(2019) A Manzanilla, made from the Palomino grape grown in Jerez, and aged in a solera system in the humid conditions around Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Tasted from a white wine glass, this pale yellow, 15% alcohol Sherry does have the distinctive iodine tang of briny sea air, as well as dry nut husk and apple notes. On the palate it is intense and oh so dry, but it is rich, again it is nuttiness that floods the palate here, with that fresh and vital salty acidity giving great length. Pound for pound in terms of world wine quality, these Sherries remain such a bargain. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Price and stockists below for half bottles. Full bottles in Waitrose and others, at around £11.00.
(2018) A stunning, stunning dry Madeira, at 60 years old and what a treat to taste one of the world’s great wines with surely another 50 years ahead of it. Shellac and walnut notes lead on to a bone-dry palate of Seville orange that has searing intensity. Oh, for a bowl of salted almonds with this contemplative wine.
(2018) Tasted alongside the Blandy's 1968 vintage Sercial, a bone-dry but absolutely magnificent sister Madeira, this was just stunning at 71 years of age. Nut brown in colour, the nose a soulful, burnished depth of walnut and Seville orange marmalade, toffee and dark Agen prune notes along with spices and tobacco. With just over 100g/l of residual sugar it is sweet without being cloying, with classic Madeira firmness and vitality, magically tangy and bright with electric acidity perfectly balanced against the sumptuous spices and dark, tea-steeped dark fruit flavours. Wines like this almost defy scores and descriptions. What a treat if you can afford it (price for a half bottle).
(2018) This eight-year-old Muscat from the Riverina region is a classic style, sweet, dark and sumptuous fruit is harvested very ripe, a little brandy added to fortify it, as in Port wine, before its long, long ageing in barrel. It is flooded with coffee, walnut and sweet, plump raisin aromas, but that lifted floral note of the Muscat is in there too. Thick and luxurious on the palate, there's loads of sweetness here, like sticky-toffee pudding in a glass, but underpinned by that sumptuous chocolate and coffee into a long finish, very nicely balance by a cherry-fresh acidity. Price for 37.5cl half bottle. Watch the video for more information.
(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.
(2018) A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão foot-trodden in lagares, before spending 18 months in barrel at the quinta in the Douro. Black as pitch, the nose is at once meaty and suffused with rich, dark, chocolaty berries, a little kirsch-like lift adds to the charm, elegance and complexity. In the mouth there's a very unforced feeling of concentration, the fruit deep and creamy, but the agile, mineral acidity and rasp of firm tannin giving a juiciness and length. Like all of these 2016's, Noval needs time, but is a beauty in the making. 82g/l Residual sugar.
(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.
(2018) Touriga Nacional (30%), Touriga Franca (30%), Tinta Roriz (30%) and Sousão (10%). Not as flaboyantly fruit-forward as either the Barros or Burmester at this stage, classic young vintage Port notes of blue/black fruit, tight and supple, a touch graphite and slightly inky nose. On the palate filled with smooth, sweet fruit, unruffled by tannins, a keen cherry acidity, long and sweet, raisin flavours with a bittersweet edge and cherry acids. I suspect this had considerable potential but is possibly the most closed of the Sogevinus wines at this cask sample stage. 96g/l of Residual Sugar.
(2018) Touriga Franca (40%), Tinta Roriz (30%), Touriga Nacional (20%) and Tinta Barroca (10%). Opaque and dark, there's a touch of meat-stock and woodiness, then dark-roasted coffee beans on the nose, but there is lift too, with a little floral and kirsch character to follow. Extremely rich and sweet on the palate, a real depth of raisin and Maraschino cherry fruitiness, backed up by chocolate and more coffee-bean espresso. A hugely ripe and sweet young Port this, of very good quality. 92g/l of Residual Sugar.