“As soon as the grapes arrived at our Quinta do Seixo winery, we knew this was the best we had seen since the last declaration in 2011,” says Luis Sottomayor, the winemaker responsible for Sandeman and Offley Ports. “The quality after fermentation left us in no doubt that we would be declaring 2016 as a Vintage year”, he added. He was delighted with the structure of the wines noting the “exceptional degree of complexity, colour and structure and hints of tannin, perfect for ageing in the bottle over many years” displayed by the wines at this early stage.
2016 in the Douro was an unusual year, with a persistently wet spring putting the potential for a high-quality harvest in doubt. The occasional heatwave during the otherwise mild summer, combined with a perfect balance of diurnal temperature difference, rescued the vintage and allowed the grapes and tannins to mature slowly.
Quinta do Seixo’s modern winery, completed in 2007, allows Luis complete control over the quality of the winemaking. Much of the best fruit for the Sandeman Vintage was hand-picked at the Seixo estate, where 71 hectares of vineyards, including a section of 100-year-old vines, contribute to Sandeman’s distinctive character.
George Sandeman and Luis Sottomayor will be hosting a Vintage Port Masterclass at this year’s Big Fortified Tasting, 9th May in London SW1P 3NZ, where the 2016 Vintage wines from Sandeman and Offley will also be on tasting.