Winter certainly is in full swing across the country, and what better time than now to treat yourself to a lovely glass of “Port” in the evening. Much like we are not allowed to use the word “Champagne” to describe our sparkling wines locally, since 2012 we are also no longer allowed to use the word Port for our wines made in this style. This description is forbidden by the European Union, who limited the name Port to wines originating in Douro, Portugal. As a result, over the last couple of years you would have seen names such as Cape Ruby, Cape Tawny and Cape Vintage making their way onto our shelves.
The critical elements in the production of “Port” are the meticulous harvesting of ripe grapes, preferably Portuguese varietals such as Tinta Barroca and Touriga Naçional. Once harvested it’s important to extract maximum colour and flavour over the brief 2 to 3 day ferment, prior to fortification. Fortification is the process whereby wine spirit or unaged brandy spirit is added to the fermenting must, forcefully stopping the fermentation process. Fortification creates a wine with elevated alcohol and sugar levels, but most importantly an intensity of flavour, tannin and structure. These young “Ports” then undergo a specific period of maturation and blending to create each unique style.
Not all “Ports” are the same! Each style has its own unique characteristics, production method, ageing potential and colour. The only unifying attribute of all “Ports” is that they are fortified. The crafting of a fine “Port” is amongst the most challenging endeavours to undertake as it requires meticulous dedication to each step of the process from the vineyard, the ferment, fortification, barrel maturation, culminating in blending and the creation of wines that can easily mature for decades.
Our most popular styles are:
• CAPE RUBY – noted by their vibrant Ruby colour, ripe fruit aromatics and flavours.
• CAPE TAWNY – ready for immediate consumption or midterm cellaring.
• CAPE VINTAGE – extremely dark, full-bodied, aromatic, structured and “drier” in style, these wines can
confidently be cellared for a decade or more.