Quinta de Ventozelo is one of those small producers that have started to sell their ports as "estate bottlings" rather than sell their stock to the major port companies. Actually, the company is not so small at all; it is a large player in the bulk port market. I visited the quinta last year, and construction work made it clear that Ventozelo expects a good deal of expansion.
From what I tasted before, I was especially charmed by the red wines (their reserva is massive!) and 10 year old tawny. Of their rubies, I've tasted the LBV '98 and Ruby Reserve. Neither impressed me much.
The vintage port 2001 has just arrived in shops. It is imported and sold by Henri Bloem. I paid 17 euros for a half bottle (full bottle was 30 euros).
This port has an inky black colour, very thick with only a small bright purple/pink rim. Legs? No legs, this port just sticks to the side of the glass. The nose is rather promising with lots and lots of fruit: cherries, blackcurrant and (surprisingly) a massive amount of strawberries. Some green vegetables. It lacks spices though.
The taste is a disappointment. Imagine having a big and juicy strawberry that looks sooo good and smells lovely. You take a good bite, and all you taste is water. That is not how it is supposed to be! But that is how it was with this port. There is some fruit, but hardly noticeable. The port mainly tastes very, very dry due to its tannins, and it has nothing to stand up to these. Of course: it is very young and perhaps also very closed, but the body is so thin that I don't expect this will turn out for the better in a couple of years. I tried pairing it with some creamy chocolate. That softened the tannins and showed what was underneath. That is in fact a rather simple port, with some good fruit, but nothing more. Don't get me wrong, it tastes alright, but it is too simple and thin to be called a vintage port.
I'll try another glass tomorrow to see how a day of air affects it, but for the time being it receives 85 RR points. I will not buy more of this.
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Tasted March 2004:
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