The Tawny Port trajectory: a makeover for Sandeman

Lest there be any doubt about the upwards trajectory of Tawny Port, check out these words from Sandeman’s latest press release:  “the new look for the 10, 20, 30 and 40 Year Old Sandeman Tawny Ports takes a completely new approach to Port packaging, taking cues from vibrant and innovative luxury drinks categories.”

A sample of Sandeman 20 Year Old Port arrived on Monday in this attention-grabbing box (which I thought warranted posing on a purple velvet cushion).  But the box was nowhere near as attention grabbing as the vinolok glass closure – wot no cork!!!!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m glad to see Tawny Port positioning itself rather more aspirationally.  The bean counters must break out in a sweat when they audit the museum stock which lies behind these time-pieces in a bottle.

As for Vintage Port, it remains something of a bargain when you consider its world class quality and reputation, limited supply and the Douro region’s famously back-breaking, low yielding, hand-tended vineyards.

Very Old Tawny Ports like Taylor’s Scion, Graham’s Ne Oublie and Sandeman’s very own Cask 33 have smashed through the glass ceiling on price points, but thankfully 10 & 20 Year Old Tawny Ports remain within reach of most Port fans (especially in the smaller formats which Graham’s have recently introduced).

Here’s my note on the latest release of Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny sealed under vinolok.

Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny Port

A ruddy hue with a marked freshness to nose and palate and clean finish.  It displays classic dried fruit (plum, apricot, orange peel) and nut (hazelnut and toasted almond) flavours with delicate barley sugar and salt caramel nuances, which amplify with time in glass.  Very well balanced indeed. I can understand why the label focuses on savoury food matches (foie-gras, salty [Roquefort?] vol-au-vent) or a fresh peach. Hmmm, vol-au-vent – I feel a retro-70s dinner party coming on!  20%  RRP £38 at Waitrose & independent retailers.

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