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Spice Route, ‘Chakalaka’ Swartland

South Africa | 2016
(1 customer review)

£16.95 a bottle

Spice Route, ‘Chakalaka’ is named after the signature spice blend of South Africa. This huge wine is made from classic Rhône varieties, the blend changes every year to incorporate the best grapes from the Swartland vintage. This wine is deep ruby red in colour. On the nose, aromas of clove and subtle white pepper are followed by plum, blackberry and cherry. This wine has a full-bodied and rich palate with well-integrated oak and smooth tannins. The name ‘Chakalaka’ is derived from a spicy South African relish which is a similar fusion of different flavours.

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Origin

Spice Route are established in Swartland, north of Cape Town, then rather better known for its wheat than its wine. However, the producers saw advantageous the mixed clay-gravel laterite and deep, red, decomposed granite soils; in the hot, dry summers of the Cape these soils retain moisture well and remain cool. A surprising feature of this hot, arid region is the relatively cool nights, which help to slow the ripening process.

Producer

Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998. “Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater” wrote Tim Atkin. Today, the region is the source of many of South Africa’s outstanding wines, yet Spice Route remains one of the best and most credible producers in the region, due largely to the fact that they own their own vineyards. Spice Route’s 100 hectares of vineyards are situated in Malmesbury and Darling. The former, all bush trained on Malmesbury shale and red clay subsoils (the clay ensures the vineyards are dry grown), give the Grenache and Mourvèdre the intensity of fruit that makes this region so exciting. Winemaker Charl du Plessis has been with Charles for 15 years, and knows the region intimately. The winemaking is ‘hands off’, as Charl is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown.

Grape Variety

36% Mourvèdre , 22% Syrah/Shiraz, 13% Carignano/Carignan, 11% Grenache/Garnacha , 9% Petite Sirah, 9% Tannat

The grapes were hand-harvested, destalked and lightly crushed, they were then fermented in open concrete fermenters (‘kuipe’). Manual punching down took place during fermentation. The wines were then racked off and sent to barrels for malolactic fermentation and further ageing. Each wine component for the blend was matured in seasoned French and American oak for 12 months before blending occurred.

Food Match

Inevitably we suggest something spicy – a gentle chicken curry or even lamb would work; but nothing too fiery!

Alcohol Percentage

14%

In the Press

Silver – International Wine Challenge 2019

Silver – Sommelier Wine Awards 2018

Additional information

Style

Full Bodied & Rich Reds

Vintage

2016

Grape Variety

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Alcohol Percentage

14%

Region

Swartland

Food Pairing

Red Meats, Roast Lamb, Spicy Food

1 review for Spice Route, ‘Chakalaka’ Swartland

  1. Will (verified owner)

    I’m shocked to find I didn’t review this after the first bottle. Here we are on bottle 2 that has been delivered. That’s how lovely it is. So very smooth and VERY drinkable. BUY IT!

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