From dry wines to port-style wines – a celebration of Portuguese grape varieties
While De Krans Wines is widely known for producing award-winning, quality port-style wines, there is a lesser-known, albeit equally enchanting side to these Portuguese grape varieties that have found their way to Calitzdorp in the 1970’s.
Since producing the first Touriga Nacional single variety in South Africa in 2000, De Krans Wines has paved the way in embracing these special Portuguese grape varieties that flourishes in the Klein Karoo area, due to its similarities to the Douro Valley in Portugal. They have managed to continuously innovate and present these varieties to the consumer in a unique and authentic way. The mere fact that Portuguese grape varieties can undergo a metamorphosis from being a full-bodied dry red wine the one moment, to a delicious, complex port-style wine the next, is both enticing and exciting.
Whether you consider yourself a wine connoisseur or simply a wine lover, the versatility of these grapes in both wine styles is worth exploring – more so, if you enjoy cooking and experimenting with different food pairings. From using the wines to cook with, such as the Touriga Nacional added to oxtail, to pairing them with unique foods (think Tritonia Red paired with dishes such as Springbok carpaccio, venison pie or ostrich fillet), these wines are great on their own, but even better with food. The Terroir Range, the name a testament to the great match between climate, soil and grape varieties, consists of the Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, A Twist of Fate, Tritonia Red (Calitzdorp Blend) and Tritonia White, a blend of Verdelho and Malvasia Rei.
The De Krans A Twist of Fate is a lighter style, red blend of Portuguese grape varieties Tinta Barocca and Tinta Amarela. The wine has a lovely cherry red colour with flavours of strawberries, red cherries, leather and oak, with red berries and spice on the palate with a refreshing acidity and balanced tannin structure. This unique wine also pays tribute to how the Port industry started in Calitzdorp, with the first Portuguese grapes planted in 1973 when Tinta Barocca was mistaken for Shiraz. Similarly in 2004, Tinta Amarela was planted, under the impression it was Tinta Roriz. There is nothing like a pleasant surprise to completely change the course of action, and in turn, history.
Touriga Nacional, first planted at De Krans in 1994, is arguably one of the most important building blocks in producing a quality port-style wine, providing the wine with a firm tannin structure, allowing it to mature for many years. The Touriga Nacional has juicy, dark fruit flavours, spice and bold, but integrated tannins, resulting in a complex and well-structured wine. This wine has received multiple accolades in 2020, including scoring 91 points in the Tim Atkin SA Wine Report (British Master of Wine), winning a place in the Top 10 in the category Niche Red Varieties in the Prescient Minority Report, as well as reaching the Top 100 SA Wines and being awarded Grand Cru National Champion. The wine also received a 4-star platter rating in the 2021 Platter’s Wine Guide.
The Tritonia Red (Calitzdorp blend) named after a plant, found only in the species-rich Klein Karoo region, is a blend of Portuguese grape varieties including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barocca and Tinta Amarela. This full-bodied, yet elegant blend is the perfect combination of fruit and earthiness, with savoury notes on the palate and integrated oak. The 2018 vintage of this flagship red blend has also raked in several awards in 2020 including the scoring 93 points in the Tim Atkin SA Wine Report (British Master of Wine) and receiving a 4 ½- star rating in the coveted Platter’s Wine Guide.