The Chocolate Block


This powerhouse of a red wine is from the South African wine producer Boekenhoutskloof, of the Franschhoek Valley. Boekenhoutskloof are one of South Africa’s top wine producers and this 2013 blend is made up of Syrah (70%); Cabernet Sauvignon (13%); Grenache Noir (10%); Cinsault (6%) and Viognier (1%). The actual makeup of the wine varies each year with new vintages to reflect the season and vines, but this and other vintages present very much as a South African, Rhone-style blend.

Despite the name, this is not a chocolate flavoured wine, I’m not sure if the name is supposed to reflect the flavour of chocolate or not but at most I would say it has a very subtle undertone of a flavour you might associate with dark chocolate, which is pleasant but would be hard to identify not knowing the wine you were drinking. Far more prevalent are the more typical Rhone style flavours of black pepper, bramble fruits and blackcurrant but without the overpowering fruit-bomb effect that can come with this style, instead giving way to more earthy and leathery tones. The wine seems well structured and balanced with a lingering fruity finish on the palate. Think South African Chateaneuf-du-Pape!

The wine would pair well with many red meat dishes, but particularly spiced meat or rich stewed meat dishes. With medium tannins it could hold its own against many rich dishes but I would personally avoid really fatty casseroles or stews.

Boekenhoutskloof also produce a number of other fantastic (possibly even better) wines, which I hope to be able to review at a later point, including a Syrah and a Cabernet Sauvignon both of which are truly fantastic should you get the chance to sample yourself!


  • Price: £20-25 a bottle.
  • Producer: Boekenhoutskloof
  • Origin: South Africa, Franschhoek.
  • Style: Syrah heavy, Rhone style blend.
  • Food Pairing: Spiced red meat, stews and casseroles, hard cheeses.

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