Big new blend out of the lit­tle Ka­roo

An ex­cit­ing new red blend was launched at the 20th an­nual Cal­itz­dorp Port & Wine Fes­ti­val in the Klein Ka­roo last month, writes Gra­ham Howe

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CAL­ITZ­DORP, known as “the port cap­i­tal of the Cape”, un­veiled a new wave of red wine made from tra­di­tional Por­tuguese va­ri­eties well suited to the cli­mate and ter­roir of the re­gion. Try the big, bold flavours of the Cal­itz­dorp blend — as well as sin­gle va­ri­etal wines made by eight Ka­roo cel­lars from old port va­ri­eties. En­joy th­ese el­e­gant, full-bod­ied wines with rich win­ter fare: Axe Hill Machado 2011. Cel­lar mas­ter Mike Neebe crafted this Cal­itz­dorp blend out of three port va­ri­eties — Touriga Na­cional, Tinta Barocca and Souzao — and added Shi­raz. This delightful pot­pourri of wild herb aro­mas, rich plum fruit flavours and spicy, vanilla nu­ances was voted best in class at the Cappa Port & Wine Chal­lenge 2013. Bo­plaas Ring of Rocks 2012. This seam­less blend of Touriga Na­cional and Caber­net Sauvi­gnon with a splash of Tinta Fran­cisca and Souzao is named af­ter the Stone­henge of Cal­itz­dorp — a Bo­plaas cir­cle of rocks hewn out of the lo­cal red stones. An earthy food wine with a savoury core makes a great match for Mediter­ranean fare. De Krans Tri­to­nia 2011. Named af­ter the colour­ful flower of the Ka­roo, Tri­to­nia is a fra­grant wine with com­plex flavours of vi­o­lets, cloves and rich red berries — and fine, dry tan­nins. Cel­lar mas­ter Boets Nel shaped this el­e­gant maiden Cal­itz­dorp blend from three sig­na­ture port va­ri­eties — Touriga Na­cional, Tinta Barocca and Tinta Roriz. Du’SwaRoo Sirocco Bin 2 2012. Ev­ery­thing is hand­crafted on this fam­ily farm from vine to bot­tle to make this stewed com­pote of wild berry, Ka­roo scrub and spicy to­bacco. Gust­ing like the hot, dry desert wind, this blend of Shi­raz, Touriga Na­cional and Tinta Barocca is made from grapes grown on a Cal­itz­dorp kop­pie. Peter Bayly III 2011. The rich al­lu­vial soils of the tiny vine­yard planted on the slopes of the Groen­fontein Val­ley on the out­skirts of Cal­itz­dorp yield the Touriga Na­cional, Tinta Barocca and Souzao grapes which go into their for­ti­fied ports and maiden red wine. The Ka­roo in a bot­tle — fyn­bos, herbs, apri­cot, spice and suc­cu­lent fruit flavours. TTT Cal­itz­dorp Col­lage 2012. Ash­ley Ma­son makes this sparky Cal­itz­dorp blend from Touriga Na­cional, Tinta Barocca and Souzao grapes grown and made on his TTT (Things Take Time) farm. A bold, ro­bust red blend with Ka­roo scrub aro­mas, berry flavours and hints of vi­o­lets is as rich as Christ­mas pud­ding. Wool­worths Bo­plaas The Por­tuguese Con­nec­tion 2011. This Cal­itz­dorp blend of Touriga Na­cional, Tinta Barocca and Caber­net Sauvi­gnon is packed with juicy black berry fruit. Ma­tured for eight months in sec­ond-fill French bar­rels, the spicy oak and vanilla notes and ripe tan­nins go well with rich win­ter grills and pi­quant cheeses. Bo­plaas Gamka 2012. Tal­ented wine­maker Mar­gaux Nel cre­ated this new flag­ship blend of Touriga Na­cional and Shi­raz, an in­no­va­tive syn­ergy which high­lights the nat­u­ral affin­ity of th­ese two grape va­ri­eties. A bold state­ment wine, it show­cases the spicy her­bal aro­mas, in­tense flavours, vi­brant acid­ity and savoury as­pect of both grapes. De Krans Tem­pranillo 2010. The Cal­itz­dorp cel­lar makes the only sin­gle va­ri­etal ver­sion of Tem­pranillo in the coun­try from the key Rioja va­ri­ety also known as Tinta Roriz in the Douro. Mean­ing to ripen early (tem­pra), this grape com­pletes the Por­tuguese col­lec­tion in a wine with a blend of creamy fruit, spicy to­bacco and vanilla flavours. De Krans Touriga Na­cional 2010. The 11th ac­claimed vin­tage of the first sin­gle va­ri­etal Touriga made in SA by this Cal­itz­dorp cel­lar in 2000. This multi-award-win­ning wine ex­presses the clas­sic qual­i­ties of the king of the Douro grapes — in a big fleshy wine with in­tense flavours of pep­per, prunes, plums and spice. Bo­plaas Tinta Choco­lat 2011. One of three Bo­plaas wines rated in the top 10 at the Cappa Port & Wine Chal­lenge 2013 has plush plum flavours, a vel­vety milk choco­late palate and a dry, spicy twist. Made from sturdy Tinta Barocca, it has a lovely bal­ance of fresh acid­ity, fruit and sup­ple tan­nin — a nat­u­ral ex­pres­sion of vine­yard ter­roir. De Krans Tinta Mocha 2011. An­other of the new wave of cof­fee and cocoa flavoured wines pi­o­neered by Diemers­fontein in Welling­ton ex­presses the nat­u­ral plum and mul­berry flavours of this grape va­ri­ety with an in­tense mocha choco twist. Fans should also try their mor­eish Orig­i­nal Espresso, a for­ti­fied Tinta and Touriga blend

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