The Boplaas Cape Ruby Port was awarded the best Cape Ruby Port in South Africa – this time at the 2017 Cape Port and Wine Challenge. Boplaas Family Vineyards in Calitzdorp has over time become synonymous with world-class Cape Ports and table wines produced from Portuguese varieties.
The Boplaas Cape Ruby Port is predominately made from the Portuguese variety, Tinta Barocca. Tinta Barocca made its way to Boplaas by pure chance and a fortunate accident or two. The Boplaas patriarch, Oupa Danie Nel, returned from a visit to the Swartland in the late 70’s with his Chevy El Camino packed to the rafters with Pinotage and Shiraz. His friends and neighbours needed no encouragement to make short work of the Shiraz and there and then a decision was made to plant this variety on the farm.
However, it was later in part discovered by his son, current owner and cellar master, Carel Nel, while studying oenology at Stellenbosch University, that his father’s vines were indeed Tinta Barocca and not the intended Shiraz. A trip to Portugal followed, where the Nels befriended many of the Douro’s top Port producers and were exposed to and acquired the art of crafting fine fortifieds.
In 1985, the first year Boplaas produced a Port made exclusively from Tinta Barocca in the traditional drier Portuguese style, Boplaas won a gold medal at the only existing wine show at that time, namely the South African Young Wine Show. The very next year Boplaas won its first SA Champion Port Trophy for the best Port in SA. In the early 90’s Boplaas differentiated the Ports in the different classes, namely Cape Ruby, Cape Tawny, Cape Vintage and Cape Vintage Reserve – and the rest of the SA producers followed suit.
Select Tinta Barocca and Touriga Nacional grapes are hand harvested, fermented and fortified in small open tenks, barrel matured in large seasoned oak barrels for a period of at least 12 months, to craft this fruit forward style of Cape Ruby. This bright red-purple coloured wine with a crimson tinge at the rim abounds with a bouquet of ripe plum, black hedgerow fruits, kirsch, sweet apricot, subtle spice and hints of fynbos. On the palate this extraordinary wine exhibits a deft balance between ripe fruit flavours, supple tannins, spices and hints of oak, making it such a versatile, accessible and enjoyable style of Cape Ports wine.
This Cape Ruby can be served as an aperitif, a digestive, or partner to decadent desserts, but marries equally successfully with mature cheese, charcuterie, venison, mildly spicy Indian and Cape Malay cuisine, roast lamb, dark chocolates or any full flavoured dish. To do this complex combination of exotic flavours justice and enjoy to its fullest, serve slightly chilled at 14 – 16 °C (or cooler in warmer climates), preferable in a red wine glass.