All is Not Lost in a Safe Port
Experience 3.5 Swartland Wine 4.0

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Friday 22 September 2017

Experience: 3.5/5
Wines: 4/5

Amanda was swapping English with Afrikaans with the ease of a screw cap as she told the attentive guests the history of Allesverloren. The name originates from when settlers returned in 1704 to the farm after a wagon trip in and around Stellenbosch. They found the buildings burned and all destroyed by fire. ‘Allesverloren’ means ‘all is lost’. Fast forward a hundred years to 1806 and the farm is producing the first port. It remains one of the oldest wine producers in the Swartland and one of 5 port producers in South Africa.



Allesverloren has been in the hands of the Malan family for 140 years. The estate has since grown and developed, initially growing wheat only but then turning to make a sweet fortified dessert wine that became the estate’s flagship port. Today, only red grapes are grown in the stony Kasteelberg soils and the vineyards extend to 227 hectares. All but 1 of the 7 cultivars grown are Portuguese varieties, and with some interesting double story pruning. It seemed strange that there is no Portuguese link to the family other than the history of port production.



The Tasting Room is in the original winemaker’s house that is the oldest building on the farm. The view from the elevated stoep outside the Tasting Room towards the Winterhoek Mountains was superb. Inside, there was little room for more than a dozen tasters. I selected wines made with the Portuguese cultivars as these are not frequently grown in South Africa. I avoided the ‘port’ – in inverted commas due to the place of origin naming regulations – because I was driving and the alcohol content is too high.


I began with the Tinta Rosé in elegant gold and white labelled bottle. It was pleasant enough and all that a Rosé should be: pale salmon in colour; with aromas of fresh raspberry and strawberry; crisp and light on the palate. It made a perfect aperitif for the Touriga Naçional after that has been made since 2000. Usually made into port or blended in a Douro Portuguese red wine, I had tasted once as a single variety wine before – at Bergsig near Wolseley. Barrel-aged and matured to match the 2015 vintage, the wine was full of luscious cranberry, cherry, raspberry and currant aromas. Big, dry tannins filled the palate and perhaps a little more than the fruits flavours. It was my favourite wine.



The Tinta Barocca had recently been bottled and so was still young. ‘Sharp on the tongue, chalky on the teeth’ was how Amanda described it. Deeper than and medium-bodied like the Touriga Naçional, it had similar prominent tannins and a high acidity. I liked the prominent cherry, cranberry and light spice flavours.



It seemed strange to end with a Shiraz but Amanda was keen for me to taste. The wine was made in a lighter style, with flavours of pepper spice, dark chocolate, cassis, mulberry and blackberry. Nonetheless, the tannins made up for the apparent lightness, holding onto the palate for a lingering finish.



Allesverloren was a perfect mini-tasting for me. The range of wines was compact yet interesting. There were no tricky decisions to be made. No food to think about or souvenirs to consider. I went to taste the Portuguese cultivar wines and that is what I did. Visit if you are passing and seek something different to taste and explore.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2017 Tinta Rosé (Shiraz, Tinta Barocca, Petit Verdot) – R55


2016 Touriga Naçional – R110 FAVOURITE WINE
2015 Tinta Barocca – R110*
2015 Shiraz – R110



You Might Also Like

Class in Glass at Glenelly

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Iconic Steenberg

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Noble Wines without the Rot

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Wines to Love on Love Street

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

It’s High Time Again

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

More Still at Tanagra

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Wheels Turn Full ‘Cycle’ at Meerendal

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Beyond Expectation

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard


Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Proudly Keeping it in the Family at Paul Cluver – or Not?

Great Value in the Swartland

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Champagne and Brandies left Me Disappointed

Horsepower in the Vineyard

More than Just a Destination

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Red Chair in the Morning

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

No Black Marks at Raka

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

Judge and be Judged!

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel


  1. Great Value in the Swartland – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] is more commonly made into Port wines – though I had done so at the previous tasting at Allesverloren. Pale in body and pale ruby in appearance, I liked the cranberry, bitter-sweet cherry and spicy […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *