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” are that they are fortified.
Contrary to the common held belief, 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.
A fortified crafted from non-muscat varieties – predominantly Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc or Verdehlo – matured in oak barrels for at least 6 months, ranging in style from full sweet to “dry” and best enjoyed young. Best served well chilled as an aperitif, or an ingredient to cocktails or over ice as a long drink with a twist of lemon & mint. The drier styled Cape White make ideal accompaniment to tapas.
A fortified rosé crafted from non-muscat varieties with a pink hue &matured in barrel or tank for at least 6 months. An ideal aperitif, or mixer with tonic, ginger ale, soda water & lemonade, and an ingredient to cocktails. Best served chilled and enjoyed young.
The most popular of the Cape “Ports” and are a blend of young, full-bodied and fruity fortified wines, with at least 50% of the wine matured at least 6 months in oak barrels or tank and none of the wine may be matured in oak barrels or tank for a period longer than 3 years. Cape Rubies are noted by their vibrant Ruby colour, ripe fruit aromatics and flavours. Best enjoyed in their youth, served lightly chilled in warmer weather and an ideal accompaniment to rustic fare, soft cheeses or simply sipped on their own. A small number of vintage dated Cape Ruby’s are produced.
The classic wood matured Port, exhibiting a resplendent tawny colour – a nut brown caramel golden hue – and smooth nutty flavour profile. Cape Tawny’s must comprise at least 80% barrel matured fortified wine, display a tawny colour and possess a smooth, slightly nutty flavour profile. These meticulously blended barrel matured wines are ready for immediate consumption or mid-term cellaring. Best served lightly chilled as an aperitif, but equally adept accompanying roast fowl, duck, pork, Cantonese cuisine, perfectly paired with mature cheeses or savoured on their own.
…is a Cape Tawny from a single vintage year. Known as a Colheita in Portugal, these vintage Tawny’s are extremely rare, require the utmost dedication and are crafted at great cost to producers. Savour these wines with mature cheese, roast duck, pork or simply on their own.
These are full-bodied and dark wines with signs of a tawny colour or character developing. An LBV is to be matured in oak barrel or in bottle for at least 3 years – with a minimum maturation in oaken casks for at least 2 years. 85% of the wine in bottle shall be of a single vintage year and this wine must be certified and sold as a vintage wine – i.e. with year of vintage denoted on the label. This rare style of Port is immediately accessible, offering the best of a matured Cape Vintage without the need for further cellaring. These full flavoured wines are best accompanied by rustic fare or paired with matured cheeses and preserves, but equally enjoyable leisurely sipped.
These are full-bodied and dark wines from a single vintage, which have been matured in oaken casks or tank for at least one year. All Cape Vintage’s must be certified, sold as a vintage wine and may only be sold in glass. An ideal Cape Vintage is an extremely dark, full bodied, aromatic, structured and “drier” in style – these are wines which can confidently be cellared for a decade or more. Best decanted and leisurely enjoyed with flavoursome rustic fare, mature cheeses or leisurely sipped.
These are wines which comply with all the Cape Vintage criteria, but which the producer believes is of superior quality to their Cape Vintage bottling. Dedicated producers deem these bottlings are their “benchmark” wines and these extremely dark, structured and usually “drier” styled wines confidently offer enjoyment many decades after bottling.