(2018) Noval's late-bottled vintage Port comes from a single vineyard and, unlike cheaper LBV's, the unfiltered wine will cellar and improve over many years - though its long ageing in cask also means it will drink well from the day of release. This is much more vinous, cherry-scented and immediately dark and firm on the nose compared to the Muscat tasted alongside, though it does have some little violetty floral aspects. On the palate the stripe of liquorice and rasp of plum skins, as well as quite definite tannins, all gives an edge to the sweet and juicy cherry fruit and cocoa richness of the wine. A beauty and on offer at £17.95 for a full bottle in Ocado until 1st January 2019. Use the wine-searcher link for other stockists. Watch the video for more information.
(2017) Colheitas are single vintage Ports, but aged for a long, long time in barrels so they are tawny, mature and ready to drink on release, unlike 'Vintage Ports', which are released just a couple of years after the harvest and which will improve with extended cellaring in bottle. This from the ripe 2003 vintage is delightful I must say, filled with ripe, dark vine fruits and spices on the nose, touches of walnut, and on the palate creamy and rich, custardy fruit, huge raisin juiciness and sweetness, the mellow alcohol adding pleasing warmth and more spice in the finish. A treat in its attractive half bottle.
(2017) Unusually, this wine is being offered in magnum or half bottle only (note price quoted is for a half bottle). It's mostly Touriga Franca, but as is normal for Port there's a host of other varieties in the blend inlcuding Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Nacional. It's a beautifully solid and in its way, 'masculine', style of Port, with rich black fruit, chocolate and a hint of kirsch cherries on the nose. Sweet, smooth, mouth-filling and luscious, the spirit is already elegantly amalgamated with the fruit and creamy tannins, and it retains very good acid freshness. Drinking so nicely, but no doubt capable of considering cellaring - especially those magnums.
(2015) Like their Margaux, BBR have gone to a top producer in the shape of Port house Dow for this wine, a blend of three top Port vintages, bottled in 2004. Traditonal 'crusted' Port is matured for 18 months or so in cask and aims to give the quality of Vintage Port at a lower price. In this case a full 10 years in bottle has produced a beaufifully mellow wine, not at all spirity, but filled with crushed, pulpy red fruits, exotic spice, floral, violet notes and hints of cocoa. On the palate it is sweet and soft, the richness and ripeness of the fruit supported by that chocolaty character and with the alcohol and acidity giving an authoritative, fresh finish. Have it with Stilton by all means, but I'd be even happier sipping a glass of it on its own after Christmas dinner (£19.75 by the six-bottle case).
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