Robertson Number One Constitution Road ShirazBoekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block has become a wine with a massive following, both in it’s native South Africa and over here in the UK. “Why?” – you may ask. Well, it’s a lovely wine in it’s own right, but then there are a host of great red wines coming out of South Africa these days. Presentation? – it is excellent with the elegant broad shouldered bottle and a large white label maximising visual impact. But then there are plenty of other wines with equally good presentation too.

The name perhaps? Yes, I think this is a major factor. But the Chocolate Block’s success isn’t down to just a name, it’s a combination of all the above factors, all rolled into one wine.

Well the good news is the 2010 is about to be released in the UK at the end of September. Unfortunately the Chocolate Block has become so successful that Mark Kent simply can’t produce enough of it, which has pushed prices up as demand massively outstrips supply. Fortunately Mark produces it in a style which can be consumed young, although it will age well for a few years if you can resist drinking it. Expect to pay from around £19 to £25 (although those charging £25 are being greedy!).

If you can’t get hold of any though, South Africa produces plenty of other stunning reds, many equally good, many significantly better. The Ernie Els wines are all fantastic. I’d also recommend a little known tiny production wine in a very similar style to the Chocolate Block – Tamboerskloof Syrah, only 5000 bottles produced annually. Or one of the best value premium red wines to come out of South Africa – Robertson Number 1 Constitution Road Shiraz  – it is a stunner! Again extremely limited supply so get some before everybody finds out about it!