Boplaas Family Vineyards has once again proven worthy of its reputation as maker of top-quality red wines from Portuguese varieties following the release of the Wine Magazine Signature Red Blend Report.
The Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2021 was awarded 91 points and emerged among the Top 10 Red Blends assessed. The show received a total of 60 entries from 46 producers. The recognition follows on the heels of the wine being presented with Gold by the panel at the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge.
Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2021 is named after a circle of boulders on the Calitzdorp farm, where it was assembled as a nod to ancient agrarians who used them to monitor the seasons. It comprises a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Roussanne, Chenin Blanc and Portuguese varieties Tinta Barocca, Touriga Nacional, Souzão and Touriga Franca.
The latter thrive in the Klein Karoo climate as they require less water to ripen and are less sensitive to warmer weather. Boplaas also grows White Verdelho and the recently-added Alvarinho.
The Ring of Rocks was aged in second fill and older French oak barrels for 12 months. As part of the Family Reserve range, which showcases vineyard sites, the skill of the growers and the craftsmanship of the winemakers, the wine will improve with further careful cellaring and time in the bottle.
Notably, the six-generation family enterprise’s venture into Portuguese wine grape varieties was not completely planned.
Tinta Barocca was the first arrival and made its way to the farm by pure chance and a fortunate accident or two. Boplaas patriarch, Oupa Danie Nel, returned from a visit to the Swartland in the late 70’s with his Chevy El Camino packed with Shiraz. His neighbours duly finished of the Shiraz and there and then a decision was made to plant this variety on the farm.
An error was however discovered later, in part by his son, current owner and cellar master Carel Nel. Carel was still a student of oenology at Stellenbosch University when he discovered his father’s vines were actually Tinta Barocca and not the desired Shiraz. A trip to Portugal followed, where the Nel Family befriended many of the Douro’s top producers. Since then, Boplaas has emerged as a leading producer of renowned fortified wines and award-winning still wines from Portuguese varieties.
The reins of the Boplaas cellar have since been passed to Margaux Nel, who has a master’s degree in Viticulture from Stellenbosch University. Her thesis naturally focussed on the effects of Klein Karoo terroir on Touriga Nacional.