Spice Route

Swartland, swartland South Africa

Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998 after tasting an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc and immediately buying the land it was grown on. "Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater" wrote Tim Atkin, who awarded the winery 'Cru Bourgeois' status in his South Africa Classification in 2018. 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 since 2002 and knows the region intimately. The winemaking is 'hands off', as Charles is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown. In fact, despite the desert-like conditions of the region, the vines are not even irrigated. The signature wine is the Chakalaka, a blend of six different grape varieties. The name is derived from a spicy South African relish which is similarly a fusion of different flavours. A blend of Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Petite Sirah and Tannat, it has good intensity, a Rhône-ish depth and supple tannins.

Their Amos Block Sauvignon Blanc is the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in South Africa planted in 1965, the original vines that inspired the Spice Route Project. The wine is only released when there is enough fruit produced from these old vines - there was no 2018 made due to drought. As single varietals, the Grenache is juicy and savoury with smooth tannins, while the Mourvèdre is darker in flavour with greater density and chunkier tannins. The superbly complex Chenin Blanc comes from a vineyard that was planted in 1978 and was fermented in barrel. The 'Terra de Bron' Carignan comes from a single, dry-farmed vineyard which enjoys a cool maritime breeze which lengthens the growing season, resulting in more refined aromatics in the wine. It was matured for 19 months in French barrels. The 'Malabar' is one of Spice Route's flagship wines and is only made in the best vintages. It is a blend of hand-sorted Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Petit Verdot grapes. The wine is aged for a total of 22 months in barrel and matured in bottle for an additional two years. It is a truly elegant wine with the potential to age another decade.

 

  • "2Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum."

 

Wines

Cookies

We use cookies to help us improve your experience on our website and to store your preferences. You can disable or delete cookies via your browser settings.
For more information on how we use cookies, please refer to our privacy policy.