THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK 2011
I have worked in restaurants all my life, and in the last few years in London, the one most requested wine from customers has been THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK! Granted I was working in a steakhouse at the time, and this wine is a plump juicy red just waiting to get it’s tantalizing fusion of french grapes front row, ready to bring any great steak alive, but I still wasn’t sure what all the fuss was all about.
So after mention after formidable mention I marched myself down to Selfridges to buy this Holy Grail. At £22 a bottle it’s not super cheap, but neither is it going to make you sell a kidney so I jump on a tube, bag in hand, ready to sample what beauties this wine has to offer.
There was no time for food. The wine went into the decanter and I was drinking it. This wine is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet sauvignon, Grenache noir, Cinsault and Viognier. Its dark purple in the glass and straight away I can smell the high intensity of perfume without having to get on in there. Cassis and blackcurrent are jumping out at me, with a touch of earthiness to balance the fruit. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps there’s a suggestion of damp moss. There are spices aplenty. Anise star. Nutmeg. And I can smell those chocolate cherry liquors that, if your anything like me, always get in your santa sack at Christmas! So far this wine is shaping up quite well. I can smell dried raisons, and that hickory smoke from a BBQ….enough smelling, I take a sip. It’s smooth luscious and full. Lots of black cherries, followed by some smokey notes, and it finishes spicy. The tannins are big but velvety. My guest ( of course I didn’t drink the whole bottle to my self! ) even described the tannins like a sugar coating. Quite powdery. I thought that was nice. The wine has good acidity and a good enough length. It is definately a delicious full bodied red that would sit nicely next to a big piece of juicy steak.
The producers behind The Chocolate box are Boekenhoutskloof. Their vineyards are located in an area just east of the famous Stellenbosch called Franschhoek, which is now quite rightly recognized as a wine district ( ward ) in its own right. They also have a range of wines called The Wolftrap and your everyday wines, Porcupine ridge. Boekenhoutskloof supports the conservation of an incredible plant kingdom ( one of only six in the world ) in which it’s vineyards lay. So buy yourself a bottle immediately and support their efforts and your own demanding taste buds all at the same time!