A preview of the outstanding 2020s from Boekenhoutskloof
I was fortunate to catch up with Marc Kent, the pioneering winemaker behind the iconic Boekenhoutskloof range, in London yesterday to taste his beautiful, new 2020s. I am delighted to report that the ‘Seven Chairs’ have never tasted better!
This year, the RRP for all four wines is £45.50. However, Farr Vintners (www.farrvintners.com), Goedhuis & Co. (www.goedhuis.com) and Cru World Wine (www.uk.cruworldwine.com) are the first three fine wine merchants to offer these wines and they are likely to quote a price of £170 per case of 6 bottles In Bond, which is extremely competitive. I am certain that many more will, no doubt, follow in due course.
2020 Boekenhoutskloof, Semillon £45.50
Using three parcels of fruit from vineyards planted in 1902, 1936 and 1942 and employing concrete eggs and new barrels for discreet seasoning, this is a delicious wine and somewhat of a hedonistic treat. A dribble of early-picked, whole-bunch, amphora-fermented 120-year-old vine Muscat adds dramatic acid to offset the epic fruit notes in this mesmerising Semillon. I expected a more reserved nose and palate, but this vintage is surprisingly forward with generous lemon balm and nougat notes over a high tensile greengage and pineapple pith palate. Superbly classy from the first molecule to the last flavour memory, minutes later, despite its precocious air, the battery pack of acidity embedded in the core of this wine will power it for a decade with ease. 18.5/20
2020 Boekenhoutskloof, Syrah £45.50
With 90% of the fruit coming from Porseleinberg and 10% from Goldmine, both in Swartland, this is a wondrous wine with more detail and finesse than any preceding vintage. Utilising only large foudre, the spice and fruit aromatics are as pure and evocative as I have encountered in a Cape Syrah. While the flavour palette is more deep purple than black-fruited, there is no obvious oak intervention and this allows the fruit to soar. Sanguineous and sappy on the finish, this is a glorious red wine with elemental animal notes interwoven with silky ribbons of beautifully ripe blackcurrant, mulberry and plum flavours. With the same texture and volume of fruit as a Vosne-Romanée, this is a regal creation that distances itself from the meat and muscle often found in sun-loving Syrahs! 19+/20
2020 Boekenhoutskloof, Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch £45.50
Overall a little larger and more imposing than the Franschhoek cuvée, this Helderberg-sourced Cabernet is a glossy, succulent, more expressive wine than its stablemate, and it is also more forward and approachable. Built with unerring precision, the amazing brightness of fruit and 60% new oak embellishment have resulted in a Super-Tuscan-shaped wine with obvious allure and a more approachable temperament. Having said this, it has more than enough stuffing to last a decade with ease and in terms of value for money this is a small price to pay for a wine of this integrity. 18.5/20
2020 Boekenhoutskloof, Cabernet Sauvignon Franschhoek £45.50
The nose on this outstanding wine reminds me of an elite Cabernet from another part of the world – Frankland River in Western Australia. There is more than a hint of ‘Houghton Jack Mann’ on the perfume and palate of this wine’s sensational 25th-anniversary release. Underpinning the profoundly deep black fruit notes is a sense of earthiness and energy that allows the blackberry and blackcurrant flavours to soar. With 70% new French oak on board, which has been folded away perfectly into the heart of this mighty wine, there is an extra dimension of flavour here thanks to the addition of a soupcon of Cabernet Franc. Only a handful of South African wines manage to capture this noble grape’s true essence while maintaining a compelling sense of stylishness. 2020 CSF does this in spades and it will continue to do so for two decades. 19+/20
Scores – I have attached my scores out of 20 for these wines. If a score has no ‘+’, this indicates a wine which is in balance and can be drunk relatively young thanks to its precocity and charm. One ‘+’ indicates a wine that will benefit from medium-term ageing (in accordance with the style of the wine), while two ‘++’ suggests a wine that should manage to make the long haul, softening and evolving as it goes.