Boplaas Family Vineyards was crowned national winner for Best Touriga Nacional at the 2023 South African Terroir Awards, reaffirming the farm’s reputation for excellence with this traditional Portuguese variety. Significantly, it was precisely 30 years ago that the cultivar was first planted at the winery in the Little Karoo.
The 18th edition of this championship organized by the South African National Wine Show Association (SANWSA), was presented in Stellenbosch this week. It was here that the expert panel highlighted the outstanding quality of the Boplaas 2022 Touriga Nacional.
The SA Terroir Awards are designed to single out wines that portray the inimitability of their hyper-local provenance. For Boplaas, one of the best wines that do this is a Touriga Nacional.
“The magic combination of soils, climate and geography that are particular to Calitzdorp allow traditional Portuguese varieties to thrive here,” says Boplaas winemaker Margaux Nel, who received the award. “It’s very special to have our faith re-affirmed by the SA Terroir Awards’ experienced panel of judges, on the 30th anniversary of our Touriga plantings.”
These plantings were made by Margaux’s grandfather – by accident. The story goes that Danie Nel had ordered Shiraz vines, but only after his son Carel had completed his wine studies did they realize the vines were in fact Tinta Barocca. The vine nursery had made a mistake, but it was too late. Nonetheless, father and son quickly realized how well the Portuguese variety did in its new home which is characterised by cold winters, dry summers, and cool nights.
Soon, plantings expanded to include Touriga Nacional , Souzão and Verdelho. Most recently, Boplaas has also added Alvarinho.
It wasn’t surprising when Margaux, who joined the cellar in 2007, followed in the family’s footsteps. Her MSc thesis was on Touriga Nacional in the Calitzdorp terroir, and the making of world-class table wines from the cultivar that is often the anchor for champion port wines.
Awards have been a consistent underscoring of Boplaas’s focus. The Touriga Nacional’s accolades over the years alone include Double Gold from the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirit Awards and being recognised as a Best Value wine by the UK’s Tim Atkin, MW.
This is the lineage of the winning Touriga Nacional at the most recent SA Terroir Awards. The 2022 vintage shows character that is typical to Touriga Nacional – a variety renowned as the king of Portuguese cultivars. There’s rich deep colour, aromas and flavours of black fruit and violets; the wood maturation is well integrated and there’s a delicious, lingering finish.
This wine along with Boplaas’s other many award-winning wines is available from the winery’s online shop at www.boplaas.co.za and its various tasting outlets. These are located at Boplaas in Calitzdorp, Red Berry Farm outside George and Old Nick Village in Plettenberg Bay.