Allesverloren Port justly famous

Thursday, 7 October, 2010
Cape Legends
Allesverloren is one of the first names to come to mind when people discuss port in South Africa. Not only has it been around for close on 60 years, but it is still one of the most esteemed and, judging by its sales, also one of the most popular in the local market.
The story of Allesverloren Port started with Daniël François Malan, grandfather of the present owner, Danie Malan, who in 1945 inherited Allesverloren with his brother on the death of their father, Stephanus. The two brothers divided the farm between them and Daniël François (one can assume he was also called Danie, but to avoid confusion with the present owner, let’s stick to his full name) inherited that half of the farm on which the old homestead still stands.

It was Daniël François who turned what was primarily a wheat farm into a wine farm. His forebears dabbled a bit in wine, but wheat was their main crop, as it still is in large parts of the Swartland. Some of the 500 ha he inherited, stretched up against the slopes of the Kasteelberg, with the old homestead at its foot, on land ideally suited to winegrowing.

For some reason he was keen on making a red port. Those who know, claim Table Mountain sandstone, which is prevalent on the farm, is the ideal soil type for port cultivars. Daniël François didn't know much about winemaking so he asked the advice of Prof C J Theron, head of the Department of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University and the man who played a crucial role in the development of Pinotage. Under Theron's guidance he started planting well-known port cultivars such as Tinta Barocca, Malvasia Rey, Souzão and Tinta Roriz.

By the middle of the 1950s Allesverloren was gaining an enviable reputation for its port. In both 1956 and 1957 the estate won the Cape Wine Show trophy for the best port wine. However, the new popularity of port was relatively short-lived for in the 1960s the interest of wine consumers had shifted elsewhere with the focus increasingly on table wines.

But the Malans did not give up on their port. In 1961 Daniël François sold the farm to his two sons, with the area around the old homestead going to Fanie, father of the present owner. To satisfy the needs of the market he started planting classic red-wine cultivars, but kept some of the port varieties such as the Tinta Barocca and the Souzão. The port cultivars continued to play an important role in winemaking on the farm and today Allesverloren's collection of four red wines include two made from primarily port cultivars, its Tinta Barocca and Touriga Nacional.

The decision of the Malan's over generations to remain loyal to their Allesverloren Port has been more than vindicated by the renewed interest in port in the local market which has seen sales of the wine forge ahead in recent years. Central to this success has been the present owner, Danie, who has been at the helm at Allesverloren since 1991. In the 2010 Platter's South African Wine Guide it again received a four and a half star rating. As it did the year before. And the year before that.


Allesverloren winemaker Danie Malan
Allesverloren winemaker Danie Malan

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