The Chocolate Block 2021
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PRODUCER: Marc Kent is the chief winemaker and driving force behind the dynamic farm. A maverick spirit, Marc is unafraid to experiment with the unconventional, but his principal commitment is to quality on every level and in every detail.
WINEMAKING: The Chocolate Block 2021 marks our 20th vintage of this iconic wine. This vintage will be remembered for offering moderate weather conditions throughout, extending into the onset of flowering and even into November, where a decent amount of rainfall was experienced. This had a positive effect and contributed to optimal flowering and fruit set. The cooler growing season was beneficial for a slow and extended ripening period, resulting in excellent grape quality. The first grapes were picked on February 5th – slightly later than usual, in what would become the lengthiest harvest to date. The 2021 wines show a beautiful, restrained elegance due to the extended hang times and mild growing season.
"We made an important decision in 2015 to shift from general appellation Western Cape to Wine of Origin Swartland. The significance is that we can directly manage the majority of the fruit being vinified for The Chocolate Block and farm the vineyards using our sustainable approach to viticulture. After more than a decade of working with these Swartland vineyards, our Porseleinberg and Goldmine farms represent about 60% of the fruit in the final blend. Notably, we can see that the wines have changed stylistically. It's about the purity of fruit, elegance and structure." - Marc Kent
Syrah is the predominant variety on both farms and makes up 74% of the blend. The Grenache (10%) from bush vines on Porseleinberg is the quiet superstar of the blend, offering pure fruit brightness and texture. The extended hang times allowed for elegant Swartland Cabernet Sauvignon (7%). In summary: The 2021 vintage, although somewhat riper, shows lower alcohol and good natural acidity, which should develop very well for years to come.
Syrah and Cinsault were matured in a combination of seasoned 2,500L French oak foudres and barriques. Grenache was matured in seasoned 600L demi-muids. Cabernet Sauvignon was the only component aged in new French oak barriques. The elevage ranged between 12-14 months, depending on component and vineyard parcel. 3349 barriques were selected for our 2021 vintage.
TASTING NOTE: Intense blackberry, bramble, and lavender aromas with gentle nuances of potting soil and cured meat dominate a dark and brooding nose. The abundance of perfume and the earthy character of the nose follows through generously onto a powerful palate, with a lush compote of blueberries, ripe plums, black currants & cherries. Cacao-powdery tannins are abundant, adding texture and complexity to an almost savoury mid-palate, seamlessly complementing the vivid dark fruits, alcohol and acidity. This is a robust, structured wine, yet it is delicate, poised and elegant at the same time. Black fruits, cumin spice, white pepper, liquorice and hints of garrigue persist on a velvety finish.