Leading SA winemakers get a rare taste of Douro wines

Some of South Africa’s most talented winemakers were recently given rare insight to a broad range of world-class wines and ports at a special tasting hosted in Stellenbosch by local champion port maker Carel Nel.

Nel, who co-owns Boplaas Family Vineyards in Calitzdorp and is a member of the Cape Wine Makers Guild (CWG), gave a tasting on world class red wines and ports from Portugal’s Douro Valley to fellow members of the CWG. The guild is an association of some of South Africa’s finest, whose members jointly represent the pinnacle of local wine achievement.

Among the wines tasted was the highlight – a 1937 Kopke Coheita Tawny Port that was aged in barrel until 2017, when it was bottled. Many of the tasting participants felt the wine, which sells for R9 000/bottle, was remarkable for how well it had aged.

The other wines tasted were:

  • 2015 Wine and Soul Pinta – R900/bottle.
  • 2014 Quinta do Vale Dona Maria Red– R1 100/bottle.
  • 2014 Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte– R1 600/bottle.
  • 2014 Chryseia– R820/bottle.
  • 2013 Boplaas CWG Daniel’s Legacy Cape Portuguese Red Blend. (The only non-Douro wine in the tasting) – R700/bottle – Auction.
  • 2011 Sandeman Vintage Port – R1 060/bottle.
  • 2000 Niepoort Vintage Port – R1 350/bottle.
  • 1985 Dows Vintage Port – R1 440/bottle.
  • 1983 Grahams Vintage Port – R1 520/bottle.
  • Grahams 30-year-old Tawny Port – R1 400/bottle.
  • Grahams 40-year-old Tawny Port – R2 000/bottle.

Most of the wines were sourced when the Nel family visited the Douro Valley in October 2017.  The family has been privileged to visit the region over many years, building close friendships with prominent winemaking and port families, including the Symingtons, David Guimareans and Dirk Niepoort.

“The tasting revealed to what extent the Douro red wines really are first-rate and, in many cases, how the producers are getting higher prices for red wines than for their ports,” says Carel.

In addition to the 1937 Kopke Coheita Tawny Port, favourites included 2014 Quinta do Crasto,  2015 Wine and Soul Pintas, 2014 Chryseia, the Grahams 40-year-old and 1983 Vintage Port, 2011 Sandeman and 2000 Niepoort Vintage Port.

The Simonsig Cuvée restaurant, where the event was held, followed the tasting with an excellent dinner matched with fine Douro red wines and port.

Caption: Pieter Ferreira, Andrea Mullineux, Leani Strydom

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