Vintage Port tasting

By , 13 November 2017



One of the curiosities of the list of 5-Star wines in Platter’s 2018 is that there is only one Port-style wine, namely the Delaire Graff Cape Vintage 2015 (two if you count the Beaumont Starboard Dessert Wine NV which is a blend of Tinta Barocca and Pinotage made according to the principles of Port production and featuring components from 2005 to 2011).

The Cape Port Producers Association recently facilitated a seminar to benchmark local versus Portuguese wines and one of the flights involved the Delaire Graff next to the 2015 Cape Vintage Reserves from perennial Port-style heavyweights Boplaas and De Krans plus Calitzdorp Cellar Cape Vintage 2016 (double gold at this year’s Veritas Awards) with Sandeman 2011 from the Douro as a significant yardstick.

Tasting notes and ratings as follows:

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2015
Price: R230
60% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 8% Tinta Barocca, 2% Souzao. Black berries, flowers and herbs and spice on the nose. Super-dense fruit, fresh acidity and sleek tannins. Sweet, rich and full, it’s a little imposing now but it’s undoubtedly built for the long haul.

Editor’s rating: 92/100

De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2015
Price: R230
73% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 2% Tinta Barocca. A touch of reduction before red and black fruit plus some spice on the nose. Dense and smooth textured before a savoury finish, it comes across as particularly forceful – will need a good long while to come around.

Editor’s rating: 93/100.

Delaire Graff Cape Vintage 2015
Price: Set to be released on 1 December at R400 a bottle.
73% Tinta Barocca, 27% Touriga Nacional. Lifted and alluring aromas of black fruit, flowers and earth. Pure and fresh with fine tannins and a salty finish. Relatively medium bodied and particularly elegant.

Editor’s rating: 93/100.

Sandeman Vintage Porto 2011

Reference point.

Sandeman Vintage Porto 2011
40% Tinta Franca, 40% Touriga Nacional, 10% Tinta Roriz, 5% Tinta Cao, 5% Souzao.  Extraordinarily deep and bright in colour. The nose shows black and blue fruit, liquorice, sea breeze and spice. The palate is incredibly dense with fresh acidity and fine tannins, the finish long and savoury. Seamlessly assembled, there’s considerable forcefulness behind its refined exterior.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

Calitzdorp Cellar Vintage Port 2016
Price: R80
50% Tinta Barocca, 50% Touriga Nacional. Black fruit, violets and spice on the nose. Lovely fruit purity and freshness, the tannins particularly fine while the finish is long and dry. Doesn’t necessarily have the weight and power of a typical vintage Port but extremely elegant and well balanced. Another point of debate: Should a Vintage Port even be on the market so early?

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

Find our South African wine ratings database here.


3 comment(s)

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    Hennie Taljaard | 15 November 2017

    Hi Christian, what role did the more elegant structure of the Calitzdorp Cellar Vintage Port play in scoring more that the other SA ports?

      Christian | 15 November 2017

      Hi Hennie, The Calitzdorp Vintage Port (tasted blind while the others were tasted sighted) presented as a wonderfully complex and balanced fortified wine. I’m not sure it has the weight and power to age for 20 years but the Veritas panel didn’t get it completely wrong in giving it double gold. In SA, we seem to have to choose between either intensity or detail, whereas Portugal manages to achieve both.

    Carel Nel | 14 November 2017

    Thanks you for the rating of the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2015 we are very proud of the Port and we feel it is going to age very well (like the Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2006). We are aiming to make the same style as Grahams. The 2015 is one of the best ever from Boplaas and it won several accolades including “Best SA Cape Port” at SA Top 100 wines.
    Kind regards Carel Nel

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