Port and me have had a true love/hate relationship over the years. Some ports were amazing and some were too sweet and too syrupy. But then I realized I had been doing it all wrong. Late bottled Vintage, or LBV, with a designated year did not mean that it was like wine and all the port was from that year. Mind blown. There are only certain years that a winery makes a single vintage of port. While on a mission I picked up a bottle of 2003 Quinta De La Rosa Estate Bottle Porto from Wegmans.
Now I realize why I hadn’t been getting these ports. Not only was it because I was not looking for these types of bottles but that they came with a bit of a price tag. This port was one of the cheapest they had at $39.95. Here is what the website has to say about it:
Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a single year and are the best grapes and wine of that year. Vintage ports are not declared each year but depends on the quality of wines available. A “fully” declared vintage is when all the major port houses declare a vintage port in their own name and not as a single quinta (see below). Only about 2% of the port produced ends up being Vintage quality and declared. The decision on whether to declare a vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. The decision to declare a vintage is made by each
Vintage ports are aged in large barrels or Tonels for a maximum of two and a half years before bottling, and generally require another ten to forty years of aging in the bottle before reaching a proper drinking age. Since they are aged in barrels for only a short time, they retain their dark ruby colour, fresh fruit flavours and big tannins. Vintage ports are bottled unfiltered and include the lees that allow the wine to age in the bottle. Particularly fine vintage ports can continue to gain complexity and drink wonderfully for many decades after they were bottled. It is not unknown for 19th century bottles to still be in perfect condition for consumption.
Fully declared vintage port years since 1900 are :
2011, 2007,2003, 2000, 1997, 1994, 1992, 1991, 1985, 1983, 1980, 1977, 1975, 1970, 1966, 1963, 1960, 1958, 1955, 1950, 1948, 1947, 1945, 1935, 1927, 1924, 1920, 1912, 1904, 1900
10 to 40 years of bottle aging! The tasting notes of the particular vintage I had are here. My opinion:
Color – Dark but with bright ruby hues on the edges.
Nose – Spices and butter with a bit of nutmeg.
Taste – Smooth but with bright fruit and the nutmeg returns. Near the finish, you get hints of leather.
Finish – Like any good Port; bold strong and lingers for a while.
Overall, a very good port. It might be because this is my first vintaged port from Portugal but I definitely think it is worth the money. Port is something you do not drink every day. Go buy a bottle and save it for a special occasion, mine was for cooking braised lamb shanks.