Delaforce Curious and Ancient 20 Year Old Tawny Port
"The soft, honeyed nose is entirely inviting, hinting at the refinement this wine carries from start to finish. Though not a heavyweight, there's a goodly amount of apricot and quince mixed with toffee and crème brûlée. Scrumptious, racy and recommended for those who like good Port."
The jewel in the Delaforce crown comes in the form of the spectacular Quinta da Corte estate. This splendid property, whose reputation for excellence dates back to the 1700s, consists of 90 acres of immaculately tended vines planted on neatly terraced slopes overlooking the Torte River. Probably the most photographed location in the entire Douro Valley, it is Delaforce's principal source of grapes. Corte's 25 - 30-year-old vines form the backbone for the firm's premium Reserve Tawnys and Vintage ports.
Winemaker Nicholas Delaforce is the sixth generation in his family to carry on the Delaforce tradition. Unusually, since the roles are traditionally kept separate among port producers, Delaforce is both winemaker and blender at Delaforce. Though still in his early 30s, he has already established a formidable reputation among wine writers and port connoisseurs as a stellar producer of world-class port.
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.