Boplaas Family Vineyards has just been awarded three five-star ratings from the esteemed Platter’s guide, arguably South Africa’s most influential wine publication. This brings the total number of five-star ratings bestowed on the Calitzdorp enterprise’s wines and spirits over the years to an almighty 23.
The latest top achievers are the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2019, Cape Tawny Single Harvest 2005 and the 12YO Potstill Brandy, whose legacy is tied to Boplaas’s earliest days. It was back in 1880 that Boplaas potstill brandy was first shipped, in barrel, to England.
In addition to these champions, the Platter’s panel also awarded 4½ stars to the Boplaas Cape Tawny N/V and four stars to the:
- Boplaas Gamka Branca 2019, a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Verdelho, Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Sauvignon Blanc;
- Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2018, a blend of Shiraz, Tinta Barocca, Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Franca and Souzão;
- The Old World-styled Boplaas Cabernet Sauvignon Family Reserve 2019;
- Boplaas Red Muscadel 2020; and,
- Boplaas White Muscadel 2020.
Of these awards, the five-star ports hold special significance for the farm. Boplaas has long championed Portuguese grape varieties and been a leader in the making of local port-style wines. It has won the SA Champion Port Trophy no less than 10 times.
Portuguese grapes 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.
The story of how these varieties became the focus of the farm begins with an accident. It was during the 1970s that Boplaas patriarch Oupa Danie Nel returned from a Swartland visit with the usual mementos, including 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 established. Only later however was it discovered – in part by Carel, Oupa Danie’s son who is now Boplaas’s 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.