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South African Port, Dessert and Fortified Wines

Port style wines

Port is defined as a fortified wine, with South Africa having an excellent quality record since the late 1980's. This is partly throught the efforts of the Cape Port Producers Association which adopted 'Cape' to identify the local product.

Due to an agreement between South Africa and the European Union, ports and sherries made here may not carry those names after 2012.

Port-style wines are blended wines, generally from varieties such as Tinta Barocca, Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional and other Portuguese varieties.The following styles are available: 

Cape Pink – non-muscat grapes, matured for at least six months.

Cape White – non-muscat grapes, wood-aged for a minimum of six months, any size vessel. 

Cape Ruby – blended, fruity, components aged for a minimum of six months up to three years, depending on size of vessel. Average age is a minimum of one year. 

Cape Vintage – fruit of one harvest in year of ‘recognised quality’. Preferably aged for a minimum of one year, vats of any size, sold only in glass. 

Cape Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) – fruit of single ‘year of quality’, full-bodied, slightly tawny colour, aged three to six years (of which a minimum of two years in oak).

Cape Tawny – wood-matured, amber-orange (tawny) colour, smooth, slightly nutty taste (white grapes not permitted). 

Cape Dated Tawny – single-vintage tawny.


 Sherry Style wines

There are eight classes of sherry -style wines as set out in the South African Liquore Act. The colour of these wines must be nutty and woody. 

Sherry-style wines are marketed as Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Pale Cream, Pale Dry, Medium Dry, Full Cream and Old Brown in South Africa.

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