The notion of “dikvoet” wines.

“Dikvoet” is an Afrikaans term used to describe a particular older Cape wine style and its use has always fascinated me. Translated it means thick-foot and that is exactly what those wines were; thick, dense, full & heavy. Wine reporter Andrew Marais once described it as wine which had to be put through a sieve before it could be drunk. But we also know that many wines of this style have aged very well. Marais wrote in 1997 of a tasting he attended of Nederburg Cabernets ranging from 1962 – 1996. He cited the 64 and 74 as his top wines and quoted the analysis for the 1960’s Cabernets as follows: alcohol slightly below 13%, Acid < 5g, Sugar of 3g with a Ph of 3.6 to 3.7. Marais also alluded to a sweet nutty taste evident on the wines of the 60’s. It follows that the wines were fairly high in sugar and weak in acid which goes against the conventional wisdom that a low ph is needed for longevity. During the 80’s producers started to move toward lighter style wines, which Marais attributed among other things to new plant material and the introduction of new wood.

References:
Marais, A. 1989. Dikvoetwyne al meer ‘onder bed gevee’. Die Burger. 17 June, P13.
Marais, A. 1991. Die gespierde rooie en sy makkers. Die Burger. 19 July, P4.
Marais, A. 1997. Wynfondament is rotsvas gele. Die Burger. 31 Oktober, P6.

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