Boplaas named Best SA Port alongside haul of medals at Michelangelo
Boplaas Family Vineyards excelled at this year’s Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards, claiming the Trophy for Best SA Port (Museum Class) as well as seven medals in Double Gold and Gold categories.
The awards at this hotly contested event were unveiled via online broadcast this past week.
Crowned best in its category and claiming the winner’s trophy was the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2004, which in addition to being rated Best South African Port in the museum class was also named Best Port at the Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards this week.
The authoritative Michelangelo panel furthermore awarded Double Gold to the Boplaas Heritage White Muscadel 2014.
Gold medals were awarded to:
- Boplaas Single Grain 8 Year Cask Strength Whisky (Tawny Port Cask Finish), a new and limited release that was aged in ex-bourbon and tawny port casks;
- Boplaas Cape Tawny Port NV, a tawny-coloured wine that was matured in large, seasoned oak barrels for a minimum of 8 years and blended to distinction;
- Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2006 and 2015, both fine ambassadors of the Nel Family heritage of employing meticulous vinification while remaining true to style;
- Boplaas 8 Year Potstill Brandy, an echo of the Boplaas distilling tradition that dates to 1880;
- Boplaas 8 Citrus Gin, which is produced from eight South African citrus fruits and juniper berries to create a distinctly floral punch of juniper on the nose and multiple layers of citrus nuances on the palate; and,
- Boplaas Heritage White Muscadel 2013, a wine made only in exceptional vintages.
The diversity of the awards across styles, categories and varieties is a reflection of the golden thread of excellence that the Boplaas name has long represented. It is also a pioneer, having built a particularly strong following for wines derived from Portuguese grape varieties.
Portuguese grapes thrive in the Calitzdorp region because they are hardier and well-adapted to warmer climates. It is anticipated that they’ll play a bigger role as global warming increases. The suitability of the Calitzdorp region for the Portuguese varieties was realised quite by chance and a fortunate accident or two.
The story began in 1970’s, when Boplaas patriarch Oupa Danie Nel returned from a visit to the Swartland with his Chevy El Camino packed with bottles of Pinotage and Shiraz. His friends and neighbours needed no encouragement to make short work of the Shiraz, 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 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’ve been exposed to fine fortified wines, acquiring the art of crafting them too.
Other Portuguese varieties planted at Boplaas include Touriga Nacional, Souzão and Touriga Franca (Francesca).