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.
Grapes destined for the Aged Tawny Ports need to have great intensity of flavour in order to produce a wine which can stand up to decades of ageing in barrel. The grapes which make it into the Sandeman 20-Year-Old Tawny are sourced from prime vineyard sites in the Cima Corgo sub-region of the Douro, including Sandeman’s spectacular Quinta do Seixo estate. A large proportion of fruit from old vines is used in the blend as these produce lower yields of grapes with very concentrated flavours. The soil in the Douro Valley is schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that fractures vertically, allowing the vine roots to dig deep to access water and nutrients to sustain them through the hot Douro summers. The vines are planted on terraces supported by dry stone walls on the steep hillsides sloping down to the Douro river. Given the steep gradients and the inaccessibility for machinery, vineyard operations and harvesting are carried out by hand.
Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were destemmed and gently crushed. Fermentation took place in granite lagares with vigorous treading to extract the ideal levels of colour, flavour and tannin before fortification. The ferment was closely monitored to determine the ideal moment to halt the fermentation by fortifying with grape spirit, leaving some of the grapes’ natural sugars. The wines remained in the Douro until the spring following the harvest when they were transported downstream to the historic Sandeman cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia for oxidative ageing in oak barrels. The 20-Year-Old Tawny is a carefully crafted blend of wines between 15 to 40 years of age.
Rich tawny in colour. On the nose, pronounced aromas of dried fruits, honey and roasted nuts combine with spicy notes of vanilla and cinnamon. A wine of great elegance, there is a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity on the palate and the complex flavours develop on the exceptionally concentrated and long finish.
SILVER OUTSTANDING - International Wine & Spirit Competition 2018
GOLD - International Wine Challenge 2019
SILVER - Decanter World Wine Awards 2018
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