Wine Spectator 87 points - Toasted savory and anise notes lead the way, backed by soft plum and blackberry paste flavors. A toasty hint holds sway on the finish. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault and Viognier. Drink now. 8,000 cases imported.-JM
(Jun 15 2014)
Vinous 89 points - (70% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Grenache, 6% Cinsault and 1% Viognier; 1,735 barrels produced!; just 12% new oak): Deep red-ruby. Nuanced, expressive nose offers scents of currant, blackberry, brown spices and dried flowers. The palate displays flavors similar to the aromas, with an attractive balance of sweetness and acidity. I would never have guessed that this spicy midweight contained so much Syrah. Finishes with dusty, slightly dry-edged tannns and good but not outstanding length.
Wine Advocate 90 points - The 2012 Chocolate Block Franschhoek has slightly more Syrah and less Grenache than previous vintages. The blend of 70% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Grenache, 6% Cinsault and 1% Viognier is raised in 13% new wood, 87% in used barriques, hogsheads and 2,500-liter foudres. It has a rounded, quite sensual bouquet with pure, almost understated raspberry preserve, crushed strawberry and delicate touches of seaweed and fennel emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied, quite feminine with fine tannins. This is very well-balanced and focused with superb freshness and vivacity toward the elegant finish. This is a very commercially savvy, top-class offering from Mark Kent and his team. (Oct 2014)