When the winter chill sets in, I crave Port and when I think South African Port, Boplaas is the first name that pops into my head.
Boplaas Family Vineyards is, like the name suggests, a family concern and has been for more than 150 years. It is home to the Nels and situated in Calitzdorp, a small village in the Little Karoo at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. The Nels are passionate about the production of authentic Cape fortified wines (or Port as we call it) from traditional Portuguese varietals such as Tinta Barocca, Souzao and Touriga Nacional. This passion is clearly paying off as their wines received high praise at the Cape Port Producers’ Association (CAPPA) Challenge 2013 with three category winning wines & the overall trophy winner for the Boplaas Cape Tawny Vintners Reserve N/V.
The Boplaas Cape Tawny Vintners Reserve N/V was made from Tinta Barocca and aged for 12 years in large oak barrels with a further two years spent in tank before being blended and bottled. “South African tawnies are as good as the best from Portugal,” commented Dave Hughes – panel chairman of the Challenge and internationally celebrated taster. The Boplaas Cape Tawny 1995 – a Vintage Tawny or Colheita – crafted from a selection of 17 year old barrel aged Tawny was runner-up in the Cape Tawny category.
Three gold medals were awarded in the Cape Vintage category to the category winning Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2010, to the runner-up Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2009 and finally, to the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2008. These three Cape “Ports” were made from traditional Portuguese varietals, in a drier-style and will stand the test of time, as it can be aged for decades.
The Museum Class – for Cape fortifieds that are 10 years or older – was won by the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2003 and the number two position went to the Boplaas Cape Tawny 1994.
For the second year running, the CAPPA Challenge included the CAPPA Top 10 for Portuguese varietal & blended table wines with a minimum Portuguese varietal(s) component of 30% in the blend. This year, the Boplaas Tinta Chocolat 2012, the Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2011, Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2009 & Woolworths Portuguese Collection 2010 by Boplaas were all included in the CAPPA Top 10.
Tasting Tip: Port is perfect served as an aperitif, with dessert or at the end of a meal. Vintage Ports mature in bottle and can be decanted to remove the natural sediment and to enhance the aromas developed during the ageing process. Late Bottled Vintage and Aged Tawny Ports do not need decanting as they mature in oak barrels where any sediment will have settled prior to bottling.
* Most of the Boplaas products are available nationwide from all fine retailers, or from their cellar door in Calitzdorp. For more information on Boplaas, or to purchase the wines online, visit www.boplaas.co.za, call them on 0442133326, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow them on Twitter @Boplaas1880.