(2021) Pedro Ximénez, or 'PX' grapes are used to make this style: the darkest, stickiest, sweetest and richest of Sherries. The fully-ripe grapes are dried to increase their concentration, which results in a wine that pours mahogany brown, with raisin, chocolate and dried Chinese plum spiciness on the nose, and an engine-oil thick texture in the mouth. Flooded with sweet, plump dried fruits, a lovely edge of coffee and walnut, and just the right zesty orange and lemon acidity, balances the finish. At £12.95 for a full 75cl bottle this is a bargain, for sipping after dinner or matching to rich chocolate or Christmassy-style puddings. Watch the video for more infortmation and food-matching ideas.
(2020) This recently released wine is currently available by the six-bottle case, with equivalent per bottle price shown. It will become more widely available, but note: the excellent 2003 vintage is currently £10 off in Ocado, down to £32.99, until 2nd January 2020.
(2020) This is a Manzanilla 'Pasada', so a slightly darker, older style of wine and a little nuttier than a typical Manzanilla. This is also 'en Rama', so bottled unfiltered, basically straight from the cask. It has a light- to medium gold colour and arresting nose of chamomile, shellac, walnut and bruised apple fruit. There's a liniment-like pungency. On the palate it is dry, but richly-textured, with walnut and nutty Cox's pippin fruit, a hint of orange too, and a delicious saline and citrus finish. This would be a terrific festive aperitif with olives or nuts perhaps.
(2020) Noval's Late Bottled Vintage is unflitered and unlike many LBV's will improve in the bottle as it cellars, but is best decanted off of its sediment. Having spent over five years in barrel, it's a glorious wine, crimson-black in colour, with a soaring perfume of cherry and violet, blackcurrant, vanilla and spices. In the mouth there is abundant sweetness, ripe black and red berries, with a chocolaty density, super-smooth tannins and a pert cherry acidity to keep it on its toes. With around 90g/l of residual sugar this is definitely sweet, but retains a lovely freshness too. For mince pies or Christmas pudding, also hard and blue cheeses, a banker.
(2020) From the 'Rare' category of Rutherglen Muscats, the average age of wines in this blend is 20 years, the vineyards betwen 15 and 50 years old. It matures in a variety of barrel sizes, and has 312g/l of residual sugar. Easily the darkest of the samples here, just a little tawny at the rim, but the glass stained toffee-brown as you swirl the wine. Shellac, polished wood and old crackling varnish, the depth here speaks of the wine's passage of time, not so much of the fruit. The palate is thick as engine oil, like a PX Sherry maybe, fabulous dark Muscavado sugar and raisins, such depth touching on espresso and Seville orange, nutty, and so warming into an endless finish with such intense sweetness.
(2020) There's 269g/l of residual sugar in this wine, where the average age of barrels in the blend is seven years, and vines are aged from 15 to 100 years old. Aged in a variety of oak, ranging in size from 220-litre barrels to 5,500-litre casks - some of the casks 100 years old. Considerably darker than the Cambells Classic, and darker aromatically too, with polished wood, dark winter spices, and more shellac, prune and raisin characters. In the mouth this is super-slick and thick, positively glycerine rich, with a darker, apparantly drier profile, but such intensity, such depth and richness of flavour, edged with dark and dusty cocoa into a very long finish.
(2020) The average age of wines in this solera-style blend is five years, with vines 32- 52 years old. Residual sugar runs at 220g/l. Lovely tawny into toffee colour, beautiful nose of intense rum-soaked sultanas and walnuts, just a tantalising hint of briny shellac. On the palate it is thick and viscous, liquidised sultanas and raisins are delicious, a little orange and toffee, and a very smooth finish, the sweetness persisting to the end. A Christmas pudding or mince-pie treat, or with any chocolate dessert.
(2020) Stanton & Killeen's Classic wine has an average age of 12 years in the solera, vines planted in 1921, 1968, 1985, 1996 and 2002. It has 282.5g/l of residual sugar and is aged in large oak casks. Another dark wine, amber on the rim, and the aromatics brighter than the Chambers, but there's a dry, nut husk note that grounds the aromatics, maybe something like physillis, coffee and raisins. In the mouth fabulous richness and a lovely edge of red apple acidity to this that balances the sumptuous sweet, dark, raisined vine fruits and lusciousness.
(2020) Moving on to the class of 'Grand' Muscats, the average age of wines in this blend is 18 years, the vines up to 36 years old. The wines spend time in a variety of barrel sizes, and stay there for between three and 30 years. It has 297/l of residual sugar. The darkest wine so far, but still with amber on the rim. A more subtle, coffee-touched, deep and fudge-like aroma, there is dark vine fruit and polished wood. In the mouth a thick, super-concentrated and intense wine, toast and rum and raisin fudge, Christmas cake fruit and spices, but staying so espresso-dark and toffeed too, it finishes with a blast of lip-smacking citrus acidity.
(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.