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Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition panel review of Tawny Port (see blue link below).

Sogevinus Barros 10yo Tawny - January 2018 Decanter review

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports - old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Hand-harvested at their best moment, the grapes are destemmed, crushed and vinified in a careful maceration with extraction of colour, tannins and pellicle aromas, complemented by permanent pumping-over during fermentation. This process takes place in vats at a controlled temperature between 28-30ºC. At this phase grape brandy is added, creating a fortified wine. A wine of an exceptional quality, obtained by the selection of several harvests. It is matured in wood for variable periods of time and  the age mentioned on the label is an average age of the different wines used in blending this port. This is instrumental in the wine expressing its character which is influenced by the ageing in oak casks.

With a brown-tawny colour, the nose is dense with dried fruit aromas, with delicate vanilla and chocolate notes. The soft and silky texture and the subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a fresh acidity which culminates with a long and elegant finish.

When served slightly chilled, it is the ideal choice to serve with appetizers like strong cheeses. The velvety texture and the  aromatic expressions stand-out remarkably with main courses with dried fruits. Irresistible with pate as well as aubergine and nuts. Wonderful choice to serve with a myriad of delicious caramel brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavê and nuts crostini with goats cheese.

£21.75

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (1x 37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV - August 2018 Decanter review

The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s. 

The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.

Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.

The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.

£12.10

Fonseca Crusted Port (1x75cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

Crusted is a rare, traditional style of Port wine and Fonseca is one of the few firms that continue to produce it. Crusted is a blend of full bodied wines which spend four years ageing in large wooden vats, the wines are then bottled with no filtration and then cellared for three years before being released for sale. As the name indicates, it will form a 'crust' or sediment in the bottle and should be decanted before being served. The formation of the crust is a natural process that occurs in the finest full bodied ports. It is an indication that the wine will continue to improve in bottle and develop its aroma and character with age. Fonseca Crusted is selected from the finest ports from the top quality Cima Corgo area of the Douro Valley and only made in small quantities.

Fonseca Crusted Port has an impenetrable purple-black colour with a narrow magenta rim. It is elegant and understated, still youthful and tight, with impressive depth and background. The nose opens with a surge of pure brambly woodland fruit and hints of apricot and prune. Although still relatively closed and austere, it gradually opens up to reveal discreet notes of leather and exotic wood and delicate scents of violet. The full bodied palate is supported by a tight mesh of sinewy tannins and finishes with an assertive 'grip'.  The intense dark berry fruit character of the nose re-emerges on the palate, lingering into the long finish. A beautifully harmonious wine, displaying all the fine quality of fruit which marks the Fonseca house style. Hugely pleasurable now but with the potential for further ageing in bottle.

Fonseca Crusted is the perfect finish to any meal. It benefits from being decanted and should be served in a generously proportioned wine glass so that its rich fruity nose can be enjoyed to the full. Excellent with fully flavoured cheeses. It is also delicious with desserts made with chocolate or berry fruits.

£16.70

Fonseca Vintage Port 1985 (1x 75cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

The 1985 vintage was preceded by an exceptionally cold, wet winter, with night temperatures well below freezing in early January. Berryset was excellent and the young bunches perfectly formed.  The summer was hot throughout the region, with no rainfall during July and August. Fonseca picked earlier than most other shippers and the harvest was brought in under ideal conditions before the rain which fell later in the month of September.  Conditions were ideal for fermentation resulting in must of exceptional colour and weight.

Fonseca 1985 has a deep inky ruby colour with a broad red rim just turning to brick at the edge.  It has a generous and seductive nose redolent of blackcurrant and cherry.  Dense, luscious black fruit laced with dark chocolate, liquorice and roasted coffee. Exotic herbal and resiny scents emerge an hour after decanting.  Later the fruit becomes more luscious and creamier, with rich raspberry jam flavours overlaying the dark fruity base. The full round palate is supported by thick well integrated tannins and delivers an abundance of luscious chocolate and blackcurrant flavour which lingers into the long velvety finish.  A wine poised between youth and maturity.

Robert Parker awarded the 1985 from Fonseca 90 points. "One of the top successes of the vintage. Dense ruby/purple with the Oriental spice box aroma, the 1985 is expansive, sweet, broadly flavoured wine with outstanding depth, concentration and balance."

£74.65

Morris Old Premium Rare Muscat (1x50cl)

Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

For over 155 years, the Morris family have earned their position as one of the most prominent winemaking families in Australia, with their name being synonymous with ‘Liqueur Muscat’ for many years. Today, David Morris, the fifth generation of the family to run the winery, ensures the Morris name remains one of Australia’s most respected.

Located in the Rutherglen region of North-East Victoria, the Morris of Rutherglen have 80 hectares of easterly facing vineyards which are planted on red loam over red/yellow poldzotic clay soils. The red loam helps produce red wines with greater flavour and richness. The vineyards gently slope, with the earlier budburst varieties being planted on the higher slopes and the later budburst varieties on the lower slopes (175m in altitude). The vines are grown on a single wire trellis 900mm high and are hand-pruned using the rod and spur method, whilst only being reliant on natural rainfall. This produces lower-cropping vines that offer fruit of high sugar levels and concentrated flavours.

95% Muscat à Petit Grains. Grapes were selected for harvesting between 15 to 16 Baumé. In the winery, they were crushed and allowed to start fermentation. The fruit had considerable hang time on the vine allowing for high sugar levels and intense flavours to develop. Once the desired baume level was reached, pressing occurred, and a high strength neutral spirit was added to arrest fermentation, before being transferred into casks for maturation. Only the best wines from the best vintages were chosen to blend the Old Premium Rare Muscat; a true art of balancing very old and much younger material.

The older vines impart intense, concentrated and luscious flavours with aged complexity to this wine. These are complimented by fresh fruit characters from the younger wines. In the glass, the wine is a dark olive brown with a green tinge on the rim. An intense bouquet of raisin fruit and soft woody characters delight the nose. The palate shows great depth, length and complexity with rich and luscious flavours of sweet spices, dried raisins and Christmas pudding.

£77.95

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition vintage report of 2016 Port (see blue link below).

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port - December 2018 Decanter review

Subject to a 18.5/20 review by Richard Hemming in Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages on the 24th May 2018 (click blue link below).

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port - Jancis review

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves on both the vintage and the Port/wine itself.

Sandeman Vintage 2016 Port - fiche technique

Opaque with an almost black colour the wine has intense, complex aroma. Ripe black fruit, cocoa and chocolate flavours continue on to the palate where some floral notes of rockrose are also apparent in a long, lingering finish. Firm tannins,full-bodied and with fresh acidity it has structure that will allow the wine to age comfortably for decades.

£57.60

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez El Candado (1x75cl)

Valdespino is one of the oldest and very few family-owned bodegas in Jerez, with a history of Sherry production going back six centuries. Alfonso Valdespino was one of 24 knights who fought for the city of Jerez with King Alfonso X, against the Arabs in 1264. As a reward for his efforts he was given land in the Jerez region. Today Valdespino belongs to the Estevez family, and they own 750 hectares of their own vineyards in Jerez, which is rare in this region, and allows them close control over grape quality. 

The soil where the Pedro Ximénez grapes are grown in the Jerez region is high in silica and calcic carbonate. It is deep and has a good oxygen content, and produces grapes with high sugar levels.

When the Pedro Ximénez grapes are harvested, they are left out in the sun to dry for at least two weeks. This concentrates the sugars through evaporation, turning them to raisins. A very sweet must is then obtained through pressing, which is fermented and then fortified to around 17%, using grape spirit of 96%. The wine is then aged in a Solera system made up of three ‘criadera‘ and a solera, made from American oak casks, and fractionally blended. The wine is aged 100% oxidatively and has an average age of ten years. The final wine must meet requirements to show standard characteristics and parameters expected of a Pedro Ximénez sherry. 

A deep mahogany colour. Intense aromas of dried fruits, raisins, figs, and subtle notes of chocolate and coffee. Smooth and velvety on the palate, with great length and balance.

£20.85

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Amontillado Seco Napoleon (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

Amontillado Seco Napoleón is originally aged to become a Manzanilla using the traditional solera system in casks of American oak. However, certain casks show a deeper, nuttier character, and are transferred to a separate solera to age oxidatively, as part of the Amontillado blend. The name originates from the days of the Peninsula War, when the Hidalgo’s sold wine both to the French and the British! See also Jerez Cortado ‘Welllington’.

Hues of mahogany and rich hazelnut aromas. Full and long on the palate with subtle nuttiness and a dry and refined finish. Excellent with nuts in particular and suits all pre-dinner nibbles better than any other. Lovely with patê and hard cheeses. Do not over-chill in order to appreciate the more delicate flavours of this wine.

£11.50

Bodegas Hidalgo Prestigio Oloroso Seco Faraon (1x 50cl)

Established in 1792, Bodegas Hidalgo is one of the oldest Sherry producers in existence, it is widely regarded as the definitive Manzanilla house. Passing down from generation to generation, continuity and quality have always been the most important themes for the company, which today uses only grapes from their own vineyards in Jérez Superior.

The ‘Faraon’ is the head of an Andalusian gypsy family. Oloroso Seco Faraon is aged oxidatively for several years in butts of American oak. The grapes are sourced exclusively from our own vineyards in Balbaina and Miraflores. Matured in casks of American oak in a “solera” or “fractional blending” system, in the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, maturation is an oxidative process; no flor grows since the wine is fortified after vinification. Then follows an average of seven years of ageing in cask, to give a dry and wonderfully complex wine. 

Intensely rich pervading walnut aromas. The palate is dry, intense, rich and deep with a long and powerful flavour. Faraon works well as a pungent aperitif, but is also great with many foods: Tapas, soup, dry cheeses and even beef.

£11.95

Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Dolce (1x 75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Temperature controlled slow fermentation at 20-25°C. The base wine is 12% in alcohol and has a minimum residual sugar level of 20 grams per litre. Alcohol, mistella (fresh grape must with added alcohol) and mosto cotto (concentrated fresh grape must which is traditionally "cooked" until it reduces to a third of its initial volume) are then added to the base wine, giving it a final alcohol content of 17%, the desired sugar level and the traditional flavour. The wine is then aged for over five years (minimum two years by law) in 150 hectolitre Slovenian oak casks.

Dark amber in colour, with aromas of dried figs, sultanas and caramel. This wine is round and soft on the palate with fresh notes of dried fruit, nuts and honeysuckle with a pleasant, sweet and clean finish.

£13.55

Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Riserva (1x 75cl)

Established in 1875 by Vito Curatolo Arini, the winery is now run by the fifth generation of Curatolos, making it the oldest family-owned Marsala producing business. Their stunning label was designed by Ernesto Basile, a famous architect in Palermo in the latter part of the 19th century and is very much in the art deco style. The new range of wines under the Curatolo Arini label showcases a great expression of native Sicilian varieties.

Light wines from local grapes Grillo, Inzolia, and Cataratto are fortified with white grape spirit in the traditional way. The wines are then aged for about 10 years (the minimum legal requirement for 'Superiore' status is 4 years) in large Slovenian oak casks.

The Marsala Riserva Superiore is richer, more concentrated and elegant than the Fine. It has notes of dates, sultanas and toasted almonds and a long, smooth finish.

£15.35

Fonseca 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Port (1x 50cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

During the January following each vintage, Fonseca sets aside a reserve of very concentrated, powerful vintage quality red ports, selected primarily from the firm's own quintas and judged according to their ageing potential.

As tawny ports age, they grow lighter in colour, as they throw their deposit in the cask rather than in the bottle. The process of racking contributes to the oxidation process whereby the wine's fruit qualities gradually diminish and its nutty characteristics are acquired. The wines drawn from this extensive reserve of aged ports are then carefully blended for balance and continuity of style.

Fonseca 10 Year Old Tawny is russet in colour with brilliant crimson highlights and a fragrant, ripe-fruit bouquet. Its smooth, silky texture and subtle oak nuances are balanced by a fresh acidity and tannic "grip" that culminate in a long, elegant, plummy finish.

“Rich, structured and elegant, featuring luxuriantly spiced flavours of dark plum, chocolate and blackberry pie. The svelte finish is creamy, with plenty of minerally notes and a hint of pepper.” Roger Voss, The Wine Enthusiast

£16.35

Fonseca Bin 27 - half bottle (1x 37.5cl)

The purchase of 32 pipes of Port from the Real Companhia Velha in 1815 began the story of one of the great names of Port, Fonseca, and the story of five great families of the Douro Valley. The Fonsecas and the Monteiros, who originally established the business, the Guimaraens who built the firm’s reputation as a ‘First Growth’ vintage Port producer, the Yeatmans who steered the company into a new millennium, and the Taylor’s Port family who have brought Fonseca successfully into its third century.

Although for connoisseurs and collectors Fonseca is synonymous with Vintage Port, to thousands of wine drinkers and Port lovers, the wine that springs to mind is Bin 27. Bin 27 shares the heritage and style of the great Fonseca Vintage Ports, as well as much of their depth and character. Fonseca Bin 27 was launched in Britain around 40 years ago and today, continues to be blended from selected reserve Ports chosen for their smooth, round, full bodied palate and their fine, intense fruit character. Some of these wines are drawn from Fonseca’s own estates and others made from grapes supplied by independent farmers with which the company maintains a close relationship. The wines are matured in large seasoned oak vats to give them smoothness and complexity while retaining their intense and vibrant fruit character. Blended for consistency of character and quintessentially Fonseca in style, Bin 27 is bottled when ready to drink.

Fonseca Bin 27 has a deep youthful ruby colour. An intense rich fruity nose of blackberry, cassis, cherry and plums, interwoven with notes of spice. The palate is full bodied and round, with a smooth velvety texture and mouth filling tannins. The juicy black fruit flavours of cherry and blackcurrant linger into the rich luscious finish.

The perfect match for chocolate and berry fruit dishes. Bin 27 is also excellent served after a meal with bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content, chocolate brownies or truffles. Like all youthful red Ports, Bin 27 is also an excellent match for some ripe cheeses.

£6.95

Fonseca Siroco White Port (1x 75cl)

From the legendary 1840, Fonseca's first Vintage Port release, to the superb declared vintages of the last decade, the house has produced a succession of highly acclaimed wines even in the most adverse moments of history.  This consistency derives not only from continuity of family involvement, and the knowledge and skill passed down from one generation to the next, but also a close link with the vineyard. Perhaps more than any other Port house, Fonseca has built a loyal community of Port enthusiasts who value its individuality and the inimitable character of its wines.  These include connoisseurs, collectors, sommeliers and restaurateurs as well as those who simply enjoy drinking its wonderfully rich and complex Ports.

In most countries, port is traditionally enjoyed at the end of the meal.  The exception is white port, especially the drier style which makes an excellent aperitif. It is a blend of classic white port grape varieties, predominantly Malvasia Fina with smaller proportions of Gouveio, Viosinho, Rabigato and  Arinto, grown on the cooler, higher vineyards of the Douro Valley. To achieve its crisp dry finish, the wine is allowed to ferment for longer than other styles of port before it is fortified. Ageing in small oak vats gives Siroco its smoothness as well as its attractive ripe fruit flavours and delicate nuttiness. Siroco makes an elegant, stylish and versatile aperitif, equally at home before an alfresco meal on a warm summer day or on a cold winter evening in front of the fire.

Fonseca Siroco has a pale, straw colour. There is a superb balance of ripe fruit, delicate acidity and elegant notes of wood ageing. Full and fruity on the palate, this wine has a glorious lingering finish and an attractive, refreshing crispness.

Fonseca Siroco is traditionally enjoyed as an aperitif, served chilled in a white wine glass. It can also be poured over ice in a high ball glass and topped up with tonic water and a leaf of fresh mint or a slice of lemon as a refreshing summer long drink. Accompanied by salted almonds and some plump, juicy olives, it is the perfect aperitif.

But why stop there? Siroco brings an extra dimension of flavour to many dishes, for example when added as a finishing touch to a warm leek and potato soup or a cool summer gazpacho. Use it in place of white wine to provide an original aromatic accent when cooking clams or mussels.

£16.50

Henriques & Henriques 3 Year old Medium Rich (1x 75cl)

A Madeiran institution since its establishment in 1850, Henriques & Henriques offers the best of this picturesque Portuguese island. With over 160 years of experience producing the finest Madeiras, H&H embraces recent technical innovation to create and nurture wines of exceptional quality. Being the largest owners of vineyards on Madeira, under the inspiring leadership of ‘Master Blender’ Humberto Jardím, H&H is able to control every aspect of the production process.

This 3 Year Old Madeira starts life as fermenting must and is then fortified before undergoing its own very special maturation process. Made of predominantly Tinta Negra Mole Grapes, harvest begins from mid-August due to the warm southerly climate. A unique and highly sophisticated artificial Estufa process is set up for the 3 year old wines,where termperatures rise to 45ºC before being allowed to cool. This process takes 90 days and renders the wine completely stable. It is then aged in oak casks for 3 years, prior to bottling.

A medium dark wine, brown with golden highlights. Very fragrant with rich aromas of wood, spice and caramel. Full and rich on the palate body, with dried fruit and a harmonious finish. It’s smooth and mellow flavours make it the perfect accompaniment for desserts such as ice-cream and strong cheeses.

£12.15
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