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2005 Boekenhoutskloof The Journeyman Franschhoek

2005 Boekenhoutskloof The Journeyman Franschhoek

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I’d never heard of this wine before tasting it a few days ago, and neither have many other people, I’ll warrant.  The South African winery Boekenhoutskloof is hardly a household name in the US (even among wine geeks who can pronounce it), this was the first vintage of this bottling produced, and only five barrels were made.  The wine is not for sale from the winery, per se, but is shipped off to  their best accounts with the directive to put it on their lists  (obviously, most of said accounts are restaurants) and sell it for what they think it’s worth.  I’m told that some establishments in South Africa price it as high as $500 per bottle; restaurateur Gary Danko mistakenly lists it as a Cabernet Sauvignon on his web site and sells it for $175. 

I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with The Journeyman, rather than just try to capture a snapshot from a 2 ounce pour, and here are my impressions.

2005 Boekenhoutskloof The Journeyman Franschhoek, 60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 100% Estate grown, 13.5% alc.: Shows a clean dark garnet color in the glass and throws a big hit of cedar right off the bat on the nose, following through on the palate with creamy blackberry and black currant at the core; a big dose of creamy oak rears its woody head with just a little swirlatude.  Full bodied and drinking well already, yet structured for at least five years in the cellar, which may allow the oak to integrate some.  Clearly a wine for new world palates, and a very good one; the caveat, of course, is that if you’re at all oak-adverse, you are not going to like it.  I’d be most interested in trying it again some years down the line, but given its rarity, that’s not likely to happen.

This was only my second encounter with one of Boekenhoutskloof’s more serious wines, and I did not care at all for my first, the 2006 The Chocolate Block, despite the fact that it received a lot of critical buzz and sold out quickly in this area (perhaps because it received a lot of critical buzz).  Where that one was all tar and char, at least The Journeyman displays the creamier side of the oak spectrum, and in that aspect, is much more palatable, at least for this taster.  

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

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