Tasting and Assessing the New 2018 Boekenhoutskloof Vintages…

The 2018 vintage in South Africa is often described as the third of the drought years after 2015. But if you look at the rainfall data for all areas, 2015 was also an exceptionally dry year except the vines had the benefit of ample ground water supplies from a wet rainy preceding winter in 2014.

With producers’ expertise growing incrementally with every new drought vintage in regards to growing and handling fruit in these difficult drought conditions, the 2018 vintage was actually handled very well by most wineries in the end with Boekenhoutskloof also having the significant added benefit of vinifying the 2018 vintage in their spectacular new underground cellar.

I recently caught up with Mark Kent currently based in Holland for a zoom tasting to discuss the latest offerings from this iconic South African winery.

Boekenhoutskloof Semillon 2018, 13.6% Abv.

A blend of old vine vineyards including fruit from the famous La Colline vineyard in Franschhoek. Aromatics are delicate and dusty with hints of sapidity, yellow citrus, nectarine, white peach and a smattering of white pepper and sea breaze. The palate is full, fleshy, creamy and round with a lactic white chocolate notes, leesy biscuit, picante white stone fruits but also a fine line of crystalline acidity. Lovely textural breadth, balance and depth. Fabulous.

(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, 14.69% Abv.

Rich, opulent and expressive with ripe lifted notes of sweet red and black berry compote, raspberry jam, violets and subtle brûléed notes of salted toffee and crème de cassis with a delicate kiss of eucalypt and dried mint leaf. Cool, sleek and beautifully elegant, this shows a vibrant red cherry sherbet energy on the palate with pink rock candy, red plum, fine grained tannins and expressive mocha and wood spice notes on the finish.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, 14.3% Abv.

Almost a single vineyard wine, this was, along with the Syrah, one of the first wines to be produced at the winery in 1996. Previously 100% new oak, this wine now sees circa 80% of new oak and around 8 to 10% of Cabernet Franc and shows attractive fragrant notes of violets and lavender, pink musk and red cherry spice. The palate is chiselled and elegant, spicy and suave with cool polished tannins, a powdery sleek textured mouthfeel and a long intense length displaying red currant, red cherry and tart savoury black currant. A little more seductive, and dare I say, feminine than its more muscular Stellenbosch stable mate.

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2018, 14.1% Abv.

Now sourced from the Swartland from fruit grown on the famed Porseleinberg vineyard and also the Goldmine farm vineyards next door to the Mullineux’s Roundstone farm. This wine shows lashings of sweet molasses, earthy black berries, tilled earth and smoky salty black liquorice. The layers of black earthy berry fruit are noticeably savoury with notes of barbequed meats, bacon fat, buttered brown toast and brûléed milk chocolate notes on the finish.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley:

Cap Maritime Chardonnay 2018, 13.8% Abv.

Still made from leased vineyards, some of which are at Sumaridge. This is quite an earthy, savoury, oxidatively handled style with notes of wax and incense, bruised yellow peaches, green melon and ripe lemon peel. The palate shows lovely concentration, a broad mouth-filling texture and yet more savoury, earthy yellow fruits and pineapple pastille on the finish. A lovely wine but still a work in progress.

(Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Cap Maritime Pinot Noir 2018

Made from Upper Hemel-en-Aarde fruit, the aromatics show lovely exotic spice, incense, vermouth botanicals, fynbos and delicate notes of leafy red berry fruits. The palate is wonderfully polished and pure, lithe and elegant with chalky powdery tannins, spicy sapidity and an elegant length that boasts a subtle kiss of bramble berry complexity. A very smart effort.

(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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