I’m still on a Port exploring kick despite being in the middle of the Niagara Icewine Festival. This board is insidious, turning a devout icewine fanatic like myself slowly but surely into a Port Fiend ™! How the heck did that happen?!
After returning from a tour of Niagara yesterday, I managed to have dinner at a restaurant where Ruby Port was on the wine list and then stopped by the LCBO Summerhill flagship store’s tasting bar today to immediately try a recommendation from Andy and Roy and something new as well.
QUINTA DE VENTEZOLO RUBY PORT – Had this at the end of a nice dinner at The Harbord Room in Toronto on a whim with Roy and Andy’s comments from my Six Grapes Port in mind.
This Ruby Port has a deep bright purple red color, a strong plum nose but with no alcoholic heat on the nose which would indicated very good integration to me. Tastes of plums and cherries with lots of tannin and gentle heat on the end of a very long finish. This went very well with an espresso pot de crème for dessert. Respectable.
QUINTA DO NOVAL BLACK RUBY PORT – I was prompted to try this by Roy and Andy in my previous Six Grapes Port thread. Whoa. A very dark Ruby Port with extreme concentration and power, unlike any other Ruby Port I’ve had before. Medium body, really inky black purple in color, and a strong nose of tannins and stewed prunes. Very powerful taste of dried plum, licorice and cocoa flavour with a bit of heat and spice on the end. What was fascinating to me is that these are flavors I usually associate with VINTAGE Port, not a Ruby.
I should also note that this one has extremely strong tannins that mix with the heat in the finish. The strongest I’ve ever tasted in a Ruby Port to date, in fact. I’m not sure if it’s proper etiquette to do so for a Ruby, but I would say despite what their own website says, this definitely needs the softening of decanting to help ease those tannins a bit and I’d be very prone to hyperdecanting it myself even their website says decanting is completely unnecessary for this. Otherwise, amazing stuff. RECOMMENDED
WARRE’S 1997 COLHEITA TAWNY PORT – Ah, my first Colheita. Translucent dark brown with a tinge of purple when held to the light, medium body, and a nose full of caramel and butterscotch.
In the mouth, a smooth butterscotch start gives way to a bowl full of plums which then gives way to a lot of heat on the finish. Like, a whole lot. Like I dabbed some pepper sauce on my tongue lot. Certainly more than I’ve ever tasted in a Tawny before. Surprisingly not as sweet as I thought it would be.
I’m a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, it is definitely better than 10 year old Tawnies I’ve had. On the other, it is a notch below 20 year old Tawny to me. It’s so close, but for the lack of integration indicated to me by the surprisingly strong heat in the finish.
My research shows this Colheita was, in fact, aged 14 years in wood – right in between a 10 and 20 year old Tawny. Well, that kinda synchs perfectly iwth my feelings above. D’oh! If only they had waited another six years! I wonder how this would compare to a 20 year old Tawny if Warre’s had done just that. Does this mean I should age it in the bottle itself? My understanding is this wouldn’t help a Tawny but I’m not sure about a Colheita.
Irregardless, there is definite potential for greatness here. So, so close. I think when adding in a QPR evaluation, I am more inclined to get a 20 year old Tawny. That said, I am keeping Colheitas in mind as there is a 1994 Pocas available at the LCBO as well and quite a few older Colheitas at the SAQ I can hunt down.