Wine and port excellence see Boplaas dominate at 2019 CAPPA Challenge

Sep 26, 2019

Boplaas Family Vineyards in Calitzdorp has triumphed at the 2019 Cape Port & Wine Challenge with no less than five inclusions among the Top 10 table wines, two in the Top 10 ports and one in the Top 2 Museum class Port.

Adding to Boplaas’s achievements, not only did Boplaas Cape Portuguese White Blend 2019 become the our first white wine to make the list of winners, but Boplaas also had the most wines of any single producer in the Top 10 wines.

Each year, the Cape Port Producers Association (CAPPA) rewards excellence across a range of wine categories. Boplaas, a consistent champion at the event, had its status re-affirmed in the latest edition with the selection of the Boplaas Touriga Nacional Family Reserve 2016, Boplaas Gamka Family Reserve 2017, Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2016, Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2017 and the Boplaas Cape Portuguese White Blend 2019.

The two ports in the Top 10 were the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2017 and the Boplaas Cape Tawny Port NV. The Cape Vintage Reserve 2009 was one of the Top 2 Museum Class winners.

Portuguese grape varieties 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. To this end, a potentially landmark vote has seen Touriga Nacional approved for Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superior appellation wines as part of efforts by the industry in France to adjust to climate change.

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 the 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 made 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.

A few years ago, Boplaas planted Verdelho, a white Portuguese variety ideally suited for Calitzdorp. The Boplaas Cape Portuguese White Blend 2019 comprises 50% Verdelho, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% unwooded Chardonnay.

Other Portuguese varieties planted at Boplaas include Touriga Nacional, Souzao and Touriga Franca (Francesca).

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