TN: 97 Offley 'Boa Vista Vintage Port' [Porto]

97 Offley ‘Boa Vista Vintage Port’ [Porto] 20% abv, over 5 days, not decanted. Held since release. I don’t think I’ve had any of the Offley port lineup before, but this was a fine introduction. Perfect cork fwiw. Has some alcohol/heat on the nose/palate at first, but those blow off over the following nights and by day 3 it is singing. Chocolate, caramel, figgy notes with a rich dense flavor. The tannins seem mostly resolved. The fruit is much stronger than the acids. I was not expecting this to be so good, and keep so well. I’m sure this can go another 10 years without blinking an eye. For my tastes, this is at least an A-, maybe higher if I’d treated it to a proper Port service. The only drawback is that an evening with port can leave me feeling leaden in the morning.

I had not realized what the Boa Vista vineyards looked like but it looks like a difficult piece of land to work.

I’ve been lucky to have visited the property when Sogrape still owned it (it was sold about 1.5 years ago to the owner of Covela, Tony Smith). The picture doesn’t due it justice, as hard as that is to believe. There is a large valley in that middle part (behind and under the house) with the old large flat section at the bottom where the old garden was, which provided all the fruit and veggies to the Quinta back in the old days. There also is a natural spring inside a cave near the top (left top area) that I’ve explored as far as possible using only a phone light. The house was largely in the original state. Getting there was no easy task, even though it is quite close to Pinhao. Our local driver who grew up in the area couldn’t find the one tiny unmarked driveway that leads past other buildings, around a narrow steep dropoff, and down to the house. Thankfully some locals helped point the way.

As for the Port, 1997 has been an interesting vintage. It really isn’t talked about much in the Port world and has largely been forgotten over 1994 and 2000. You’re note is spot on, as most 1997’s, it’s more mature than the classic vintages on either side of it but still a solid VP.

A bit of background. The “Boa Vista” on the majority of Offley Ports meant nothing. It was simply a name they used seemingly randomly. Some vintages they used it some they didn’t. There are at least a couple where there was a true Quinta do Boa Vista and regular Offley in the same year. But most “Boa Vista” are not single quinta. Very confusing.

thank you to both of you for the background! I’ve got a few bottles of the 77 saved up for my 40th or 50th and didn’t know much about the producer.


WOW!!! this is the coolest. thank you so much!!

A few more pictures of the Quinta.

I bought 6 bottles of the 1951 Offley as my first birth year wine. Very nice. Love the photos. Here are my notes on the 1951. I also opened one at a Berserkerfest and one of the geniuses here suggested that it had a bit of chlorine on the nose. I suggested that maybe it was the 25,000 gallon swimming pool that was about 10 feet from where he was sitting.

  • 1951 Offley Porto Colheita - Portugal, Douro, Porto (6/4/2011)
    By far the best of the bottles I bought at an Acker auction 5 years ago. This was bottled in 1988. It has reached a point of wonderful smoothness, an excellent balance of sweetness and acidity. The color is light caramel brown. The palate is lightly sweet, with roasted nuts, caramel, a bit of almost orange-like citrus, and the classic fruit flavor of Tourriga Nacional that is prevalent in port and even in non-fortified Touriga Nacional dry wines. The label says tawny but it lacks the bite and bitterness at the back of the palate that I have found in 20 and even 30 year tawnies. Long finish that gradually dissipates and spreads nutty caramel across the palate. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

  • 1951 Offley Porto Colheita - Portugal, Douro, Porto (9/26/2006)
    Birth year Port bought at auction. Brought this to someone’s home for an after-golf dinner. Tons of sediment even though bottled in 1998. Pain in the ass to open - hard wax and T stopper. We had to strain through cheesecloth. It was worth it! Delicious sweet nutty flavor with Tourriga Nacional distinctive fruit flavors. Not nearly as intense fruit as a VP but considering that 1951 may have been the worst year of the century, this is a very nice wine (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

It seems to me that these labor intensive vineyards are only viable with Portugal remaining a poor, developing nation. At some point if they ever modernized like Northern Europe, there would be no cheap labor to work these back breaking hills.

Even looking at these pictures makes my knees hurt.

Some years ago I was challenged by a producer in the Douro to “take the short cut” and cut up the vineyards to the main house on foot. It was about 1/2 mile climb up one of those steep hills. WTF was I thinking. The only saving grace was there was lunch and lots of wine and Port waiting for us at the top (and a cold beer first). Never again have I taken that offer up from anyone.