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Adelaida’s inaugural vintage Port, “The Don”, named for proprietor Don Van Steenwyk, is a traditional fortified wine using authentic Portuguese grape varieties grown on our estate. The property, at the entrance to the winery, lies on a steep southwest facing hill at between 1,800-1,900 feet above sea level. Planted in 2001 on sandy loam soil, the average daytime summer temperatures vary from the mid 90’s Fahrenheit to low 50’s at night. Dominated by Touriga Nacional (50%), the blend also combined Tinto Cao (41%) and Souzao (9%), considered the three premier black skinned varieties.
A challenging year, 2008 gave us all the insults that make farming a risky business. Bud break began in late March and continued through April, followed by early spring frosts. In May, we had a heat wave that continued into June, but normal summer temperatures prevailed until late August when 100 degree temperatures returned, accelerating the ripening. The harvest began on August 25th with the initial picking of Pinot Noir, and continued until the first week of October. In general, wines achieved phenolic ripeness but the shortened growing season and continuing drought resulted in reduced yields.
Made from a blend of three estate grown, traditional Portuguese varieties, The Don 2008 benefited from a full 4 years in neutral oak barrels. Extremely supple, the longer ageing in barrel qualifies it for what is called “Late Bottled Vintage Port” status (Vintage Port spends 2 years in barrel). Fortified with a two year old grape brandy sourced from St. George Spirits, the finished wine shows an opaque, dark ruby robe with a bouquet of ripe plums and tiramisu dessert, while the flavors reflect a blackberry extract with notes of black licorice leading to a sweet fat finish. Convincingly mature, the wine and brandy integration is harmonious and the weight and liqueur-like richness is balanced by a lively fruity core.
(Jul 8, 2014 at 10:57 PM)