‘97 a discovery wine, superbly individual, rather French, and never to be repeated. The source of the grapes, an old vineyard, near Somerset West, has since been grubbed up to make way for an industrial park. So this glimpse of glory is fleeting, and all the more tantalising. Smelling and tasting blind, many would place it somewhere round the upper quality reaches of the Rhone. Remington Norman, MW, a world authority on Syrah – said: “I thought I was tasting a Jaboulet wine.” An elusive mix of French aromas – ground pepper spiciness, sweet-fragrant violets but also, very unusually, brandishes sprigs of dry wild heather. Fine tannins, sweet-berry ripeness, an unobtrusive brush of oak, complete a stylish ensemble (chic packaging, too: front label-art features hand-made antiques from the sequestered manor house, ca. 1870, with breathtaking mountain views). Preteux Bourgeois trophy. A fellow winemaker said: “I’d be terrified if I’d made this wine. How do you repeat this quality under the same label?” Only sold off farm.’ – Platter’s SA Wine Guide 2000, 5*
‘Even though it is no longer available for sale, I was allowed to taste Boekenhoutskloof's 1997 Syrah. I am including the tasting note as it demonstrates the heights this noble varietal can attain in South Africa.
This wine, produced from 100-year old bush vines that have since been torn up to build an industrial park, boasts a nose that screams Chave Hermitage. Blackberries, cassis, creamy currants, lilies, and a hint of shoe polish make up its superb aromatics. On the palate this wine appears to be a cross between Cote Rotie's focus and delineation along with Hermitage's power and depth. Its black raspberry, leather, and violet-flavored personality is medium-bodied, supremely elegant, and highly expressive.
Readers who have not yet discovered the wines of Boekenhoutskloof (Boekenhout is the Afrikaans word for beech tree) should certainly do so as this winery has consistently wowed me with their offerings. As I reported in Issue #134, winemaker Mark Kent has the magic touch, he admirably marries the qualities of the Old World with those of the New. The only problem is that quantities are tight (doesn't that always seem to be the case with the good ones?).’ – Pierre Rovani, Wine Advocate (April 2002), 93/100