What’s the time, Mr Wolf?
Time for a new wolf, perhaps …
The Wolftrap, Western Cape 2016, made by Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek.
Although the estate was established in 1776 (what’s all this ‘New World’ nonsense…?), it was properly restored and its vineyards planted in 1993, with vines now consisting of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, grenache, semillon and viognier.
BHK (it’s quicker than typing Boekenhoutskloof every time!) has a leading winemaker at its helm. Marc Kent, a maverick spirit, has long been a pioneering figure in the South African wine industry; he was the first to put the syrah grape on the map with his now legendary 1997 vintage of BHK Syrah. Under his quiet but determined leadership, BHK has since become one of the leading names in South Africa, regularly winning awards for its wines. It has excelled in making not only fine wine but also overseeing the success of several well-respected brands, including Porcupine Ridge and this, The Wolftrap.
Having recently invested in new land in the Swartland (Porseleinberg), BHK is showing its increased commitment to this area of the Cape which has produced much of the fruit for its range of wines, few of which are in fact made from Franschhoek fruit. The future looks set fair too, with the move of winemaker (and great friend of The Society) Gottfried Mocke from Cape Chamonix to BHKto join his old friend Marc Kent in 2015.
Traditionally the choice of cultivars remains the same, but an increase in the Syrah component for the 2016 blend, resulted in more enhanced spicy flavours than before. 2016 was a challenging vintage, with dry conditions causing small yields and unusual grape analysis. Regardless of these obstacles, we continued to meticulously ferment and blend the components to produce a wine which still over-delivers in all respects. Alcoholic fermentation was done in stainless steel with partial French oak maturation for nine months.
So what do we think? Give it a sniff & a swirl (though not necessarily in that order …)
… if you don’t recognise it, this is liquorice ROOT. There’s a definite dark, stalky, sweet and yet savoury character to this wine that underlies the obviously ripe berry fruit, that really reminds me of chewing on these twigs as a child
Update: quite something for the price. Lots of ripe fruit there, with a very slight bubble-gummy element on the nose (reminding me of some Carbonic maceration? maybe they do some whole bunch fermentation??) but finishing with shovel-loads of forest fruit as well as that woody note for complexity.
I do like this, though needs some substantial food to stand up to it. Maybe some red meat of some sort?!
Marc’s tasting notes are as follows:
The nose entices with its abundance of ripe plums, blueberries, slight spiciness and notes of violets. Dark berry fruit follows through onto a juicy, vibrant mid-palate with svelte tannins and a silky texture. The wine shows exceptional balance with fresh, integrated acidity. Plummy fruit and spice lingers on the finish.
Boekenhoutskloof means “ravine of the Boekenhout” (pronounced Book-n-Howed). Boekenhout is an indigenous Cape Beech tree which is apparently greatly prized in furniture making. This wine certainly has structure and depth, and packs a punch for its price.
It’s a regular in our wine rack, and has been for several years now. Côtes du Rhône on steroids, perhaps?