Spice Route, ‘Chakalaka’ Swartland

South Africa, Swartland

Spice Route, ‘Chakalaka’ is named after the signature spice blend of South Africa. This huge wine is made from classic Rhône varieties, the blend changes every year to incorporate the best grapes from the Swartland vintage. This wine is deep ruby red in colour. On the nose, aromas of clove and subtle white pepper are followed by plum, blackberry and cherry. This wine has a full-bodied and rich palate with well-integrated oak and smooth tannins. The name ‘Chakalaka’ is derived from a spicy South African relish which is a similar fusion of different flavours.

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Spice Route are established in Swartland, north of Cape Town, then rather better known for its wheat than its wine. However, the producers saw advantageous the mixed clay-gravel laterite and deep, red, decomposed granite soils; in the hot, dry summers of the Cape these soils retain moisture well and remain cool. A surprising feature of this hot, arid region is the relatively cool nights, which help to slow the ripening process.

Grape Variety

36% Mourvèdre , 22% Syrah/Shiraz, 13% Carignano/Carignan, 11% Grenache/Garnacha , 9% Petite Sirah, 9% Tannat

The grapes were hand-harvested, destalked and lightly crushed, they were then fermented in open concrete fermenters (‘kuipe’). Manual punching down took place during fermentation. The wines were then racked off and sent to barrels for malolactic fermentation and further ageing. Each wine component for the blend was matured in seasoned French and American oak for 12 months before blending occurred.

Alcohol Percentage


Cellar Potential

Drink now and over the next 12 months.


Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998. “Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater” wrote Tim Atkin. 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 for 15 years, and knows the region intimately. The winemaking is ‘hands off’, as Charl is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown.

Food Match

Inevitably we suggest something spicy - a gentle chicken curry or even lamb would work; but nothing too fiery!

In the press

Silver- Decanter World Wine Awards 2014

Silver- Decanter World Wine Awards 2013 (2010 Vintage)

Silver- Sommelier Wine Awards 2013 (2010 Vintage)

Bronze- International Wine Challenge 2014

Bronze- Sommelier Wine Awards 2014


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COVID-19 update

The health and safety of our employees and customers is always our priority and we are closely following government guidelines in the current climate. If you don’t want to sign for a delivery, the driver will take a picture as delivery confirmation instead. If you don’t want to open the door, just let us know in the “delivery instructions” box where to leave your wine. Due to the unprecedented volume of orders deliveries may take a little longer than usual to arrive, we apologise for any inconvenience and hope that you will understand.

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