Sandeman 50-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal – a sneak preview

Sandeman, 50-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal

RRP £330, from selected merchants in early September

Official Blurb – Carefully crafted by head winemaker Luís Sottomayor, who was named International Wine Challenge Fortified Winemaker of the Year 2022 last month, the 50-Year-Old Tawny is a blend of wines aged 40-70 years in Sandeman’s historic cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.  It is sourced from prime vineyard sites in the Cima Corgo, including their spectacular Quinta do Seixo estate.  Luís noted, “Now the IVDP (Port and Douro Wines Institute) has approved this new category, we are excited to bring this unique blend to the market.”

My thoughts – I tasted this little test tube (approx two sips) over a couple of hours. The first sip was the ‘tasting’, and the second was a ‘swallowing’ after goodness knows how many sniffs in between.  This Tawny has such an exquisite nose that it somewhat confounds the senses, which is why I spent so much time admiring its perfume.  I prefer energetic Tawnies over ancient versions because I reward favour and fruit over decay.  If I were to name a number, 20 years old would be my Tawny sweet spot, so I approached this wine expecting a more venerable, perhaps less dynamic creation.  How wrong I was.  There is so much life and juiciness here, with clear red fruit notes present, it is remarkable.  These refreshingly invigorating flavours of raspberry, cherry and loganberry intertwine with an ancient, deeply velvety, freshly yeasty and figgy core.  This is an amazingly complex wine, and unlike other Houses’ wines, it is full of life.  If you like the Tawny Port style as much as I do, then Sandeman 50 is a revelation, and when you buy a bottle, you will have 25+ sips to play with!  19/20