A fancy bottle, looking very much like something that would normally contain whisky, a glass stopper, a little gold badge on the bottle and the iconic cloaked man on on the label. A lot of marketing money has gone into the Sandeman’s brand which, apart from the bulk made port you’d normally find in supermarkets, has been suspiciously absent in a lot of wine merchants in the UK.
Now that Liberty Wines has got the job of distributing it, Offley and a range of Sogrape’s wines, expect that to change, but is this highly stylised wine worth the £35 – £40 you’d expect to pay?
Dear God yes! It is a lovely wine with a multitude of dried fruit – raisins, prunes, candied peel, apricots – leaping out of the glass with a note of marzipan as well. A deliciously smooth palate, again those fruits, but with very well integrated alcohol, a noticeable sweetness, but with some cigar smoke on the finish and the tiniest bit of stewed rhubarb. This is a super 20 year old tawny and I’m sure I’ll revisit it again very soon. 92pts
Pretty with light, fresh fruit. Quite floral with a brightness to it. There is some dark, powerful spicy flavours, quite dark and chunky, and with a chocolate, bramble and spice note to it. It is tight and dark but with loads of potential. 92pts (June 2011)
A lovely rich sweet jammy aroma with some lovely bright warm compote coming out. A delicious sweet and spicy nose, plums and cocoa nibs. There is a black olive palate – tapenade and then some dark berries, some lovely earthy notes and a good, tobacco and twig flavour. Really lovely, really well balanced and really delicious. 92pts. (Dec 2012)
Sweeter cooked berrries, almost pie filling cut with some fresh berry freshness. The wine is quite spicy with leather, tannin, dusty cocoa and mint. Very good. 92pts (June 2011)
So elegant, a balance of savoury sweetness and spice – aniseed and pink peppercorns – with a prune aroma. Gently caresses your palate, full on fruit but delivered with grace, then a spice and violet note, tobacco and a gooey, warm finish. 92pts (Nov 2010)
Drunk with Henry Hutchinson
Browny red, fruit driven with oriental spices and mocha. The palate is gutsy, spicy and with a hot palate. A lot of tobacco and alcohol on a dry finish. 92pts (Sept 2007)
Christmas pudding nose, sweet fruit, chocolate, liquorice and brandy. A delightful palate with all the sweetness you want, with a dusty cocoa finish. A young wine, the alcohol is a little prominent. 92pts (August 2006)
Oaky and smoky. Dry roasted peanuts on the nose with plum jam and fresh berry juice. It is just like drinking cassis with loads of tannin and thats about it. A juvenile wine, but will be lovely. 92pts (April 2006)