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Country of Origin & Region


South Africa, Western Cape region

Spice Route

Spice Route Chakalaka 2007

Spice Route Chakalaka 2007 first release - aka 'Baby Malabar'

Tasting Notes

Known as the baby ‘Malabar’, a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan, respectively, this is Spice Route’s initial release of this wine, around 1200 cases were produced, of which only around 500 cases made it into the US market. The idea was to create a wine that was a more wallet friendly version of the wineries flagship wine, Malabar, mirroring it in composition and flavor profile. Also with the thought in mind of trying to compete with Boekenhoutskloff’s, The Chocolate Block in terms of quality and uniqueness, but at a much more attractive price. It is reported that the Grenache used in the Chakalaka is from the same block that goes into The Chocolate Block. This first release of Chakalaka is pretty impressive, possessing a core of soft, supple, palate caressing dark fruits. The texture is quite engaging with its round mouthfeel and riper, sleek tannins giving this a plush feel that is a total turn on.
The nose has an intriguing aromatic profile with an overlay of toast and shades of vanilla with an assortment of dried herbs, spices, game and floral notes melded into darker fruit tones. Not something that is made to put away in your cellar for any extensive period and grow old bones with, this nonetheless has the structure for some delicious short to mid term drinking. Uniquely South African, in the most positive way, an exotic wine in more that just name, this will in due time develop a cult following. There is a great sense of place with its spicy character and generous fruit with some savage characteristics, yet this isn’t handicapped with any of the detractive, negative charcoal, iodine notes that many comment on as a drawback to some South African wines. Yet wines should have personality and a sense of their being and uniqueness, this is one such wine. Soft tannins make up the back bone of this wine but the savory cast to the fruit is the attractive feature with layers of flavor. Supple with sweet dark fruit, even a hint of dark chocolate give this good complexity and a charming flavor profile. Showing beautifully out the gate you can drink now over the next couple of years for maximum pleasure.

Food Accompaniments

Grilled meats

Awards, Reviews and other Notes

5 Stars (*****) Decanter Magazine February 2009
91 pts Wine Spectator Insider 5/6/09
Very pure, with mouthwatering sanguine notes piercing through the deliciously ripe blackberry, blueberry and raspberry fruit. The long, silky finish lets incense and mineral notes play out. Syrah, Greanche, Mourvedre and Carifnan. Drink now through 2010.

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