With Cape Town now in the firm grip of the icy long fingers of winter, it is time to indulge in some of the Cape’s best port-style wines. This style of wine was made famous in Portugal and packs a warming punch with the fortification of brandy spirits.
It is time to put on your comfortable woolen sweater and forget about loadshedding. Light a fire and reach for your favourite among this bunch – or try them all!
Groot Constantia Cape Ruby 2013
Winner of the Cape Ruby category at the recent 2015 CAPPA (Cape Port Producers Assosciation) you will love the shape of this vintage bottle – made from 100% Touriga Nacional by winemaker Boela Gerber and matured for 12 months in very old French oak barrels.
The bright ruby colour will invite a closer look – aromas of ripe red berries and plums jump out the glass and the sweet fruit is complimented by freshly ground cinnamon spice and a touch of vanilla in the mouth – light and vibrant, it is perfect as an aperativ or with ripe, creamy cheese and biscuits. It sells for R196 from their tasting room.
Where Groot Constantia Rd, Constantia
Contact +27 21 794 5128, www.grootconstantia.co.za
KWV Classic Collection Cape Tawny
The KWV is one of the leading wine and spirit producers in South Africa and is the only South African brand to be voted onto Drinks International’s Most Admired Wine Brands! To top this special accolade, the Classic Collection Cape Tawny was awarded the world regional trophy port-style wines at the 2015 Decanter competition in London.
Made by Annele du Plessis from Tinta Barocca, Cinsaut and Souzao grapes, the wine spends up to 10 years maturing peacefully in large oak barrels in the cool, dark cellars of the KWV. The result is an amber coloured liquid that reminds me of Christmas, with spicy marmalade, roasted nuts and creme brulee flavours. Judt the number to ward off the cold! Serve slightly chilled with some roasted nuts and salty olives before dinner. This is a steal at around R80!
Where Kohler St, Paarl
Contact +27 21 807 3094, www.kwv.co.za
De Krans Cape Vintage 2013
The history of this farm situated along the upper reaches of the picturesque Gamka River Valley near Calitzdorp in the Karoo, dates back to 1890. Portuguese varietals were planted in Calitzdorp during the late 1970’s with Tinta Barocca being the first to find its way to the Klein Karoo. Nowadays Calitzdorp is known as South Africa’s port capital with these varietals leading the way.
This gem is made by well-known winemaker Boets Nel from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Amarella, Tinta Roriz and Souzao. The selected grapes are handpicked to control the quality of what we taste in the bottle. After fermentation and fortification the wine is left in concrete tanks for 12 months before it matures another 10 months in 30 to 40 year old small 300 liter barrels. The wine is a dark, deep red colour and oozes violets, red berries, vanilla and dark chocolate aromas, followed by alluring dried prunes and cocoa flavours. It is delicious now, but at only R89 a bottle buy a few cases to age for another two decades!
Where Route 62, Calitzdorp
Contact +27 44 213 3314, www.dekrans.co.za
Alto Fine Old Vintage 2008
Alto is one of the oldest farms in Stellenbosch and was established in 1693 when governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, granted the Helderberg mountain property to a free burgher. The name of the property of course refers to the altitude of the vineyards – som 500m above sea level, as well as its constant drive for excellence in winemaking. This 2008 Alto Old Fine Vintage was made by winemaker Schalk van der Westhuizen 10 years after the previous production at Alto!
This is a truly South African port made from 100% Shiraz grapes and was matured for 12 months in 300-litre barrels to delight us with a bright purple-ruby colour. On the nose one is seduced by wafts of prune, cinnamon, chocolate-covered nuts and honey. In the mouth it is rich, creamy and packs a punch with raisin, roasted nuts and frothy, cappucino flavours. Pair this with aged cheese, rich dessert and coffee. Available for R290 from the cellar door.
Where Annandale Road, Off the R44 toward Somerset West, Stellenbosch
Contact +27 21 881 3884, www.alto.co.za
Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2011
Boplaas in picturesque Calitzdorp is nestled between the Rooiberg and majestic peaks of the Swartberg. On the fertile red soils fed by Gamka and Olifants rivers, the Nel’s established their vineyards on Boplaas in the heart of the arid Karoo in the mid 19th century.
The Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve is the pinnacle of the legendary Carel Nel’s pursuit of foritifed perfection – crafted from only the finest hand-harvested Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Souzao and Touriga Francesca from 10-35 year old vines. A Reserve is only declared, as in Portugal, in very special vintages. The multi-bemedalled inky black wine bursts with intense, freshly squashed black berry, blue berry, ripe plum and spice notes. On the palate the complex fruit flavours mingle with fynbos, spicy plum pudding and dark chocolate promises for ages! Perfect for rich meat fare, as well as decadent chocolate desserts. Made in limited quanitites, it is available at R175 a bottle – buy enough for the next 35 winters!
Where Saayman Road, Calitzdorp
Contact +27 44 213 3326, www.boplaas.co.za
Photography Cellar Door Collection