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Producer: SandemanGrape Varieties: BlendedOptimum Drinking: Within 8 yearsWine Style: Sweet fruity fortified wineAlcohol by Volume: 19.5%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: Portugal
There are few more iconic images in the world of wine than the ‘Don’, the logo created for the Sandeman family in 1928 by George Massiot Brown. The cape was modelled on the attire worn by university students in Porto, while the wide-brimmed hat was a nod to the family’s presence in Jerez. Today, the wines are good enough to be every bit as famous as the image of the Don. Since Sogrape bought Sandeman in 2002, the major improvements and investment that have taken place in the vineyards and the winemaking has seen the wines rise to the top of the tree in Port. The production of Port – especially Tawny – requires patience and a long-term vision, something which explains why families like the Guedes are among the major players in the Port business today.
The soil in the Douro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. The vines are grown on terraces cut into the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley. The terraces are walled with cut schist to prevent erosion, otherwise torrential rains would wash loose stones down the slopes and into the river. Each terrace can hold up to three rows of vines.
The hand-picked grapes are de-stemmed and crushed before fermentation at controlled temperatures, with some skin maceration to extract flavour components from the skins. The addition of grape spirit at the ideal moment sets the balance between the wine's sweetness and bouquet. The moment of fortification is chosen by the winemaker following strict control of fermentation temperatures and densities according to the vine variety, maturation stage and the final sweetness required. After the harvest, the wines remain in the Douro until the following spring, when they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia and enter Sandeman's centuries-old lodges. The final blend results from a selection of wines of between two and five years of age to obtain a fresh, young wine with an average age of three years. The final blend is filtered and cold-stabilised prior to bottling.
Brilliant ruby red in colour. On the nose the Ruby Port shows clean, bright aromas of ripe plums and strawberries. The full body and rich ripe flavours are accompanied on the palate by soft juicy tannins and well balanced sweetness
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