When you go through a lot of wine bottles, it's nice to stop and take a moment to notice the little details. Port bottles have always fascinated me. That little strip of paper under the capsule that most people ignore and throw aside is a quality guarantee seal issued by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto, an organization that classifies and scores Ports. Behind that little label is a fractured history of various groups in charge of Port rules, punctuated by wars and revolutions up to fairly recent decades. Just two years before I was born, the country went through the 1974 Carnation Revolution, when a military coup with massive public support overthrew the Caetano regime without bloodshed.
Can I say it enough times? Wine is history in a glass, and at this point we haven't even poured anything. We can still admire the frosted green glass and talk about how introducing iron oxide and chromium into the glass produces the color but also prevents dangerous wavelengths of light into the wine, but let's give it a sip...
Sandeman Founders Reserve
Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão
Aged 5 Years
$20, 20% abv.
Stewed fruit, luscious plum and fig aroma, bright blackberry flavors and a tart finish. Big fruit flavors all around but with a smooth and clean finish. The Founders Reserve is a good bargain, makes for a good gift, is easy to find, and is also quite enjoyable for someone who's just getting into Port. If you ever purchase cigars for someone for Christmas or a birthday, consider including a bottle of Port like this as well. It makes for a great combination.
There's many more details on the bottle, like the artwork and the signature from the Scottish founder (I covered that in a previous post). Not every bottle is this exciting or will drive you down fascinating pathways of art and history and science, but you never know unless you take a moment to pay attention to the little things.
Note: This Port was received as a sample.