Tinta Barocca is the name given by South African growers to the Tintas das Baroccas vine. This grape has been grown in the country since the 1940s, and while it is most often used in order to make Cape Port (South Africa’s version of Port), in fact it can be used as a single-varietal wine, allowing growers both options when they are ready to harvest. The Tinta Barocca can have a very dark colour, but has plenty of tannins, giving it a good body with a velvety texture. This grape is considered to be suitable for growing in some of the colder areas of the South African Wine Regions, and is often used there to blend with other red wines to create drinks similar to Port.
Tinta Barocca was first grown in South Africa with the intention of making Port, a popular drink that is still made in many locations across the world. However, EU rulings in the past decade have prevented wine makers outside of Portugal from producing ‘Port’, and South Africa has agreed to abide by that decision, instead choosing to make ‘Cape Port‘, or ‘Cape blends’, which produce a finished wine basically identical to port, but without the name.
Due to those regulations, some wine makers in South Africa decided to instead concentrate upon making a single varietal from their Tinta Barocca grapes, and it is the only country in the world to produce this grape as a single varietal wine. It is often grown in Swartland, with the wines selected often being from decomposed granite. Swartland is ideal for the Tinta Barocca, because they have very cool winters, often with plenty of rainfall, and then warm, hot summers which also have winds blown in from the Atlantic, helping to cool off the vines and prevent them from becoming overheated. The grapes are often harvested in small amounts, allowing the wine makers to produce a limited number of this produce.
Since the years of Port, Allesverloren in the heart of Swartland has been growing Tinta Barocca, and the wine which has been produced is often of the highest quality. In the years when South Africa was still producing Port, Allesverloren won several awards for the Best Port wine, in 1956 and 57. It was desperately sought-after by most fans of Port, and it is still very popular despite the slight change of name. In 1961 the first attempt to produce a single-varietal wine from this grape was attempted, to much praise and admiration. The wine is still sought by wine drinkers across the globe, from the UK to Singapore. It is also popular on the domestic market too.
The grapes are handpicked from February to March, at the end of the summer, and then they are put into tanks with the skins, and allowed to ferment until the grapes are dry. The grapes are then placed on wood for a year and a half, before potentially being mixed with fruits and other spices to produce the finished wine.