Portugal is my second home. Lovely country and unique wines. But above all, great, big hearted people. On a trip to Vinho Verde and Douro earlier this year, I had that verified for sure. Here’s to Douro and some exceptional Tawny Ports. Thanks for following!
The 10 Years Old is a beauty. Elegant, good concentration and still with a refreshing twist to it. 20 Years Old. Something’s happening. More maturity, nuts and dried fruits. Elegance still leading the way. 30 Years Old. Oh boy, what a wine. Complexity on the nose and on the palate the show continues. For such an old wine I’m surprised it still is so vibrant. 40 Years Old. One glass of this and you have a love affair with Tawny Port for the rest of your life. More of everything but never turning clumsy.
I’m totally devoted to Tawny Port. I guess it all can be related to the fact that I’m Mad about Madeira, but there’s something about Tawny that I just adore. It doesn’t possess the acidity of a Madeira wine but then again, why would I want that? Diversity is what makes Portugal home of the greatest fortified wines in the world. Tasting the 10-40 years old range of wines at Agri-Roncão straight from the casks, is an extra-ordinary treat. To catch them in a more or less unspoilt environment. But our host, Manuel Resende Teixeira has just one more ace up his sleeve, a treat out of this world.
Agri-Roncão, in the heart of Douro, is an old estate which has seen a total resurrection the last decade. With only seven years on the market after the face-lift, few have heard of them – or tasted any of the wines. It’s not all about Port wines; Douro table wines are produced as well, white and red.
While renovating the estate, they bumped in to an old cask in the cellar which was hidden away. Thorough investigations and a look in the institute’s archive revealed a Tawny Port from 1885. Yes, you read 1885! Considering the cellar was up for some serious renovation they didn’t want to risk the century old cask and hence filled less old and smaller casks of the 1885 wine.
1885 from the pipa. Not exactly happening every day to me. The wine is dark amber colored. On the nose, an explosion of scents. It’s brutally concentrated, but not turning heavy. A complexity to die for; dried fruits, nuts, tobacco, chocolate, licorice and dust. Impossible to describe, primarily because it feels stupid. Words can not make a wine like this justice.
Tremendous balance on the palate, although concentrated as few. Sweet figs and dates. Pipe tobacco and sweet-root. A dash of coffee. Then a slight volatile acidity which actually brings some freshness and the finale is of the never ending kind.
Not the cheapest wine you will buy in life, but one of the most memorable. But then again, don’t forget the 10, 20, 30 and 40 Years Old versions. Agri-Roncão knows their Tawny!
For more details about the producer, perhaps visit, or where to find the wines, click here.