Spice Route Chakalaka: Wine Company unveils its 2019 vintage

2019 Spice Route Chakalaka

By Renate Engelbrecht

Wednesday, Jun 07

The renowned Spice Route Wine Company recently unveiled its 2019 Spice Route Chakalaka and I love it. The signature Rhône-style red blend embodies the pioneering spirit and exceptional success of the winery and symbolises the renaissance of the Swartland wine region. In fact, it captures the unique terroir perfectly with a harmonious blend of six classic Rhône varieties.

Inspired by the vibrant cultural diversity of South Africa, Chakalaka pays homage to the art of blending. The name itself derives from the Zulu language, evoking a sense of “togetherness”. It also mirrors the popular and proudly South African Chakalaka relish – an amalgamation of diverse flavours. Just like the beloved Chakalaka relish, which represents a Rainbow Cuisine from multicultural influences, Chakalaka wine is a kaleidoscope of aromatic richness, robustness, and velvety texture. It enchants the senses with layers of ripe, juicy dark berry fruit and savory spice.


How did it start?

The story of Spice Route and Chakalaka begins with Charles Back, founder of Fairview Wines. He ventured into the Swartland wine region in the late 1990s, looking for new and captivating vineyards. Despite the region’s reputation for wheat and heat, he discovered an exceptional dryland Sauvignon Blanc bush vine vineyard which produced astonishing wines. Driven by his excitement and disbelief, he acquired the farm, evidently giving birth to Spice Route Wine Company and ushering in a new era for the Swartland.

Despite initial skepticism, Charles Back’s vision and adventurous spirit propelled Spice Route to explore the region’s extreme climate, viticultural heritage, and geological composition. Through meticulous soil testing and planting of Rhône/Mediterranean varietals well-suited to the terroir, the winery embraced the challenge of the harsh conditions. They converted an old tobacco drying shed into a fermentation and maturation cellar and soon, Spice Route adopted a winemaking style that handled Swartland fruit with the utmost care.

Since its inaugural vintage in 1998, Spice Route has gained cult status and international acclaim. They’ve initiated an extraordinary revival of the Swartland and now champion the non-interventionist movement known as the Swartland Revolution. It’s no surprise then that renowned wine critic Tim Atkin recognized Charles Back as a Winemaking Legend. As a matter of fact, he awarded the winery ‘Cru Bourgeois’ status, solidifying its reputation as a pioneer in the region.

Spice Route Chakalaka red blend

About the 2019 Spice Route Chakalaka

Chakalaka stands as a testament to Spice Route’s unrivaled success and excellence within the Swartland. Crafted from a unique blend of six Rhône varietals, carefully selected to thrive in the region’s harsh growing conditions, the wine expresses the unmistakable terroir of the Swartland. The 2019 vintage showcases the harmonious combination of Carignan, Shiraz, Mataro (Mourvèdre), Durif (Petite Sirah), Grenache Noir, and Tannat in varying proportions. This resulted in a wine that captivates the senses with its deep ruby color and a bouquet of ripe black currants, cherries, and plums. Notes of white pepper, spiced meats, smoky cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla also add complexity to its bold fruit character. With a full-bodied, silky palate, skillfully integrated oak and smooth structured tannins, Chakalaka culminates in a lingering spice finish.

It’s not the first vintage

The remarkable wine has garnered numerous accolades over the years, including five-star ratings, gold medals and a Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards. It also received top honours at the National Wine Challenge. Esteemed wine critics Tim Atkin and Platter’s SA Wine Guide have consistently praised Chakalaka, further solidifying its position as an exceptional wine.

How to enjoy the 2019 Spice Route Chakalaka best

Chakalaka pairs magnificently with South African cuisine, especially dishes infused with intense flavours. From curry and bobotie to braaied spicy meat, the wine enhances the experience with delectable flavours and local flair.

For an extraordinary culinary adventure, indulge in Neil Jewell’s famous charcuterie, available at Jewell’s Restaurant and Deli located at the Spice Route Destination in Paarl. Neil’s meticulously prepared artisanal cured meats, including the new Chakalaka sausage, perfectly complemented by his wife Tina’s Daily Bread Board, harmonise beautifully with a glass of Spice Route’s Chakalaka.

Visit the Spice Route Destination in Paarl, select wine merchants or restaurants nationwide to get your bottle of Spice Route Chakalaka. Alternatively, buy it online.


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