20 Year Old Tawny Port

Douro

Sandeman

There are few more iconic images in the world of wine than the...

‘Don’, the logo created for the Sandeman family in 1928 by George Massiot Brown. The cape was modelled on the attire worn by university students in Porto, while the wide-brimmed hat was a nod to the family’s presence in Jerez. Today, the wines are good enough to be every bit as famous as the image of the Don. This hasn’t always been the case, but since Sogrape bought Sandeman from Seagram in 2002, the major investment that has taken place in the vineyards and the winemaking has seen them rise to the top of the tree in Port. The production of Port – especially Tawny – requires patience and a long-term vision, something which explains why families like the Guedes and the Symingtons are the major players in the Port business today.

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Vineyards

The soil in the Douro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients has useful water retention properties. The vines are grown on terraces cut into the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley. The terraces are walled with cut schist to prevent erosion, otherwise torrential rains would wash loose stones down the slopes and into the river. Each terrace can hold up to three rows of vines.

Vinification

Grapes for Sandeman ports are hand-picked and harvest timing is decided according to the style intended. For tawnies, grapes are picked with an acidity structure which emphasises freshness in the final bottled wine, as this is crucial for creating balance in wood-aged styles. They are also more delicate and aromatic than the grapes used for bottle-aged ports (e.g., late bottled vintage and vintage styles). The grapes are destemmed and crushed before fermentation at controlled temperatures, with skin maceration to extract tannin, colour and flavour. For tawny styles, this process is done in overhead stainless steel fermentation vessels with punch downs and pumping over, unlike for bottle-aged styles ports which are fermented in shallow granite lagares. The moment of fortification with a neutral grape spirit is chosen by the winemaker following strict control of fermentation temperatures and must densities according to the vine variety, maturation stage and the final sweetness required. After the harvest, the wines remain in the Douro until the following spring, when they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia and enter Sandeman's centuries-old lodges for ageing in small, used oak barrels. Over the years, the wines selected for this 20 Year Old Tawny are carefully tasted, analysed and racked from lees. The final blend results from a selection of wines of between 15-40 years of age, masterfully blended to maintain consistency and character.

Tasting Notes

Rich tawny in colour with hints of brick. The palate expresses a rich and elegant combination of flavours - dried apricots, honey, roasted nuts, spices and vanilla. This is an endlessly complex wine that unfolds smoothly and develops in the mouth. The finish is exceptionally concentrated and long-lasting. Serve this chilled in a proper wine glass to allow the perfumes to express themselves.

Vintage Information

Vintage NV
Grape varieties 0% Tinta Amarela
0% Tinta Roriz
0% Tinta Barroca
0% Tinto Cão
0% Touriga Franca
Region Douro
Winemaker Luís Sottomayor
Alcohol (ABV) 20%
Acidity 5g/l
Residual Sugar 115g/l
Wine pH 3.55