The annual Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival was an opportunity for us to learn more about Port and Portugese grape varieties.  Due to a trade (dis)agreement with Portugal, South Africa has been labelling their “Port” as “Cape” followed by whatever style of Port is being made, without actually using the P-word.

Day 3 tasting (5)

While Calitzdorp needs no introduction as a Port production area, there is now a strong move by the local producers towards still wines produced from Portugese grapes.  All these wines (and the Port style wines) made in Calitzdorp are exceptional value for money; we could not resist purchasing a case of Boplaas Cape Tawny at R95 a bottle.  The most expensive still wines we saw this weekend in Calitzdorp was R150 per bottle but expect to pay in the region of R80 for well crafted, interesting wines – incredible value.

Tinta Barocca and Touriga Nacional are being seen on more wine labels nowadays.  In the past few years, the local Calitzdorp producers have moved towards producing wines they call “The Calitzdorp Blend”:  A blend made up of at least 70% traditional Portugese grapes and 100% of the grapes must be wine of origin Calitzdorp.

These wines tend to show big colour extraction (think inky, dark), big tannins (but not undrinkably so) and lovely fruit expression (all over the red, purple, black and blue fruit spectrum).

Calitzdorp Blends to try are the De Krans Tritonia, Boplaas Ring of Rocks, Axe Hill Distinta, Peter Bayly III and the Calitzdorp Cellar Tinto.  Ideal food pairings would be heavy winter stews like oxtail – now is the ideal time to try something new.