Sunday, February 12, 2006

I Sing The Body Eclectic

I Sing the Body eclectic;
The armies of grapes I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
They will not get me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And disgorge them, and charge them full with the charge of the Soul.

OK. Walt Whitman fans are probably ready to put a contract out on me. But I truly got a charge out of a South African wine I just tried for the first time, The Chocolate Block '04. It's made from an eclectic mix of syrah, 45 percent; grenache noir, 25 percent; cabernet sauvignon, 17 percent; cinsault, 11 percent; and viognier, 2 percent. Obviously, this is not a wine that is going to show off dazzling varietal characteristics, but it is a fully extracted, fruit-forward wine with very decent complexity and a great finish.

The Chocolate Block is made by Boekenhoutskloof, a name that's a mouthful, but so is the wine. I can't say I'm a big fan of South African wines, though, truth be told, I've not had a great number. But Chocolate Block, with its full-bodied, ripe personality, has opened my eyes. If you like rich, new world types of wines that show very well when young, then this $30 limited production wine is for you.

When I first opened it, I gots lots of jammy black fruit, cassis, earth and spicy oak. 20 minutes later I picked up smoky notes, tobacco leaf, cocoa and mushrooms. It complemented our lamb chops fantastically well.

I picked up a couple of bottles at a local wine shop, but I'm going back for more. What could be better for Valentine's Day than a chocolate tasting, both solid and vinous.


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