Monday, December 31, 2012

V. Sattui Vintage Port 1998


The wine tastes great, but I have a bit of a bone to pick with V. Sattui Winery over the name of this one.  Port wine comes from Portugal, much as Champagne and Burgundy come from those French regions and nowhere else.  Nobody likes it when a California winery pastes "Champagne" on their label, and similar liberties with "Port" should also be avoided.  With that mini-rant out of the way, the wine - whatever it is named - is fantastic.

This is a Port-style wine, with a neutral grape spirit added at partial fermentation.  The wine is then aged in small French oak barrels for three years before bottling.  Three Portuguese grape varieties are used in this blend: Tinta Cão, Souzão and Touriga Nacional.  The retail price is $46.

The nose is heavily laced with alcohol upon pouring, not unusual for a fortified wine.  The fruitiness comes through as blackberry and currant, but any nuance is obliterated by the spirit.  The alcohol is much easier to take on the palate, and the fruit plays forward here, too.  The flavor immediately reminds me of cassis.  This port tastes very fresh and fruity for a 14-year-old wine. The color is ruby red to the edges.  There's barely a hint of raisins when first opened, but those notes do come forth after decanting.

Sweet and bold, this 1998 Port-style wine matches beautifully with dark chocolate and pairs well with Gorgonzola cheese, too.


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