In my part of the world – on the edge of the Klein Karoo – winter has not only arrived, but is settling in nicely. Around lunchtime it’s warm, but before and after midday the air has that chill that confirms that snow is not that far away. The time is ripe to haul out the ports and muscadels for fireside sipping – for the former, we look to Calitzdorp, where the quality and choice are both good.
From De Krans I received two “new look” ports a while ago, their Premium Cape Ruby non-vintage and their classic Cape Vintage 2013. The former is a great buy at just R65, a smooth blend of the Portuguese varieties Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Roriz and Souzao. It’s the bottle that’s new rather than the port, as the latter is, as it has long been, a medium,-bodied port, with fruit and spice and 18% alcohol level. Its a four-star Platter wine, a rating it has maintained for a decade, and is ready to be savoured with cheese or chocolate as an evening treat.
The Cape Vintage 2013, rated four and a half stars by Platter, is also in the new classic port bottle, and is as good as its predecessors – fruit filled, complex and with pleasing length. This is excellent value at R89, and at that price one can afford to splash out a little, using it in sauces over warming winter puds.
Although Boets and brother Stroebel Nel are also involved in other activities, and are making some interesting wines from their Portuguese cultivars, its still the tawny, classic and ruby ports that bring in the most medals and – along with their competitors - uphold the claim of Calitzdorp to be South Africa’s port capital.