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Peter’s wine

Boekenhoutskloof “The Wolftrap” 2007 Syrah Mouvèrdre Viognier (Franschhoek) – This is a wine that often teeters on the edge of respectability for me, but in this vintage it’s on the right side of it. Barely. Incredibly dense, dark, very nearly syrupy fruit, but there’s just enough (dim) light and lift to keep it from being leaden. The floral element is very strong, and while it’s tempting to credit the viognier in the blend, I just don’t see that there’s enough to provide all of it. Maybe the mourvèdre helps. Who knows? For those who like unreconstructed big-ass hootie wines, this is a good low(ish)-cost candidate. (7/12)

Hout 2

Boekenhoutskloof 2006 Semillon (Franschhoek) – I’d guess that this has rounded into full form, but who really knows? Semillon can surprise. In any case it’s my last bottle, so I probably won’t get to find out. Wax, amber, leaf, and sun, with a bit of sage-like bite and a decent bit of acidity that’s not really apparent until the finish, and even then only after a few hours of air. Pretty impressive. (1/12)

Schhoek to the system

Boekenhoutskloof 2006 Semillon (Franschhoek) – Still clinging to the sweat and leaf stage of the grape, but there’s also a creamy, almost lactic element in development. The result is something more weirdly acrid and aggressive – though this has never been a shy wine – than at any previous stage, and since I don’t really have hope that this will age like, say, Hunter Valley or Bordeaux semillon, I’d probably drink any remaining bottles soonish. (8/11)

Bou…what he said

Boekenhoutskloof 2009 Semillon (Franschhoek) – The nervy, Van der Graaf generator electricity of this wine…green, lurid, and always snappish – is layered with a coating of something sticky and even buttery. Wood? An awkward malolactic fermentation? Bad bottle? Whatever the source, I hate it. Not the wine, overall, but this unwelcome new development. (8/11)

Cloven kloof

Boekenhoutskloof 2006 Semillon (Franschhoek) – As with so many other Boekenhoutskloof wines, the liquid is a micro-proportion of a ridiculously heavy bottle. I suppose they need this much glass to carry the weight of all those letters. One of the better…perhaps even one of the best…whites in South Africa, definitely so if we exclude chenin blancs…and so, in the steenless category, only the Sadie Palladius is obviously better. Anyway: absolutely varietally correct aromas of sweat, fetid grass, diffident unfruit, and something that might be pepper dust were it comprised of antimatter. Yes, this constitutes praise…look, you either get young sémillon or you don’t. This isn’t, it must be said, as unpleasant as the best Hunter Valley semillons. It can be consumed with pleasure right now, thanks to the mitigating structure of crisp grapefruit rind and lemongrass with a dull razor scrape, plus a very lengthy finish. But if the bottle doesn’t collapse inward due to its internal gravity, I suspect there’s ageability here. Or maybe not based on the usual transience of South African clonal material. But I’m hopeful. I am not a detractor of South African wine even though I think there’s a lot of dreck, because I don’t blame the wine industry for a lot of the reasons the wines they make aren’t what they could be, but here’s one that really deserves some attention. (10/10)


Stony Brook 2004 “The Max” (Franschhoek) – Peppers, leaves, and chocolate…a strange combination…with far too much peppery, bitter tannin. (2/08)