Notes: I talked about this wine once before, briefly, but had the chance to have a bottle with dinner when we were just back in DC for a while. This wine is one of Mark Kent's babies, and as far as I am concerned he is The Man for South African wine. Boekenhoutskloof is his main label, but he also makes wine under second label Porcupine Ridge (even though I understand that Porcupine Ridge actually makes up the bulk of production).
I have to admit, I originally thought Mark Kent was The Man because I thought this wine involved the strange and disturbing Pinotage, and I thought anyone who could make Pinotage taste this good was a genius. Alas, the wine contains no Pinotage: just 44% Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Grenache Noir, 12% Cinsault, and 6% Viognier, so consider it Rhone-ish with some Cabernet tossed in there. But I still give Kent points for making a clean wine that doesn't have that intense super-gamey-liquid-smoke-and-dirt core that a lot of South African reds have. Well, a lot of South African reds I have encountered, at least. Only 81 cases were made, so I guess I should get on it if I want to find some more.
We had this with dinner (a simple pasta dish and garlic bread) and it was generally a crowd-pleaser-- not too strange in any way, and very user-friendly. It greets you with a cherry-raspberry-barky nose that has a floral overlay thanks to the Viognier. The Syrah adds some iodine and earth in the nose for interest. In the mouth, Cabernet is at the forefront, with a blackberry-currant flavor and instant tannin/dryness. Then a sharper leatheriness takes over and the whole thing wraps up a meaty finish with some peppery spice. Finally, it leaves you with (true to its name, or perhaps I was influenced by the name) with the lingering flavor of mocha. The wine isn't exactly high-acid but has a nice gum-tingling tannic astringency in the finish that makes up for it. It is also interesting since you can almost pick out the components and tell which grape is responsible for each one, yet all the components are blended into one harmonious wine. This is very much in the spirit of Southern Rhone.