Putting into Port at De Krans
Experience 4.0 Klein Karoo Wine 4.0

Putting into Port at De Krans

DE KRANS WINES
Thursday 26 December 2019
http://dekrans.co.za/

Dr Peter Rating – Experience: 4/5
Dr Peter Rating –
Wines: 4/5

Visiting De Krans was a spur of the moment decision. Calitzdorp was the night stop for the second day of my trip down Route 62. I did not know where else I was going other than Route 62. The trip to Jeffrey’s Bay had been a ‘bucket list’ ambition for several years. Even better if I could sneak in some wine tastings along the way. It being the Xmas/New Year period and close to harvest this was perhaps easier said than done. Thus, late on Boxing Day afternoon, I found myself on the edge of Calitzdorp village some 400 miles from Cape Town on the Western edge of the Klein Karoo. Best known as one of the important Cape Port producers in this hot semi-arid inland region, I was looking forward also to tasting some wines. If my memory serves me right, the Tritonia red blend was a previous Best Non-Bordeaux Red Blend winner at the 2017 Old Mutual Awards.

De Krans

De Krans

I parked in the shade beside the road a short distance away from the main entrance. The small white painted Tasting Room nestles beside the vineyards with shaded outdoor seating spilling over from the inside. The vines were heavy with grapes with long stems and V-shaped trellising to raise them above the ground. I learned after that these were Hanepoot, for public picking in February when ripe, and not for winemaking. The Tasting Room was busy – I sensed mostly with local guests – who were enjoying their wines and a light lunch from the Deli or Bistro. Xmas carols played through the Tasting Room speakers which, as a Brit used to chilly Xmases, still seems weird.

De Krans

De Krans

Wine tasting was a very affordable R40 for 6 wines (waived on bottle purchase). I ordered a cheese platter (R125) that was large enough to share with my fiancée. It was made up with bread and toast, 4 small cheese portions and a choice of 3 sides. Choosing 6 wines was quite a challenge given the number of and range of wines and styles available. It was good to share different tastings with my partner which made the choice a little easier. De Krans wines essentially fall into 3 groupings: Sparkling (MCC and Moscato Perlé); white, rosé and red table wines; and fortified and Port-style wines.

De Krans

De Krans

I sampled as broad a range as I could, beginning with the Tritonia White from the Flagship Terroir Range. Made from 70-year old Malvasia Rei (Palomino) and Verdelho, the two wines were blended after 4 months each on the lees with 15 months of barrel fermentation. The wine was served from a tall, heavy bottle and needed cooling to have been at its best (it was over 30ºC outdoors). Pale lemon in colour, the nose showed a mix of green and citrus notes – lemon, lime, lemongrass, green herbs and a mineral saltiness – that were simpler on the palate, showing vanilla flavours from the oak, with a medium+ acidity. This was my favourite wine.

De Krans

Next was the Free Run Chenin Blanc from the entry Classic Range. The R58 price showed. Whilst it was an obvious Chenin Blanc with fresh aromas of tropical guava, ripe lemon and mango, the intensity was modest. This was matched on the palate that was dry with more citrus flavours and a short finish.

De Krans

De Krans

I was excited to taste a Pinot Noir that was made using grapes grown in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, hence the Garden Route name and Wine of Origin Outeniqua. Pale garnet in colour and showing some signs of ageing from the 2016 vintage, the wine showed an uncharacteristic ripeness of jammy red plum, redcurrant and black cherry on the nose with slight pepper spiciness. I might have bought the wine until I tasted it. I was reminded how few Pinot Noir do well away from a cool climate. Almost certainly better had the wine been chilled, it needed more depth, layering of flavour, bite and length. I sensed the fruits had already tailed off as it had aged in the bottle.

De Krans

De Krans

I much preferred the more robust Tinta Roriz from the Terroir Range. The first of the red Portuguese varieties I tasted, the wine was an inky deep purple in colour. There was an intensity of aroma that contrasted with the Pinot Noir – port-like and oxidised – with ripe black cherry, dark plum, cassis, ripe blueberry and herbs. These gave way to dry, earthy, dusty and chewy tannins on the palate to balance the 13.0% alcohol and medium length.

De Krans

De Krans

I rated the Touriga Nacional almost the same. The variety was first planted in 1994 and made into a single variety wine in 2000 aided by the continental climate and shallow clay Karoo soils that are not unlike the hot, dry Douro Valley in Portugal. The wine was similar in colour with ripe red as well as black fruits, including cassis and bramble to match an earthy spicy clove and cinnamon nose (no doubt from 12 months maturation in 3rd/4th fill French oak barrels). This was a definite food wine with firm drying, earthy tannins, though the 13.5% alcohol appeared less than expected, that filled the mouth and offered a medium+ finish.

De Krans

De Krans

De Krans dates back to 1890 when it was bought by the Nel family. The 78-hectare estate remains family owned. Chris and brother Danie built the Cellar that is behind the Tasting Room in 1964. Chris planted the first Portuguese grapes in 1973 albeit unintentionally. There’s a parallel here to Carmenère and Merlot in Chile where supposed imported Merlot turned out to be Carmenère. The intended Shiraz that was planted in 1973 turned out in 1976 to be Tinta Barocca when the first grapes were produced. Further Portuguese varieties have been planted since 1985. Today, De Krans has 45 hectares under vine – there are peaches, apricots and the Hanepoot too – with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon together with the Port-producing varieties of Touriga National, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarella and Souzao. Red wines amount to half of the production (50%) followed by fortified wines (37%), with 10% white wines and 3% Rosé.

De Krans

De Krans

The next wine I tasted was entirely different, a White Moscato made in Natural Sweet Perlé style. Perlé usually refers to a lightly carbonated wine that is often pink in colour (after the German grape of the same name). The Moscato was all that I expected: vibrant in character with floral and perfumed jasmine, Turkish delight, rose petal and grapey Muscat de Frontignan aromas and flavours; sweet on the palate with medium- acidity and low alcohol (7.5%). This was a pleasant, easy-drinking wine and perfect for a summer’s day like today. The wine was great value for money too at just R58.

De Krans

De Krans

As indicated above, I had tasted the Tritonia before. De Krans call it a Calitzdorp blend (as opposed to a Cape or Bordeaux Blend) as it is made from 5 Portuguese varieties: Touriga National, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarella and Souzao. These are typically used to make Port and Cape Port but these cultivars are increasing being made into table wines, even single cultivar wines. The Tritonia was deep garnet in colour with early signs of ageing at the rim (2016 vintage). Blackberry, cassis, plum, dark cherry black fruits were luscious and ripe with spices on the nose and palate. Dusty tannins – benefiting from 12 months maturation in 2nd/3rd fill French oak barrels – and high alcohol (14.0%) gave the wine a full body in the mouth with layers of flavour for an extended length at the finish.

De Krans

De Krans

I sampled one Port in my tasting selection, the Cape Vintage Reserve. Sediment at the bottom of the glass showed this was unfiltered. The nose showed intense dried black fruits and the oxidation. This was confirmed on the palate with rich flavours of black plums, prunes, hazelnut and Dundee marmalade matured over 20 months in large vats. The Cape Port warmed by its 19.0% alcohol to give a medium sweetness of character.

De Krans

De Krans

The Tasting Room Manager, Chris, asked me to taste the Pinotage Rosé that was of 2019 vintage. The wine was a very pale pink to show very little extraction with mostly strawberry and raspberry fruits on the nose. Dry acidity came to the fore on the palate to overpower the delicate fruits. The crisp mouthfeel was too sharp and biting for my preference.

De Krans

De Krans

A visit to Calitzdorp and to sample the Wines of Origin from the Klein Karoo and Calitzdorp was long overdue. De Krans offered me an insight to how dry the region is and the challenge to balance vine growth and crop and the need for excellent water management. The range of De Krans wines was impressive to reflect a willingness to experiment and try new styles, notwithstanding the accidental history behind the first Portuguese grape planting. The wines were generally very good with a broad price range that reflected in their quality. I would have liked then to have been served cooler and at the right temperature. This is never easy for Tasting Rooms at intense peak visitor periods and so I am willing to set this imperfection aside and award a 4/5 experience rating. In sum, do visit De Krans if you are near Calitzdorp. Better still, venture down Route 62 and make a night stop of it.

#capewinelover #DrPeter

Wines tasted (bought *):

Sparkling:

2019 White Moscato Natural Sweet Perlé – R58*

White:

2017 Tritonia White (Malvasia Rei, Verdelho) – R150* FAVOURITE WINE
2019 Free Run Unwooded Chenin Blanc – R58

Rosé:

2019 Pinotage Rosé – R58

Red:

2016 Garden Route Pinot Noir – R120 (reduced to R80)
2018 Tinta Roriz – R90
2017 Touriga Nacional – R100
2016 Tritonia Calitzdorp Blend (Touriga National, Tinta Barocca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarella, Souzao) – R185

Fortified:

2016 Cape Vintage Reserve (87% Touriga National, 13% Tinta Barocca) – R295

De Krans

You Might Also Like

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Blush-endal!

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Au Revoir France!

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Being Creative at Flagstone

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

History in Every Glass at Overgaauw

Late at Lateganskop

Red Chair in the Morning

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Wines Merely to Lust After

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

All Green at Villiera

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

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

Simple Spier

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

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

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Alto Reaches Heights with the M.P.H.S.

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Altitudes with Wine!

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Relaxing Rosendal

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Beyond Expectation

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

No Blues at Hillcrest

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Stellenrust Eagerly Impresses

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Red and White Cab – and So Much More – at Asara

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

KLEIN KAROO KARUSA!

Morgenhof in the Morning

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Cheers! Or Beers?!

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Diploma Done and Dusted – But for the Final Result – I Passed!

Mutual Attraction

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Perdeberg Earns Its Stripes

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay

Colmant Sparkled

It’s High Time Again

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Boutique de Brendel

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

No Black Marks at Raka

More Still at Tanagra

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

DeWaal Sits Atop the Pinotage Hill

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Wines to Love on Love Street

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Individual Quality at Jordan

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Great Value in the Swartland

Iconic Steenberg

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

More than Just a Destination

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Hidden Valley and Its Wines are Revealed

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

An Early Start at Rietvallei

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Leave a Reply

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