Exploring Boschendal: A Pillar of South African Winemaking Excellence

By | 1 June 2024

Website: https://boschendal.com/

Boschendal holds a significant position in South Africa’s wine industry, serving as a bridge between large-scale brands and smaller niche markets. These are high-quality wines crafted for both big retail environments and specialized wine merchants. Recently, Boschendal’s premier wines have seen impressive performance in competitive tastings. I had the opportunity to meet with Danielle Coetsee, the Cap Classique winemaker at Boschendal, who generously spent her Saturday morning to walk me through the winery’s current offerings on site.

Danielle told me about the winery’s shift towards premiumization starting twelve years ago, with a new emphasis on being more selective about the vineyard sites. They are now focusing on regions like Helderberg in Stellenbosch, Elgin, and Fryer’s Cove along the west coast.

“A major focus for us is sustainable farming,” Danielle explained. The winery manages approximately 140 hectares in Helderberg under long-term contracts, particularly targeting the southern and southwestern parts. They currently run three farms. “We are setting up vineyards for longevity,” she noted. “What we plant today is what we’ll be harvesting in the next 20-30 years.” The vineyards primarily grow Cabernet Sauvignon, but also include Cabernet Franc and Shiraz.

Boschendal has a significant footprint in Elgin, home to their Whispering Winds vineyard, formerly known as Highfield.

Their focus on Cap Classique sparkling wines is notable. According to Danielle, the dosage and time spent on lees are crucial elements in crafting their exquisite bubbles.

Boschendal Brut Rosé NV Western Cape
Featuring 12% alcohol content, this blend of 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay was disgorged in June 2023 (8 g/l dosage) from a base year of 2022. Due to heat waves, the color is exceptionally pale. Aged on lees for a minimum of 12 months, though the Non-Vintage variety gets 15-18 months to develop the mousse’s character. This wine appears textural and bright with sweet pear and white peach notes complemented by nice acidity. The palate enjoys a harmonious balance of sweetness and acidity, highlighted by fine spices and a delightful texture. Rated 92/100.

Boschendal Grande Cuvée Brut 2016 Elgin
This sparkling wine contains 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay, and was disgorged in June 2022 as an Extra Brut. It boasts vibrant aromatics characterized by lime, grapefruit, and cherry notes. The palate reveals a precise blend of vibrant, linear, spicy citrus accompanied by a slight toastiness in the background. The wine is crystalline with fine detail, culminating in a slightly salty finish. Truly refined, with a rating of 93/100.

Boschendal Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2023 Coastal Region
12% alcohol. Pale pink in color, possessing a fresh and supple texture with a chalky nuance enhancing the citrus and pear flavors, complemented by a subtle cherry hint. It’s supple, engaging, with keen brightness and clarity. 91/100

Boschendal 1685 Sauvignon Blanc 2023 Cape Coast
13.5% alcohol. A blend from Durbanville and Elgin regions, with a portion resting in foudre on fine lees. It exudes lovely aromatic notes of elderflower and lime, intertwined with subtle tomato leaf tones. The fruit-driven palate is vibrant and vivid with robust acidity and delightful fruit presence. It’s linear, pure, and bright, with a slight chalky note. 90/100

Boschendal Appellation Series Elgin Chardonnay 2021
13.5% alcohol. Aged 70% in new oak, this wine stands out distinctively. It delivers a rich tapestry of pear and peach flavors, accented with fig and toast, while maintaining a refreshing citrus brightness. The pronounced presence of oak harmonizes effectively with the ripe fruits, balanced by a crisp, stony finish that counteracts the toasty richness. 93/100

Boschendal 1685 Shiraz 2020 Cape Coast
14% alcohol. Crafted in 500-liter French oak barrels with 14% new oak. This wine presents a fresh and supple texture with sweet berry flavors, pleasant cherries, and a touch of richness. The palate is fruity and supple, showcasing a nice balance and expression of fruit. 89/100

Boschendal Appellation Series Elgin Pinot Noir 2021
13.5% alcohol. Matured in 225 and 300 litre barrels, mostly from Louis Latour, which begin with a smoky essence but evolve to add complexity. This wine is elegant and harmonious, featuring a delightful interplay of floral black cherry and red berry fruits with traces of spice and herbal undertones. It possesses both finesse and depth, achieving a nearly perfect equilibrium. 94/100

Boschendal Nicolas 2021 Cape Coast
14% alcohol. Predominantly from Helderberg with inclusion of Foure and other varieties. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot along with some additional Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This vintage showcases ripe blackcurrant flavors with vibrant freshness, subtle hints of cured meat, and refined spiciness. Offers excellent harmony with a solid core of sweet fruit. 93/100

Boschendal Black Angus 2020 Stellenbosch
14% alcohol. Composed of Shiraz (58%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), and a mix of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Cultivated on the upper slopes of Helderberg. Features ripe, sweet fruits like blackberry and black cherry, enhanced with freshness and complexity. There’s a smoothness to the fruit expression and a hint of sour cherry in the finish, complemented by chalky tannins. 93/100

Boschendal Grande Syrah 2020 Stellenbosch
14% alcohol. Aged 16-18 months in barrel, followed by another 16 months in foudre prior to bottling. Showcases a bold and rich profile with notes of tar and spice, alongside sour cherries, blackberries, and blackcurrants. This wine is both juicy and sophisticated, with additional layers of leather, herbs, and gravel adding complexity beneath the fruit flavors. 92/100

Boschendal Vin D’Or Noble Late Harvest 2022 Cape Coast
11% alcohol. This remarkable wine combines Viognier and Riesling from Elgin, with an additional Riesling contribution from Stellenbosch. It presents a rich, spicy bouquet of citrus, peach, and apricot notes, supported by good acidity and a subtle chalky texture. The focus and intensity of the citrus flavors are striking, leading to a radiant and well-balanced finish. 95/100

Previous tasting notes from November 2019:

1685 Sauvignon Blanc 2019
A blend of grapes from Elgin, Durbanville, and Boschendal estate, amounting to a production of 180-200,000 liters. It exudes a grassy aroma complemented by nettly green nuances and rich tropical hints of passionfruit, with a touch of tomato leaf. The wine beautifully balances these elements, resulting in a fine, tense character. 90/100

1685 Chardonnay 2019
Sourced mainly from Elgin and Stellenbosch, this wine is part of a 380,000 liter blend. It begins fermentation in tanks before transitioning to barrels, utilizing 500-liter barrels, some large foudres, and experimenting with amphora. This Chardonnay showcases a textured, multi-layered profile with vibrant citrus flavors, particularly lemon and grapefruit, alongside hints of peach and a nutty undertone. It is marked by pristine purity and compelling acidity, making it thoroughly engaging and pure. 91/100

Bought a farm named Highfield located in Elgin. It’s nearly 10 C cooler than Stellenbosch during summer.

Appellation Series Elgin Chardonnay 2016
Utilizes 22% new oak in 500-litre barrels and commences with a natural fermentation before transitioning to barrel aging. Includes both foudre and amphora, varying from 3500-7000 litres according to the year. The juice naturally and clearly settles after whole-bunch pressing. The wine is refined, crystalline, and full-flavored, maintaining excellent balance with hints of spice, toast, nuts, and honey. It’s highly mineral and expressive, currently drinking exceptionally well. 94/100

Appellation Series Elgin Pinot Noir 2017
Aged in 500-litre barrels, features a cold soak and avoids overworking the cap. Employs an effective flooding system during pump-overs to gently manage the cap. Results in a wine that is pure and fresh, adorned with lovely notes of red cherries and berries. Boasts a chalky texture, solid structure, and a silkiness in the fruit, delivering finesse and a mineral touch. Offers beautiful fruit and additional appealing elements. 95/100

1685 Shiraz 2017
Sourced primarily from Helderberg, including some from Faure. Previously used 300-litre barrels, now transitioning to 500-litre barrels with 20% new oak. Features a compact, sweet fruit profile with a pleasant graininess. Exhibits lovely purity, spicy structure with subtle peppery nuances, and a juicy finish that displays brightness and some grip. Notably impressive for its price point. 78/100

1685 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Stellenbosch stands out as a prime area for Cabernet. It presents a sweet, perfumed blackcurrant aroma. The taste is supple and fresh, offering a rich yet well-structured flavor profile, adorned with notes of graphite and sweet blackcurrant. It boasts a solid structure and a gripping finish while maintaining a fresh and well-balanced nature. 91/100

Boschendal Nicolas 2016
This inaugural vintage is named after Nicolas De La Noy. It’s primarily a Bordeaux blend supplemented with 58% Syrah, though recent blends have reduced Syrah to roughly 30%. Matured 30% in new oak and comprises a large 20,000-litre blend. Exhibiting ripe and sleek characteristics, it’s also noted for its elegance. A hint of chocolate accompanies the sweet cherry and berry flavors, presenting as juicy and vibrant with undertones of blackcurrant. It’s extremely well-balanced and polished. 92/100

Boschendal Black Angus 2016 Stellenbosch
As a companion to the Grand Syrah, this wine includes 59% Shiraz and a selection of Bordeaux blends. From vineyard picking to barrel selection, this blend ranges from 7500-13,000 litres. It features a ripe, polished, and sleek profile, yet remains fresh and expressive, highlighting sweet cherry and berry fruits. Blackcurrant notes enhance its stylish appeal along with well-integrated oak, resulting in a wine that’s not only stylish and expressive but also marked by purity and freshness alongside ripe fruit elements. So stylish. 94/100

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *