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Adding a bit of Portuguese spice to the wine rack – ABSA Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival 2014

Posted on: 2014-06-24
Posted by: ABSA Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival

This past weekend festival goers to the ABSA Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival were tempted not only by the fine array of authentic Cape “Ports”, but also delighted by the table wines crafted from Portuguese varieties & the discovery of boutique producers.

The long weekend of 14 - 16 July saw festival goers attend the 3rd ABSA Caltizdorp Port & Wine Festival 2014. Festival goers were delighted by the finest Cape “Ports” crafted by South Africa’s benchmark producers and also given the opportunity to discover possibly previously unknown table wines from Portuguese varieties and small boutique producers located in this Klein Karoo outpost of the wine lands.  

Tutored tastings lead by cousins, Cape Wine Masters and cellar masters, Carel and Boets Nel led the enthusiastic tasters through the various styles of Cape “Port” and the host of fine table wines crafted from these exotic varieties, as well as comparing these local wines to examples from Portugal.

The Calitzdorp boutique producers: Axe Hill, Peter Bayly, TTT, Withoek & Du’SwaRoo, shared the station tasting venue with Grundheim, Muratie, De Krans, Calitzdorp Cellars and Boplaas, showcasing their wines and “ports”. Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Tempranillo (or Tinta Roriz), Verdelho and Souzão might not be varieties which come to mind when wine drinkers decide on a glass of wine, but these Portuguese varieties thrive in the harsh Karoo climes producing decidedly different red wines full of ripe fruit flavours, spice and a satisfyingly savoury finish; while white wines with zesty acidity, citrus and zippy minerality are crafted from Verdelho.

Not merely a wine festival, this year innovative wine and food pairings were presented; a gourmet street market; cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef Francois Ferreira and Huiskok Errieda du Toit, as well as Kokkedoor contestant; the ever popular Long Table brunch; a Safari dinner and two secret dinners where guests were only given a location and taken on a gastronomic journey paired with the local wines. The town’s host of galleries showcased local artists; an organ recital with a screening of Phantom of the Opera took place in the historic sandstone NGK Church; guided historic tours through the town, as well as a vineyard trail run and mountain bike race were held for those fitness fanatics and folks looking to burn a few Port induced calories.

Those who made the journey were treated to the natural beauty and charm of this sleepy Klein Karoo hamlet and the many undiscovered wine gems grown in the Karoo soils by passionate winemakers.

If you missed the festival, not to worry, take a drive down the R62 and visit the cellars which are open weekdays and weekends throughout the year and come sample some Klein Karoo hospitality in Calitzdorp year round.


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