The Wolftrap

The Wolftrap, from Boekenhoutskloof (that’s the vineyard in South Africa), is a red blend consisting of 68% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier. Picked it up on a whim. Just perused the wine aisle at Whole Foods and found an intriguing wine for under $10, of which there are many.

I am not very familiar with South African wine … on New Year’s we drank a South African sparkler … outside of that, I don’t know that I’ve encountered another South African wine. So, I conducted a bit of research …

South African winemaking dates back to 1659 and has experienced a rather varied worldwide interest since. South Africa’s current production puts it in the top ten wine producing countries in the world, though this wasn’t always the case. Before the end of apartheid throughout much of the 20th century, South African wine received little attention worldwide.

“Its isolation was further deepened by boycotts of South African products in protest of the country’s system of Apartheid. It wasn’t till the late 1980s and 1990s when Apartheid was ended and the world’s export market opened up that South African wines began to experience a renaissance”

Once the export market opened up, the renaissance experienced in the South African winemaking was helped along by the Vine Improvement Programme. This program(me) was brought into existence in order to bring up the standards of South African wine by bringing a better understanding of the viticultural arts, if you will, to the winemakers. This has spurred the winemakers to strive toward a more “international style” of wine, that would find fans on a global scale. In some cases, winemakers from France, Spain, and California were flown in, bringing with them new techniques and styles to the already unique style of South African wine. Today, as I mentioned earlier, South Africa is in the top ten of wine producing nations in the world. It should be an exciting world of wine to delve into …

The Wolftrap

Traditionally, many South African wines have been characterized by very rustic flavors, and The Wolftrap certainly hits on the rustic side. It is a very substantial wine; full and heavy, with a touch of gameyness (Some describe it as meaty. I don’t like the sound of meaty) to it, which I didn’t find unappealing at all. Loads of spice and smoke throughout. There is a subtle floral quality I picked up on that was soon washed away by heavy berry influence (blackberry, strawberry). With all of these heavy flavors (the smoke, spice, gameyness), the subtleties remain intact, interestingly enough, which added to the surprising balance achieved in this red blend. If you like big, red blends full of spice, smoke, dark berries, this wine is for you … just be prepared for the gamey aspect, it could be a turnoff to some. For around $10 you could definitely do a lot worse.