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Berry Bros. & Rudd St James’s finest reserve port
In a nutshell: The cheapest style of port, a ruby, but as you might expect from Berry Bros. & Rudd, there’s no shortage of class even at this basic level.
This port is made by a company called Quinta de la Rosa, another comparatively recent name to see on a bottle, but the family behind it are port royalty. It’s run by Sophia Bergqvist whose grandmother’s maiden name, Feuerheerd, can still be seen on bottles of port. The quinta (which means farm in Portuguese) is located in the town of Pinhão and has been in her family since 1906.
They used to sell grapes to Sandeman, but in the 1980s Sophia took it over with her father Tim (who passed away in 2018) and now bottles wines under the name of the property.
It wasn’t easy being a new port house in the 1980s, but by innovating (the firm was one of the first in the Douro to take table wines seriously) they have thrived. Sophia did admit, however, that the tourism boom had been a lifesaver for her, enabling her to invest in new equipment.
The winemaker at the property is Jorge Moreira and quality across the board is high. Quinta de la Rosa makes table wines and a full range of ports, but I’m particularly fond of its tawnies, including one you don’t see very often, a 30-year-old tawny.
This is one of the cheapest wines Quinta de la Rosa produces, but it really punches above its weight. A ruby is the simplest style of port, usually sold with just a couple of years in cask to round off the tannins. It can be merely sweet and simple, but this, with its gorgeous fruit and floral aromatics, has some of the character of a much more expensive wine.
This is excellent with dark chocolate and it’s also a great ingredient in cocktails like the Negroni in place of sweet vermouth.
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