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Spice Route Grenache

Swartland, Coastal Region

Spice Route

Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998...

“Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater” wrote Tim Atkin. Today, the region is the source of many of South Africa’s outstanding wines, yet Spice Route remains one of the best and most credible producers in the region, due largely to the fact that they own their own vineyards. Spice Route’s 100 hectares of vineyards are situated in Malmesbury and Darling. The former, all bush trained on Malmesbury shale and red clay subsoils (the clay ensures the vineyards are dry grown), give the Grenache and Mourvèdre the intensity of fruit that makes this region so exciting. Winemaker Charl du Plessis has been with Charles for 15 years, and knows the region intricately. The winemaking is ‘hands off’, as Charl is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown.

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Planted in 2006, these younger un-irrigated bushvines from Amoskuil farm have started to show promising results, with the potential to produce complex wines. Even the antelope that roam wild on the farm have particular preference for this vineyard, often nibbling on the low-hanging bushvine fruit.

Vintage information

2014 was a fine vintage in the Swartland, with the weather conditions particularly favouring Grenache, dubbed by winemaker Charl du Plessis as, 'The King of Grapes' in this particular region. The wines are extremely elegant with potential to age. Harvest took place on 6th March 2014.


The grapes were handpicked, benefitting from abundant water thanks to the late 2013 rains. Fermented in open concrete fermenters with manual punching down of the skins. The wine was gently pressed off the skins and transferred to old French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, guaranteeing the integrity of its delicate fruit. The wine was matured for 14 months further in these barrels.

Tasting Notes

Vibrant light red colour. Red berry fruit and subtle pepper harmonise with cardamom and iron-like spice. This elegantly built wine benefits from a lightness which does not hinder its complexity. Fine tannins and good acidity will help this wine evolve well over the next few years in bottle. As a single varietal, the Grenache is juicy and savoury with lovely tannins.

Vintage information

Vintage 2014
Grape varieties 100% Grenache/Garnacha
Region Swartland, Coastal Region
Alcohol (ABV) 14%
Acidity 5.2g/l
Residual Sugar 2.9g/l
Wine pH 3.59