The Chocolate Block 2021 (6L) Imperial


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

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.

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.

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.

  • Alcohol: 14.58% vol
  • RS: 2.90 g/l
  • TA: 5.1 g/l
  • pH: 3.76
  • Blend:
  • Syrah 74%;
  • Grenache 10%;
  • Cinsault 8%;
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 7%;
  • Viognier 1%