Winter Is A Time For Boplaas Port!

Boplaas port is all the rage, and for good reason too. While this rich and flavoursome fortified style wine is enjoyed throughout the year, the most popular occasion is without doubt when the winter chill sets in.

Boplaas is among the country’s leading producers of port, so it stands to reason that if it’s port in the glass, it’s probably a Boplaas port.

Achieving the title of South Africa’s best port wine several times over did not however happen overnight. In fact, the category has been troubled by general misunderstanding largely due to European regulations.

What’s in a name?

After the European Union made the grave mistake to relegate the port name to a single appellation in Portugal (compared to whisky that can be produced worldwide), South Africa adopted the names Cape Ruby, Cape Tawny, Cape Vintage, Cape Vintage Reserve, Cape Pink for the South Africa port style wines. 

This did not impact on quality and Boplaas was among those local wineries that set to work even harder to showcase local excellence. “At Boplaas we have a passion for producing world class Cape ports,” says legendary port specialist and Boplaas owner, Carel Nel.  

“Many visits to Portugal to the Symington family, and the Guimerance family helped Boplaas produce these world class wines from traditional Portuguese cultivars like Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Souzão. The wines are vinified in the traditional method of using open lagars.”

Carel did his Cape Wine Master thesis on a comparison of Cape and Portuguese Ports while his daughter, Margaux, did her MSc on Touriga Nacional grown in the Little Karoo.   

There’s a port for every occasion

Boplaas produces five different styles of Cape port:

  • Boplaas Cape Ruby

A very popular style, this port is a blend of young, full-bodied and fruity ports aged  in oak barrels for between 18-24 months.  The wine has a vibrant ruby colour, ripe fruit aromatics and flavours. It is best enjoyed in its youth.

  • Boplaas Cape Tawny

A classic wood matured wine, Boplaas Cape Tawny is aged in barrels for 10-15 years.  It commonly exhibits a distinct nut-brown, caramel-gold hue. The flavours are associated with fudge, butterscotch, fruitcake, nuts and orange peel.  

  • Boplaas Cape Colheita Tawny

This is an extremely rare Cape Tawny, made from a single year. It requires the utmost dedication and is crafted at great cost.  The 2005 Cape Colheita Tawny was rated “Port of the Year” by UK Master of Wine Tim Atkin and awarded five stars by the Platter’s South African wine guide. Other releases of this port were made in 1980, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2007.  Several of these received Platter’s five-star ratings.

  • Boplaas Cape Vintage 

This is a full-bodied, structured, aromatic and dark port. It was made from a single vintage and matured in oak cask and tank, for two years. It is produced in a drier style with a profile of red fruit flavours, which includes black berries, raspberries, cherry, plum and liquorice.  The wine may confidently be cellared for a decade or more.

  • Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port

The Cape Vintage Reserve ranks as a flagship, reflecting the Nel Family heritage of crafting the very finest Cape fortifieds that will offer decades of enjoyment. It commonly shows inky black colour with hints of purple-black on the rim, and a bouquet red berries.  On the palate, there are powerful flavours with notes of liquorice, red fruit and hints of dark chocolate.  This is another that may be cellared for decades.  

The 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 all received five stars from Platter’s. Earlier vintages that also claimed Veritas Double Gold include 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. 

Alongside the winery’s full portfolio, Boplaas port – including older vintages – is available for purchase from and selected retailers.