Thursday, January 01, 2009

Crusted Port an Inventive Non-Vintage, Vintage

Dow's Crusted Port is a non-vintage, vintage. Hmmm. A blend of a number of different years, the wine is produced like a vintage port and is laid down like a vintage wine. It spends two to three years in cask and is bottled without filtration. The wine is then aged for a further three years in bottle. It is called crusted port because of the heavy sediment that forms in the bottle.

It has deep cherry red colour. On the nose, it is like sniffing a bag of dried Rainier cherries with hints of caramel, and plenty of spices. On the palate it is has firm, toothy tannins, a silky acidity and a dry finish. The port shows depth, and would age well. It is priced at the level of a traditional british-style port but has a richness and depth that is more like Vintage or Late Bottled Vintage port.

According to Dow, the grapes are from a number of vineyards including Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira. Following a manual harvest, fermentation took place in autovinification tanks and granite lagares (with foot-treading) for 48 hours before the addition of grape brandy. Matured for two to three years in old oak casks, the wine was bottled and cellared in Vila Nova de Gaia for a further 3 years prior to release.

Foot treading is an old Portuguese village tradition, where the whole town comes out to press grapes with manual foot labour.  Who can argue with tradition when a port has this kind of outcome.

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