(2020) The table wines of Port producer Quinta do Noval are excellent, but until this vintage the tiny production of their white wine meant it did not reach the UK market. Now, a small shipment is with UK importer Gonzalez Byass, and is available from selected independent retailers. From vineyards at over 500 metres altitude, it's a blend of the local Viosinho and Gouveio, planted on schist soils. Very pale green in colour, there's a mineral and citrus intensity about the nose, but there's a lovely suggestion of salts and gentle summer floral notes too, combining both a sense of concentration and delicacy. In the mouth the wine has a very similar tension, it is full and sweet-fruited as it flows across the mid-palate, but then that mineral salts and citrus zest grip and brightness gives it real mouth-watering intensity. Long, very pure, this would be very good with white fish I think, though Noval suggest poultry too.
(2020) Deeply saturated purple/black, there's some similarity to the Romaneira aromatically, with those herbal and ashy nuances to the black fruit, a great sense of concentration and purity too. Just superb in the mouth. The gloss and the weight of the black fruit is fabulous - silk and satin, but the cocoa and damson depth is given additional luminescence by a sweet confture blueberry, before the suede-like, very fine tannins wrap themselves around the finish, the juicy acidity already very well integrated. This is a sensuous and fully-realised young Port, surely with decades ahead of it. Available in-bond, as a six-bottle case, from many fine wine merchants in the UK at time of writing.
(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) Very deep and opaque in colour, there's a fascinating floral and honeyed note to the aroma, perhaps herbal, but not green, more a slightly exotic touch of pot pourri perhaps. In the mouth this is dense and beautifully sweet and smooth, with a balsamic richness and intense sweet blueberry fruit. Luscious, the firm line of acidity and grippy, spicy tannin kicks in to remind you this is a baby. The wine has richness and weight of sweet fruit concentration, but structure too. It's an approachable and 'pretty' Port this, giving masses of immediate pleasure. Will be shipped October/November 2020.
(2020) Another very dense and dark wine, staining the sides of the glass. Darker, earthier and more leathery than the Offley, brooding is the word, liquorice and tar and dark mulled fruits. In the mouth super sweetness here - sweeter than the Offley in perception at least, with a dusty, chocolate-deep edge to the mulberry and blueberry fruit. Smooth and chocolatey in terms of its tannins too, that sweetness carries through confidently, set against a juiciness of cherry and cherry skins acid, spices too, in a very deeply flavoured and powerhouse Port that will need time. No UK stockists of this listed at time of review, but Hic! wine merchant has the 2016 so an indicative price has been based on that.
(2020) Sandeman is perhaps the most dense, almost black colour of the three Sogrape 2018s tasted here. A lovely sense of kirsch-like ripeness and purity here, maybe even Black Forest gateau, with its density of cherry and depth of chocolate. There's a lovely floral lift too, edged with violet and ashy aromatics. In the mouth it is, in some ways, the marriage of the Offley and Ferreira, with the sweet, opulent fruit and creamy openess of the Offley, but the muscle and brooding depth, and structural elements, of the Ferreira. A sumptuous 2018 this, drinking surprisingly well now but undoubtedly built for the long haul. It is the best Sandeman I have every tasted. No retail listings for the 2018 as yet, so price and stockist quoted is for the 2016, and is indicative only.
(2020) Great sipped with ice or made into a long drink with tonic and lemon. Tasted on its own, the mose is all about creamy orchard fruit and waxy citrus. Sweetness is full and the spirit gentle on the palate, nice texture and finishing with good acidity.
(2020) Aged five to six years in wood before bottling, this has a crushed red fruit softness to, a gentle woody tone hinting at truffle. Lovely dry extract against the sweetness, pure fruit and beautifully balanced, long and so gentle in the finish.
(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.