Port: a Croft masterclass

Presented at a Decanter Fine Wine Encounter by Adrian Bridge CEO of the Fladgate Partnership, who acquired Croft in 2001.  The 2003 vintage port marked a return to form and, no coincidence, foot treading in lagares for the first time since 1963 for this, the flagship wine.  Bridge describes Croft’s style as rich and fruit driven.

Croft Pink – yes, a rose port, but since it’s not legally a category for port, Croft have trademarked Croft Pink for this novel wine.  It has a Douro’ness about it in its floral, perfume, red and black berry fruits and hint of chocolate, though the emphasis is on bright red cherry fruit.  Recommended serving is chilled, on ice or as a long drink with tonic water.  Good, though I’m still not sure when I’d drink it…

Croft Indulgence – a reserve port, aged around 3 years in large vats, so it retains its deep red/black colour and fruit; quite peppery with red and black fruits, dark chocolate and a hint of green.

Croft 10 Year Old Tawny – a youthful reddish tinge; a sound, fruity commercial style with nuts, apricot, caramel and smoky almond to the finish.

Croft 1960 – surprisingly this is a deeper colour than the 1970, plum with brown notes to the rim.  Quite delicate on the nose but the palate shows a good thrust of red fruits, cassis and raisins, rum and raisin edged with café crème, liquorice and eucalyptus.  Impressive vigor – Adrian Bridgereckoned another 10-15 years to go.  I can believe it.

Croft 1970 – more spirity on the nose with warm, baked plum which follows through on a rounder, cedary and spicier (very spicy) palate whose sheen of glycerol adds to that sense of roundness and warmth.  A fully matured port, drinking well now and over the next 5 or so years.

Croft Quinta da Roeda 1997 – this south-west facing quinta produces the guts of the vintage port in classic years; it shows a solid coreof plum and black fruits with dark chocolate and savoury black pepper.  Good.

Croft 2000 – a little closed on the nose and palate, it has a smoky eucalyptus, roast pepper character.  In a dumb phase so difficult to get a grip on this right now.

Croft 2003 – very deep, inky colour with a powdered blackcurrant nose foreshadowing the concentrated, pure fruit to follow.  Opulent eucalyptus-edged blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with Green & Black’s dark chocolate fleshing out a ripe but firm backbone of tannin; good density and length.  Very good.

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective
23 November 2008
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