With winter’s weather already here, a glass of Sandeman’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2000 will soothe the shivering.
In 1790, George Sandeman founded a port and sherry wine trading company in London. At first, he worked from Tom’s Coffee House — a precursor to today’s young entrepreneurs who trade from their laptops in Starbucks. Five years later, he opened an agency in Spain and, in 1811, purchased an aging cellar in Portugal.
A September visit to the city of Oporto brought me to Sandeman’s winery and an enjoyable and informative time with George Sandeman, the seventh generation of this internationally renowned family-directed Port house.
Port is made white and red; ruby and tawny; rubies that are vintage and non-vintage; tawnies that are 10 to 40 years old. It can be a maze or a clear line. The latter is found in the bottle labeled: Late Bottled Vintage.
Late Bottled Vintage Port is exactly as the name states: It is from a single-year vintage, and it is bottled late.
The late bottling is in contrast to Vintage Port, which is aged in barrel for two years and bottled. These wines require decades of bottle aging to mature and are the most prestigious and expensive Port wines.
Late Bottled Vintage Port is normally from a good but not great year. It is aged in barrel for four years and bottled. The combination of extra barrel aging and being from a good but not stellar year gives the wine a faster maturity, allowing you to enjoy it upon purchase.
I tasted all the Sandeman ports during my visit and found the 2000 Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port the most enjoyable ruby. Its brilliant black cherry color and bouquet of black raisin, black cherry liquor and soy was magnetically pleasing. The wine coats the palate and mouth with an intense flavor and texture of plum-like liquor bursting from a semi-sweet chocolate confection.
While most will sip a glass of Port after the meal or with a wedge of Stilton, Cheddar or other cheeses, I suggest matching it with a chocolate tasting.
Prepare a plate of dark choclate cake, semi-sweet and milk chocolate candies containing hazelnuts, raspberry and caramel. Serve this decadent dessert plate with a glass of Sandeman 2000, and everyone will have a Lucullan experience.
The 2000 Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port retails for approximately $33.