Touriga Nacional King of the Portuguese vines

With a mere 100 hectares or so planted in South Africa, Touriga Nacional, is widely regarded as Portugal’s premier grape variety possessing the ability to craft exceptionally full-bodied, yet elegant wines such as the Boplaas Gamka & Boplaas Family Reserve Touriga Nacional.

Portugal possesses a cornucopia of vine varieties which over the millenia have adapted to the varied trying climatic conditions of Portugal – not too dissimilar to that of the Cape – and amongst these is Touriga Nacional. Heralded as Portugal’s premier grape variety, this shy bearing vine enables the crafting of aromatic, structured, complex and long ageing fortified as well as classically styled dry red table wines. Playing an integral part in the much lauded Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve “Ports”, Touriga Nacional is now taking centre stage at this small family run winery to craft fine table wines, such as the Boplaas Gamka 2012. This Touriga revolution is in a part due to winemaker, Margaux Nel – who completed her viticultural Master’s thesis on Touriga Nacional – and also due to the stellar results achieved in the vineyards and cellar with this wild varietal.

The Boplaas Gamka 2012 – Michelangelo International Wine Award Grand d’Or 2013, Top 100 SA Wines 2014 & 4 Stars Platter’s – named in honour of the Gamka River which has its source in the arid Great Karoo basin, carving its way through the Swartberg and meandering towards Calitzdorp where it has feed the agricultural pursuits of the Nel’s since their arrival in the mid 1800′s. Gamka also mean “lion” in Khoisan & this buxom red wine does its name justice. Combining three low-yield old vine Touriga Nacional sites in Calitzdorp, Stellenbosch and Wellington, with 22% Stellenbosch bush vine Shiraz – the taster is greeted by a melange of violet, ripe hedgerow fruits, exotic All-spice, dried coriander, liquorice root, ripe plum and hints of vanilla, while these flavours continue onto the plush full-bodied palate with just an undercurrent of savouriness and firm tannins. A mere 3400 bottles of Gamka were crafted available from the cellar door for R 175 p/b & this wine can be enjoyed well into the next decade.

Utilising fruit from various regions, soils types and vineyards allows Boplaas to showcase the very best of the Cape terroir in a bottle and is an initiative undertaken for the first time back in 1996 by Boplaas cellar master Carel Nel. Working closely with growers and over a long term ensure the finest fruit from which to craft wines. The Boplaas Family Reserve Touriga Nacional 2012, is testament to this philosophy, combining all hand harvested fruit from old vine Stellenbosch Touriga Nacional, fruit from the cooler slopes of the Hawequa Mountains above Wellington and from 25 year old vines in Calitzdorp. Fermented in traditional lagars (“kuipe” in Afrikaans) & matured in 300l French oak barrels for 26 months, this wine displays the best of Touriga – floral aromatics, full fruited palate, exceptional drinkability yet with firm tannins perfect for cellaring. A mere 2500 bottles were crafted of this wine and is available from the cellar door at R 150 p/b. Winning one of only three gold medals at the CAPPA Challenge 2014 for table wines & also taking its place in the CAPPA TOP 10.

Drinkability and pairing with rustic fare is a hallmark of the Portuguese red table wines, and the Boplaas Touriga Nacional 2013 is no exception. Crafted from Calitzdorp fruit this red wine burst from the glass with bright spice, Seville orange, red hedgerow fruits and tart red cherry flavours, continuing onto the palate with an unmistakable savoury finish with wisps of liquorice, wood spice and tea leaf. Ideally enjoyed lightly chilled in summer, this 13% per volume red is a perfect accompaniment to grille meats – espetadas, T-bones, peri-peri chicken; pasta, pizza, charcuterie or mature cheese. This superb red is available from cellar door at R 55 p/b.

Boplaas is also pleased to announce a true first, with the Boplaas Family Reserve Touriga Francesa 2012 and Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2013. The former is South Africa’s only single varietal bottling of this aromatic, structured and extremely rare varietal, approximately 4 hectares planted in South Africa. A mere 2500 bottles of Touriga Francesa is available, exclusively from the cellar door at R 150 p/b and is another cellar worthy wine possessing plush fruit, inky black colour and incredible drinkability. The Boplaas Ring of Rocks 2013 is a co-fermented blend of old vine Tinta Barocca & Touriga Francesa offering the best of both varietals – Tinta’s intense plum & coco nib flavours combining seamlessly with the fynbos, black hedgerow fruit & slight herbal tannic twang of Touriga Francesa – an incredible bargain at R 80 p/b cellar door.