Western Cape in South Africa, Boekenhoutskloof lies at the edge of the valley in Franschhoek. The name means ‘ravine of the Boekenhout’, a local tree that is well known for its use for fine furniture. Indeed, Boekenhoutskloof super-elegant, iconic labels represent some of the pretty old chairs which can still be seen in the old farm and represent the seven directors of whom chief winemaker and cellar master Marc Kent is one.
Even though the estate was established in 1776, it was properly restored and its vineyards planted in 1993, with grape varieties consisting of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, grenache, semillon and viognier.
Marc Kent, a relentless winemaker, has long been a pioneering figure in the South African wine industry. He was the first to introduce the syrah grape with his now legendary 1997 vintage of Boekenhoutskloof Syrah. Under his stewardship Boekenhoutskloof has since become one of the top estates in South Africa, regularly collecting awards for its wines. It has excelled in making not only fine wine but also overseeing the success of several well-respected brands, namely Porcupine Ridge and The Wolftrap in the Quebec Market
I recently had a chance to meet Mr. Kent, in a private tasting at the offices of its Quebec Importer Univins. I was surprised by the modesty of this gentleman and we had a chance to chat about some of his iconic wines.
Kent define his style for his wines as bringing together the power of the new world with the elegance of the old word. In my opinion, his wine style is very European bringing to mind the best of the Rhone Valley. Actually, Mr Kent is passionate about the wines of Cornas and travels constantly to the region to keep abreast of the new developments.
I would like to share with you the wines that I tasted along with Mr. Kent. For more information about the wines, you may contact Univins ( www.univins.ca) or 514-522-9339
The Wolftrap Blanc 2017 ( SAQ # 11605734 $13.95) Available from June 2018
- A blend of Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc from Western Cape
Alluring aromas of white nectarines, apricots with soft herbaceous notes. Round, almost creamy with a spicy long aftertaste. An original and quite affordable wine that every wine lover must try.
Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2015 ( Private Import, $39.75)
- 100% Semillon Blanc from Franschhoek
A masterpiece of a wine. Lovely aromas of coconut, wax and honey. Complex minerality, exotic spices such as white pepper, nutmeg. Harmonious and quite elegant. Very precise white fruit flavors with a stellar saline finale at the end. This Semillon brought to mind a white Pessac-Leognan. Drinks well know but could be cellared for the next decade.
Vinologist Syrah 2017 ( SAQ # 13586784 $12.95) Available from May 2018
- 100 % Syrah, around 30% of the wine is unoaked, the rest see aging in diverse oak barrels of different ages from Swartland
Vibrant and bright aromas of ripe black fruits embedded by floral nuances such as violets, licorice complemented by Indian black peppercorns. Very fresh and digest with gorgeous flavors of cherry and wild raspberry. Polished with firm tannins and a impeccable balance despite a 14.5 % alcohol.
Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2017 ( SAQ # 10678510, $16.50)
- 100 % Syrah, ⅔ aged in french oak from Swartland
Aromas of sandalwood, strawberry and black raspberry. Very floral as well reminiscent of violet and cistus flowers. Refreshing with soft tannins and delicious flavours of sour red cherry that finish with a pleasant peppery finale.
Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2015 ( Private Import, $55.50)
- 100 % Syrah aged for 18 months in 2500 litres foudres and 600 liters demi-muids from Swartland
Aromas of fine leather, licorice and tar complemented by star anise and camphor wood. Very fresh on the mouth, elegant with fine cashmere tannins alike and a long finale.
Porseleinberg 2014 ( Private Import, $92.50)
100 % Syrah aged in foudres from Swartland for 12 months
Exuberant nose bringing to mind vibrant blueberry and blackberry fruit with fine notes of green peppercorns and liquorice. Rich but with a very polished texture. Tannins texture are quite incredible in this wine. This Syrah brings to mind some of the best Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas from the Northern Rhone.
The Chocolate Block 2016 ( SAQ # 10703412 $39.10)
- 79% Syrah, 6%% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11 % Grenache Noir, 3% Cinsault, 1 % Viognier. From Franschhoek
Complex nose bringing to mind notes of ripe cassis with red pepper jelly and mint. With time in the glass, fine notes of eucalyptus and dark chocolate develop. On the mouth, it has good depth and complexity with a good acidity and ripe tannins.
Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet-Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2015 ( SAQ # 13568551, $55.50) Available from May 2015
- 86 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc. Aged for 20 months in a combination of new and old oak including the type Sylvain and Saury from Stellenbosch
Heady aromas of coffee cream, cedar and red currants. Powerful with a nervy acidity and great tannic structure. Flavours bring to mind wild fennel, cigar box and Asian spices. This wine has a great aging potential.