Croft Fine Ruby
The House of Croft, founded in 1678, was one of the earliest shippers of Port wines and since the seventeenth century, has been renowned for the excellence of its production.The family first became involved in wine shipping through their connection with a distinguished family of merchants, the Thompsons of York. The Thompsons had been trading with Portugal since 1660 and when Thomas Croft married Frances, daughter of Sir Stephen Thompson, it was only natural that the two families should combine their business interests in the wine trade.
Near river, rail and road transport and lying against a backdrop of rugged mountainous scenery, Roêda is considered to be the finest Port estate in Portugal. And today, it is from its own famous Quinta da Roêda, in the centre of the Douro valley, that Croft annually sends down to its lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia the fine wines that constitute the best of Croft's production.The twentieth century directors and managers of Croft & Co. have assiduously pursued the fine quality and reputation they inherited. The House of Croft has continued to play a dominant role in the development of the Port trade, both in Portugal and internationally.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
Port is a sweet, fortified wine with numerous styles: Ruby, Tawny, Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV), White, Colheita, and a few unusual others. It is blended from from the most important red grapes of the Douro Valley, based primarily on Touriga Nacional with over 80 other varieties approved for use. Most Ports are best served slightly chilled at around 55-65°F.