Although De Krans is synonymous with producing award-winning port-style wines, the producer has really managed to extend their relationship with Portuguese cultivars beyond their fortified range, resulting in a diverse and unique range of Portuguese still wines, known as the Terroir range. Appropriately so, since the terroir and these varieties beautifully embraced each other, resulting in prize-winning wines.
The flagship red blend, Tritonia Red (Calitzdorp blend) was awarded the Old Mutual Trophy for Best Non – Bordeaux Red Blend in 2017 as well as winning a gold medal at the Six Nations Wine Competition in 2017 and 2018. The Tritonia, named after a plant, found in the species-rich Klein Karoo area, is a blend of Portuguese grape varieties including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barocca and Tinta Amarela. This full-bodied, yet elegant and smooth blend is the perfect combination of fruit and earthiness with savoury notes on the palate and integrated oak.
The Touriga Nacional, a 100% single variety was planted for the first time at De Krans in 1994, with 2000 seeing the maiden vintage dry red Touriga Nacional produced by De Krans. This wine bursts with juicy, dark fruit flavours, spice and bold tannins, providing the wine with a good structure. This wine has been consistently winning big at the SA Novare Terroir awards. Both the Tritonia Red and Touriga Nacional pair perfectly with any type of red meat, especially venison and ostrich.
The first Portuguese grape vines, planted in 1973 at De Krans in Calitzdorp, were actually believed to be Shiraz grapes. Only when the first grapes were harvested a few years later, these vines turned out to be Tinta Barocca – one of the most important grape varieties for most of our Portuguese red wines and port-style wines – a fortunate accident that resulted in Calitzdorp being named the Port Wine Capital of South Africa a few years later. Bloom where you are planted, the expression goes, and sure they did.
The wines made from Portuguese grape varieties are still somewhat of an underdog in the wine industry, where they quietly hide in the “Unusual Varieties” section on wine lists. They have permission to play, are respected for their potential and admired for their achievement. Yet, when ordering a red to go with that steak, more often than not we fall into those all too familiar habits of ordering your trusted classic red varietal. Next time let the underdog win. Take the risk and try the unusual cultivar. You might find the experience highly rewarding and maybe even find a new favourite red.
Available in most wine outlets nationwide, the Touriga Nacional retails for approximately R145 per bottle, and the Tritonia for R235 per bottle. Also available to purchase online via http://www.dekrans.co.za, where you’ll find more information on these superb wines and the rest of the De Krans range.