Boplaas Family Vineyards has achieved an outstanding performance at this year’s National Wine Challenge, securing no less than four entries to the esteemed competition’s list of Top 100 SA Wines. The renowned estate’s top performer was the Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2016, which received Double Platinum and the supreme title of Grand Cru National Champion Best in Class.
In addition, the Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2017 received Double Gold while Double Silver was awarded to the Boplaas Gamka Cape Portuguese White Blend 2016 and the Boplaas Ring of Rocks Family Reserve 2015.
Their achievements re-assert Boplaas Family Vineyards’ reputation as a producer of world-class Port-style wine as well as its prowess with the making of terroir-resplendent still wines.
The National Wine Challenge aims to identify winning wines by cultivar and blend, with medals awarded for top-scoring wines. The Top 100 highest scoring wines form the elite ‘Top 100 SA Wines 2018’, a club of SA’s finest wines.
The event’s recognition of the estate’s wines made with traditional Portuguese varieties is particularly significant. It was in fact, a brilliant accident that changed the course of the Nel family at Boplaas Family Vineyards in Calitzdorp.
Boplaas patriarch Oupa Danie Nel ordered Shiraz vines from a nursery in the Cape but received Tinta Barocca vines instead. It was however only 10 years later – in the late 1970s – that he discovered the mix-up, when his son, Carel, returned to the farm from his studies.
When it comes to Cape Portuguese red wines and the Cape Ports, Boplaas Family Vineyards has established itself as a true champion. Its Cape Portuguese red wines in particular have excelled supremely over the past 10 years. Winemaker Margaux Nel’s specialisation during her Master’s degree in viticulture, was in the use of Touriga Nacional in the production of red table wines and Cape Port.
Continued investment and focus has made Boplaas synonymous with the crafting of benchmark, authentic and age-worthy Cape Port-styled fortified wines from Portuguese varieties, and the inclusion of its Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2016 among the Top 100 SA Wines continues this legacy.
The Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2016 was also the SA Champion Port for the best Cape Port in South Africa at the SA Young Wine Show in 2016. It was crafted from hand harvested fruit that originated from a quartet of old vine Portuguese varieties; vinified in lagars– traditional, open-top cement fermenters – with intense pigéage; matured in Port pipes; and, expertly blended to result in a fine fortified to be enjoyed over the coming decades. The Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve is only made in exceptional vintages with the focus on long-term maturation in careful cellaring and enjoyment.
The Double Gold winner Touriga Nacional 2017 is made from a variety regarded as the King of the Portuguese vines and rightly so. This low-yielding variety enables the skilled vintner to craft wines possessing power, elegance and longevity. Crafted from the finest Calitzdorp fruit, the Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2017is a more approachable take on the variety. It exhibits the tell-tale red and black hedgerow fruits, fynbos and savoury notes, which lend this wine to pairing with hearty rustic fare or to be enjoyed on its own when a big red wine is required.
The Double Silver winner Boplaas Gamka Cape Portuguese White Blend 2016 is the estate’s flagship white wine and is a blend of Verdelho, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. It is named after the Gamka River that carves its way from the Great Karoo to the Klein Karoo and has supplied water for the family’s farming operations since the first Nels of Boplaas settled in the Klein Karoo hamlet of Calitzdorp in the mid-1800s. All fruit was hand-harvested in the early morning; traditionally vinified in lagars; and, matured in large format French oak prior to blending and bottling. A mere 1 400 bottles were made of this plush, exotic, complex and age-worthy white wine.
The Boplaas Ring of Rocks Family Reserve 2015 is a blend of Tinta Barocca and Touriga Francesca, and is named after the stone circle on the farm. With 2015 having been an exceptionally good year for South African wine, this fine example deserves a place in every connoisseur’s collection.