Boplaas port has again been recognised as one of South Africa’s greats having impressed WineMag.co.za panellists assessing the quality of 10-year-old wines. In an assessment where Boplaas is consistently highlighted, the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2011 scored 92 points.
It was this event two years ago that Boplaas took the title of Best Overall Wine with its Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2009.
The 10-year report that is compiled has as its main aim to investigate how well modern-era South African wines perform as they get older. “One of the most important measures of great wine is that it should be age-worthy, that is it should become more pleasurable and more interesting to drink with time in the bottle,” its preamble states. A total of 78 wines were entered from 40 producers were assessed in their respective categories this year.
The Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2011 continues the Nel’s heritage of crafting the very finest Cape Port utilising Portuguese varieties and traditional vinification methods. The focus remains true to style in crafting wine that will offer decades of enjoyment. The performance of the 2011 not only showcases this, but also re-affirms the age-ability of the Boplaas ports.
Portuguese grape varieties thrive in the Calitzdorp region because they are hardier and well-adapted to warmer climates. It is anticipated that they will play a bigger role as the impact of global warming intensifies. In fact, a potentially landmark vote recently saw Touriga Nacional approved for Bordeaux and Bordeaux appellation wines as part of effort by the industry in France to adjust to climate change.
The suitability of the Calitzdorp region for the varieties wasn’t immediately apparent, however. In fact, it was realised quite by chance.
It was during the 1970s that Boplaas patriarch Oupa Danie Nel returned from a Swartland visit with the usual mementos, which included a few bottles of Shiraz. Friends and neighbours made short work of the wine, so the decision was taken that this was a variety to plant.
Vines were sourced and planted. Only later however was it discovered – in part by Carel, Oupa Danie’s son who is now Boplaas owner and cellar master – that something was amiss. Carel was still studying oenology at the University of Stellenbosch when it was revealed that his father’s vines were Tinta Barocca and not the intended Shiraz. A trip to Portugal followed and soon the Nels had befriended many of the Douro’s top port producers. Over decades they were exposed to fine fortified wines, acquiring the art of crafting them too.
The passion for Portuguese varieties has echoed through the generations at Boplaas. Following in the steps of her father, Margaux Nel – sixth generation Boplaas winemaker – completed her MSc degree in viticulture from the University of Stellenbosch with a terroir study of Touriga Nacional.
Among this variety’s most recent achievements in the hands of Boplaas, the Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2019 was named best value South African red wine by UK Master of Wine Tim Atkin.
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