The Chocolate Block 2016 (6L) Imperial


TA – Tim Atkin MW
PG – Platter’s Wine Guide

The nose is dark and brooding and entices with its black fruit aromas and hints of pepper and spice. The blueberry and blackberry of the nose follow through onto a layered, full palate with flavours of dark plums and notes of dust, graphite and cocoa nib. The wine is focused and elegant, with fresh yet integrated acidity and fine-grained tannins, adding to exceptional structure. Black currant and milk chocolate linger on a silky finish.

The 2020 harvest was preceded by an exceptional growing season which was built on the foundation of a cold 2019 winter – sufficient cold units meant perfect conditions for vine dormancy. In the spring, early and even bud-break caused homogenous shoot growth, leading to both uniform fruit set and steady ripening. Crucially though, the Swartland experienced a moderate summer and with the avoidance of spiking heatwaves, further extended the ripening period. The sum of these conditions bode particularly well for flavour and acid retention in the wines.

“The Chocolate Block 2020 relied vastly on our own fruit from Porseleinberg and Goldmine farms – this had an immense effect on the flavour and energy of this unique wine. Porseleinberg offers purity of fruit where Goldmine brings structure. The vineyards on these two stellar properties have become well-established and are beginning to show their potential.” – Marc Kent

Syrah is the predominant variety on both farms and accounts for a 73% contribution to the blend. Grenache (11%) from bush-vines on Porseleinberg is the subtle superstar of the blend that offers a perfumy brightness and allows the wine to deliver a gastronomic texture. The moderate conditions were a welcome relief for Swartland Cabernet Sauvignon (7%). The cooler, balanced growing season was particularly beneficial in providing a more elegant, old-world style of the variety. In summary: 2020 is a vintage which shows exceptional balance and texture with a youthful elegance. These hallmarks certainly favour significant ageing potential.

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 exposed to new French oak barrique. The elevage ranged between 11 & 12 months, dependant on component and vineyard parcel. 2982 barriques were selected for our 2020 vintage.

  • Alcohol: 14.69% vol
  • RS: 3.60 g/l
  • TA: 5.10 g/l
  • pH: 3.80
  • Blend:
  • Syrah 73%;
  • Grenache 11%;
  • Cinsault 8%;
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 7%;
  • Viognier 1%