(2019) This single quinta vintage wine is immediately darker and more dense in character than the 2013 LBV, with cassis and black cherry, a little more drying tannin, grippy, serious with lovely freshening acidity. Young.
(2019) Paler and more delicate colour, rather more raisin and dried fig aromas, smokiness and tobacco. Immediately more luxurious, a velvet texture and pure, sweet, the luscious plump fruit and nuttiness giving complexity and richness against the acidity. Fabulous.
(2018) Touriga Nacional (50%) and Touriga Franca (50%), from vines more than 25 years old. Quite similar to the Barros, but with a lighter, more ashy quality to the aromatics, sappy and fresh, a touch rose-hip in an understated but attractive nose. Super-sweet and super-ripe again, but decisive, slightly higher acid character to this that gives light and precision, backed up with some tannin structure, but the very sweet berry fruit is buoyant and juicy, in quite a different style from the richer Barros. 91g/l of Residual Sugar.
(2018) Touriga Nacional (50%), Old mixed vineyards over 50 years old (50%). Arguably the darkest, most saturated colour of the four Sogevinus 2016s tasted, chocolaty, dark and brooding on the nose, meat-stock and a dark berry fruit coming through. Darkly-fruited palate, a real sense of tannic grip here, drying the mouth with concentrated black fruit essence, but there is a little violetty note here too, suggesting it has more to give. Could well be the wine in this line-up to benefit most from ageing. 91g/l of residual sugar.
(2017) Noval is one of the greatest names in Port production, and I can also heartily recommend the 10-year-old version of this wine which is much cheaper at around £20 for a full bottle if you shop around, but this 20-year-old - the average age of the wines in the blend - is in such a sweet spot that it had to be my choice. It is mellow, nuttier and more figgy than the Kopke Colheita tasted alongside, deeper and more ruby-tinged, and the palate is just a raft of chocolate, sweet berries, tobacco and spice, the long elegant finish so beautifully balanced between the sweetness, a bittersweet marmalade acidity and seamless alcohol. Majestic stuff. Price for a full bottle and quite widely available - use the wine-searcher link.
(2017) A Port-method wine, but made from the aromatic Moscatel in the Douro by Rui Cunha. It's basically in the style of a 10-year-old tawny Port, the nose showing a touch of floral Muscat character, but more the mellow and walnutty notes of its long wood ageing, dried apricot, lemon and a touch of ginger spice. In the mouth the spirit gives heat, but there's some rich toast and marmalade character and that lovely sweetness lingers. A fine wine to match with blue cheeses, or to sip with some almonds perhaps. Price is for 50cl.
(2015) From one of the Douro Valley's great estates and a fine producer of the LBV style, where the wines are given long aging in barrel so they are approachable immediately on release. This is infused with chocolate and dark fudge-like aromas, but on top sit all sorts of lifted, kirsch and floral nuances, lovely ethereal glimpses of all sorts of exoticism. In the mouth it is sweet, solid and chocolate-rich, with excellent acidity and tannin balance for drinking now or cellaring. Around £20 - £24, Ocado, Oddbins and see all stockists on wine-searcher.com. Note that Berry Bros sell a similar 2009 LBV made for them by Noval at £16.99
(2014) Bottled in a ship's decanter, so ready to grace the table immediately, this has a rich tawny colour and a pungent, powerful nose, the walnut and shellac, old polished wood character is authentic and lovely with raisin and coffee intensity and plenty of layered complexity. The palate has a lovely cut of Seville orange bittersweetness, scything through the toffee and mocha of the palate, with very good acidity and the soft brown sugar depth delightful. Balanced, serious and very fine.
(2012) There is a lot of sediment in this 31-year-old Port, so make sure you decant it well before serving, ideally strained through muslin - or indeed an unbleached coffee filter paper. The effort will be worth it because the aromas from this old wine are immediately beguiling, with chocolate and deep, prune and date compote notes, hints of anise and other spices and touches of smoky, swirling tobacco. In the mouth it has full sweetness, the spirit nicely balanced by ripe, creamy red fruits, more of that chocolate character and fig, date and raisin intensity. A lovely wine with a long, long finish.
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