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Allesverloren’s Trés Vermelhos


There’s something that happens to my face when presented with a wine varietal that hails from another country. A slight tilt and lift of the head, pursing of the lips and my eyes narrowly fixed just beyond the tip of my nose. Then the faux-oenophile in me takes over: a swirl, a sniff, a careful sip, and… ‘It’s oh-kaay I guess,’ I reluctantly admit, ‘but I prefer a Steen.’ It’s not that I don’t adore a Rhône blend, and I’ve been known to tuck into a Chianti from time to time, it’s just that, well, I’m proud of our own abundant wine valleys and their speciality cultivars – the reasonably priced, juicy, fruity, complex dee-frikkin-licious local wines I imbibe on the weekly. But that’s not to say we should close our minds (and mouths) to the delightful varietals that find their origins overseas, as acclaimed Swartland winery Allesverloren hopes to show us… Fifth generation winemaker Danie Malan has focused on the Douro region in Portugal, known for its deep, dark and dusty reds that are used in the production of port. And if any South African vineyard has the chops to handle port grapes, it's these guys – Allesverloren's Fine Old Vintage is a port by any other name. A new territory for the winemaker, Tinta Barocca, Touriga Nacional (both previously only used as single varietals), and Souazo are blended to create Allesverloren’s Trés Vermelhos 2012 (R150) – an oddly light, jubilantly juicy and subtly soft wine. With a slight hint of oak (from the French oak barrels that it sat in for just over a year) and beautiful berries, the gentle flavour envelops your mouth, and goes down easily – no sharp flavours here! The conclusion? If you're going to explore international cultivars (and you should!), make sure you try the South African iterations from highly skilled winemakers that are producing outstanding flavours and unforgettable blends. Text Jessica Ross