Boplaas Family Reserve Wines Get A New Look

One of the most sought-after wine ranges from celebrated winery Boplaas has a new label. The Boplaas Family Reserve wines now bear a striking and contemporary appearance that reflects the heritage and excellence this Klein Karoo winery is renowned for.

When it comes to Cape Portuguese red wines and the Cape Ports, Boplaas Family Vineyards is a true champion with a string of accolades that bear out its reputation. Most recently the Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2019 was selected by Master of Wine Tim Atkin as Best Value Red Wine of the Year in his annual report on South Africa.

The new face of the Family Reserve range captures this legacy. It took two years to finalise the labels for a wine range that has been produced for over 15 years.  “Everyone had an opinion about what it should look like,” says Boplaas marketing manager Rozanne Nel, daughter of owner and winemaking veteran Carel Nel. “Nonetheless, we got it done and are very proud of the results.”

The new label retains Boplaas’s founding date of 1880, but takes the design back to its roots, featuring elements that anchor and differentiate this popular range. Calitzdorp’s historic sandstone church was a centrepiece of the label when the range first launched in the 1980s. Now, once again, the latter is represented in the brand mark as well as the line drawing that forms the label’s centrepiece. The church and vineyards, which are visible from the winery, are reference to Boplaas’s community ties and the clergy’s ancient tradition of winemaking. It also recalls the tradition of Portuguese and French wineries that feature abbey vineyards on their bottles.

In addition to new labels, two wines in the range have also seen new vintage releases –

Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2018, a blend of Portuguese and traditional varieties; and, the Boplaas Touriga Nacional Family Reserve 2016.

Ring of Rocks 2018

Ring of Rocks is named in honour of the ancient agrarians who built stone circles in order to determine the changing of the season which in turn determined the crop cycles and their very way of life.

Hand-harvested in the cool pre-dawn hours, the fruit for this wine consists of Shiraz (40%), Tinta Barocca (39%), Touriga Franca (10%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and Sezão (1%).

The latest vintage is a luminous maroon in the glass, with a purple centre. It brims with a combination of ripe black plums, red cherry, bramble jam, black and red hedgerow fruit, fynbos and undercurrents of crushed coco nib, mint thins and wood spice. The bouquet is slightly shy and tannins, although fine are still grippy. 

Previous vintages won Gold at Veritas Awards, 4½ stars in Platter’s South African wine guide, Top 10 Red Wine at the CAPPA Cape Port & Wine Challenge to name a few.

 Touriga Nacional Family Reserve 2016

Widely regarded as royalty of Portuguese vines, Touriga Nacional rightly deserves its title due to its presence in the finest of fortifieds and compelling table wines. It is characterised by boisterous aromatics, fine tannins and a deft balance of power and elegance.

A joyous, garnet coloured wine, it greets the taster with a bouquet that gently unfurls with ripe black plum, kirsch, bramble jam, fynbos, bright fine spice and meaty undertones. Black hedgerow fruit, plum, tart red cherry, hints of cloves, allspice are intertwined in firm tannins, lifted acidity and a savoury finish that is punctuated by a hint of liquorice.  Enjoy in its youth, although careful cellaring will reward the restraint with more joy.

Passion for Portuguese

The Boplaas passion for Portuguese varieties has been inherited by sixth generation Boplaas winemaker Margaux Nel.  She completed her MSc degree in viniculture at the University of Stellenbosch with a terroir study of Touriga Nacional. She has followed in her father’s footsteps to make some of the most awarded Portuguese variety table wines and Cape Port wines.

The suitability of the Calitzdorp region, where Boplaas is located, for Portuguese varieties was realised quite by chance and a fortunate accident or two.

The story began in the 1970s, when Boplaas patriarch Oupa Danie Nel returned from a Swartland visit, his Chevy El Camino packed with 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 planted. Only later however was it discovered – in part by Carel, Oupa Danie’s son – 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.