20%, Cork, circa €80
Source: Kind friend
|Port-a-licious! Fancy box too|
As for this port, well it certainly looked and tasted 'typical', offering both the good and the bad bits of old tawny all rolled into one. Firstly, the bad - volatility. Obviously a well structured solera system is the key to old fortifieds, but whether the barrels that went into this particular bottle were topped up regularly enough (or kept in good condition) is somewhat up for contention. Simply put, it's got volatility a go-go, with a nose so searing that it feels like your nasal passage is melting. Ok, so it's not quite that bad, but suffice to say it's volatile.
Beyond the take-no-prisoners entry, the wine itself is genuinely attractive, rich with chewy caramel flavours that've been intensified over the years, with the vanilla etched barrel influences then continuing through the dry and savoury finish, ending warm and dry and with that trademark Portugese port varietal tang and savouriness (a savouriness which most Australian tawny styles are often accused of lacking).
In many ways then this is a stunning fortified, showing all the caramelised richness and complexity that 40 years will deliver. Yet it still falls short of the sort of endless viscosity and mind-blowing length of the comparable 40 year old tawny I tried last week in the cellars of Grant Burge, a notion which - when coupled with the distracting volatility - marks this as a very good, but not quite great, fortified (lovely with a pear and chocolate tart though). 17.9/93