(2021) Ruby at the core with a broad tawny rim, Noval's 2007 Colheita is a single vintage Port of very high quality that was aged for 13 years in wooden barrels at the Noval cellar. That means it is a wine with wonderful maturity and instant drinkability, unlike Vintage Ports which often require decades after release to show their best. There are deep, soulful aromas of walnut and old polished wood, a twist of Seville orange and delightful hint of shellac in the mix. In the mouth terrific balance of sweetness and cherry-ripe fruit, with those aged notes, a liquorice intensity and concentration and such a creamy texture, flowing seamlessly into a sweet, beguiling finish with outstanding length. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This is a large estate upstream from the town of Pinhão, rehabilitated by Christian Seely and his investors who took over when it had fallen into some disrepair. Dark and opaque, quite a meaty and herbal nose here, less overtly sweet-fruited, an immediate sense of serious concentration. The nose pretty accurately predicts the palate here: there is sweetness and abundant black fruit flesh and ripeness, but as well as that blackcurranty richness of fruit, the ashy herbs, the leather and the meatiness give a more savoury character. Good freshness, though the tannin and acid axis is a little softer than some, making this meaty wine surprisingly approachable in its youth. Indicative price based on the previous vintage.
(2020) A much creamier character than the LBV, vinous too, black as well as red fruits. Nice earthiness. The sweetness and purity is excellent. So much pretty floral aroma and flavour here. The acidity and tannin starts to grip and play against the fruit into a long, poised finish.
(2020) A meatier, more umami nose than the Vargellas, the fruit less obvious, but with a lovely dark chocolate quality on the palate, real sweetness again, a tarry depth, and the dry, tannic finish suggesting this needs several more years.
(2020) Slightly more lift to the nose, a fine shellac and walnut note over red fruits. The palate has a delicious freshness and a nicely nutty, savoury character against the sweetness. Delicious length here, smoky tobacco and creaminess into a long, mellow finish. Many independent merchants stock this at between £32.50 and £36, but Costco members can buy for under £30.
(2020) Lovely plump creamy fruit here, more red fruits and a touch of vanilla or toffee. Beautifully fresh and fruity on the palate, The purity of the fruit glides across the mid-palate, fine cocoa and cherry acids to balance.
(2020) Lovely hint of ruby to the soft tawny colour. Gorgeous fudge and walnut character, hints of a pleasing shellac. Beautifully sweet and pure red fruit, coffee and lovely bitter orange and cocoa. Long and beautifully balanced.
(2020) Gorgeous lift to this single quinta Port, all violet an floral perfume, just becoming complex and the rim touching on tawny colour, raspberry and keen red fruit. The palate juicy and vital, again raspberry or red liquorice, lovely sweetness and concentration into a long finish. No UK retailers listed at time of review.
(2019) Aged tawnies bear an age statement that indicates their style and approximate age, though normally they are blends of various vintages chosen to create a consistent quality and character - in this case that spans wines between seven and 14 years old. After its considerable time in barrel, this has a toffee colour with hint of ruby at the core and an inviting nose of walnut and rich Muscavado sugar, plump raisins and a typical lift of shellac. On the palate it has a lovely sweetness, soft and creamy, the spirit beautifully subsumed beneath the lightly leafy but coffee-ish notes, Agen prune and raisins, and a very nicely balanced finish. What a charming 10-Year-Old. 136g/l of residual sugar.
(2019) Vintage Ports are made only in the best years, and Vasques de Carvalho's 2016 is a selection of their best from that harvest, matured for 12 months in 6,000-litre wooden barrels. It is bottled unfiltered and should be decanted for serving. A very deep, opaque colour, the aromas are dense, meaty and darkly vinous, blueberry and damson fruit with just a tiny floral inflection coming through in this very young wine. It strikes the palate with glorious sweetness, a ripe, creamy richness of black fruit, super-sweet and mouth-filling, the quality of spirit evident in the quiet way it supports. There's great balance here, chocolate richness and fruit, but elegant in terms of its acid, tannin and long finish. A wine that can be broached now for its sweet and charming fruit and youthful vigour, but which will also age for decades.