September Wines of the Month: Soalheiro Granit 2016 & Ramos Pinto 40 Year Old Tawny Port
August is a quiet month for tastings, but I felt thoroughly spoiled by this sumptuous, complex Port and thoroughly on the horns of a dilemma about which of Soalheiro’s 2016 Alvarinhos to select for my August Wines of the Month!
Soalheiro Granit 2016 (Monção e Melgaço, Vinho Verde)
It’s good to see that this cuvee of Alvarinho from higher parcels has earned its place. Like the first, 2015 vintage, it has a distinctively textural, chalky (creamy almost) , slatey mineral finish. A well-focused attack and mid-palate show classic citrus, peach and honeysuckle. On day two, the citrus flavours seem more resolute, with great drive of pineapple and grapefruit – flesh, peel and oil. Great line and length. With plenty to snag the attention, I suspect it will last well into the mid-term plus. Granit is fermented in stainless steel tanks “with higher temperature than usual for white wines.” The bottling is made after a period of batonage and aging on fine lees. 12.5%
Ramos Pinto 40 Years Old Tawny Port
A deep mahogany hue, with a tawny penumbra and olive green notes to the rim. This is a sensual, super-expressive Tawny Port with pervasive aromatics to nose and palate. Long-lingering, they soften the blow of the emptied glass….My partner pronounced it the best Port she has ever tasted. Initially, this 40 Year Old Tawny reveals exotic toasted coconut, Bourbon vanilla and candied orange peel. With time in glass, it becomes darker – brooding – with layers of black cardamom, dates, honey, roasted, smoky hazelnuts, rum and raisin and black treacle. The finish is tremendously long, with great resonance of black cardamom spice and a warm, woody timbre (the bassline to its higher register spice and touch of “vinagrinho”). Like the man, generous, but purposeful, with delicious energy. 20.5% You will have to go to Portugal to find this scarce Port – I notice that Garrafeira Nacional in Lisboa are selling it for €330.90