Portuguese varietals

Professor A.I. Perold – the father of Pinotage- observed that the climactic conditions & traditional varietals cultivated for centuries in Portugal and the Mediterranean regions of Spain and France, would be a perfect fit for the Cape. Prof. Perold advised that these “Port” varietals be introduced to the Cape, due to their hardiness, adaptability, yields & the possibility of improving wine quality. As early as the mid-1920’s Souzão and Tinta Barocca vines were propagated and grown for not only “Port”, but also wine.

Portugal boasts almost 250 native grape varietals, which have adapted over the millennia to the harsh climatic conditions & these varietals offer boundless potential for the Cape.

The Portuguese varietals planted in South Africa & hectares according to SAWIS (2012):

  • Verdelho – aromatic white varietal, noted by high natural acidity & used for centuries to craft Madeira. 25.55 Ha
  • Cornifesto – utilized in Port production & a minor grape variety for crafting light wines. Exceedingly rare. 0.96 Ha
  • “Port Variety” – 3.13ha
  • Souzão – utilized in Port and wine production, produces deep dark coloured wines with course “raisiny” taste. 46.50 Ha
  • Tinta Amarela /Trincadeira - used for Port production & crafting of rich full-bodied wines in Alentejo. Dark coloured wines, but susceptible to rot and requires dry/hot conditions. 21.96 Ha
  • Tinta Barocca – introduced to SA in the late 1920’s and popular for Port production, as well as adding perfume and length to blended wines. Also crafted as a varietal – usually hearty, easy drinking table wines. 221.32 Ha
  • Tinta Francisca – utilized in Port production & noted for its sweet perfume. 1.89 Ha
  • Touriga Franca / Touriga Francesa – one of the major Port varietals. Lighter, more perfumed & adds finesse to wines & Port. 3.18 Ha
  • Touriga Nacional – introduced to SA in the 1970’s. Considered by many as Portugal’s premier varietal in the crafting of Port & high quality table wines. Structured, full bodied wines with intense black fruit flavours. 103.55 Ha
  • Tinta Roriz / Tempranillo - used as a blending component in Ports from the Douro; while producing tables wines and blends in Central Alentejo where it is called Aragonez. Famous in Spain for producing Rioja. 53.04 Ha