Spice Route Chakalaka 2018

First bottled in 2007, so I’m sure you’ve all seen this wine.

But I honestly only just learned that Chalalaka is a Zulu word implying 'togetherness'! 11 official languages...that’s all I’m going to say!

The Wine:

Deep inky appearance that’s quite fascinating when you try to decide on the colour - there’s a purplish hue, touches of garnet along the rim, but eventually we settle on mostly ruby. All indicators of the 6 varieties that make up this blend.

A fairly pronounced nose of pepper, blackberries, raspberries, spiced meats glazed in berry and soy sauce and remnants of the smoky fire it was cooked on. Star anise, cardamom pods, salt, and a brushing of rosemary round off the savoury spicings.

Full bodied with good acidity, and smooth medium tannins that will make your mouth instantly start watering. The palate echoes the nose, but there are also traces of raisins, prunes, and black plums that give you a medium-ish finish. There’s a herbal bitterness that dies down on the second day.

The balance of fruit and acidity, bold flavours and body, along with the beginnings of some tertiary notes make for a very satisfying wine. Just what was needed these past few chilly days. It’s pretty darned smooth and integrated right now. But day 2 says that this could hang out for a while longer on your wine shelf.

Vini + Viti:

26% Shiraz | 24% Mourvèdre | 15% Grenache Noir | 15% Carignan | 13% Durif | 7% Tannat

These vines are mostly planted as unirrigated bush vines in deep and iron rich Koffieklip and Oakleaf soils, yielding between 2.5 and 4.5 tons per hectare.

Hand harvested, destalked, lightly crushed and then fermented in open concrete fermenters with manual punch downs. The wines were racked, malolactic conversion, and further ageing in French and American oak for 12 months before blending. After blending, the final wine is further matured in the same old oak barrels.


Balance (1) + Length (½) + Intensity (1) + Complexity (1)  = A good wine 

Drink now, but also suitable for further ageing.

Final thoughts: 

Spice Route know how to tell their story better than I ever could, so scroll through for some pretty cool facts. 

"One of the original Swartland pioneers, Spice Route was founded in 1997 thanks to a
tank of Sauvignon Blanc that Charles Back stumbled upon in a Swartland co-operative.
Charles was blown away by the fact that an area not known for Sauvignon Blanc could
produce such an exquisite expression of the cultivar and was astonished at the quality and
style. He fell in love with the wine and asked to be taken to the vineyard which
coincidentally turned out to be the Mother Block of South African Sauvignon Blanc
planted in 1965. So intrigued was he by the beauty and tremendous potential of the
Swartland that a couple of hours later a gentlemen’s agreement had been made for the
purchase of the farm. Klein Amoskuil became the new home for Spice Route Winery!
The first vintage of Spice Route wines was released in 1998, with the first vintage of
Chakalaka following later in 2007. Since the first bottling fourteen years ago, the
Chakalaka blend has become synonymous with Spice Route, both locally and
internationally. "

Many, many thanks to Spice Route for sending along this wine to help warm me up from the inside! Also...I’m not much of a cook, but their Chakalaka spice is delish and I haven't stopped using it!

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