Country: Dry Creek Valley, CA
Tasting Date Price: $17.00 (500ml)
Alcohol Content: 19%
Vineyard Website: http://www.pedroncelli.com/about/
Visual Aspect: Deep purple
Nose: Ripe berries, caramel and toffee
Palate: Warm spice, raspberry and cream soda highlights
Food Pairing: Rich desserts, dark chocolates and hard cheeses
Winery Notes: Pedroncelli has a long and celebrated history of producing vintage Port using the traditional grapes of Portugal – Tinta Madeira, Souzao, Touriga, and Tinto Cao. The nose is a veritable spice box of licorice, brown sugar, pie spices, and a note of salted nuts, all neatly complementing the fleshy, sweet plum fruit. On the palate, it is thick, sweet, and spicy. Delicious now, it should continue to evolve for two decades. Good value.
Winemaking: Fruit sourced at the Pedroncelli Estate Vineyards. The specific vineyard was planted in 1995. This offering is a blend of Tinta Madeira, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional and Souzao, the traditional varieties utilized to make Port in the Douro. The fruit was harvested in the field blend style. Fermentation is halted with neutral grape spirits, and barrel aging occurred over 42 months in American oak. This Port is finished in 500 ml bottles and has a suggested retail price of $19. Dark fruit aromas and spice are prominent on the nose of this wine. Those fleshy plum and dark berry characteristics carry through to the palate where they’re joined by bits of brown sugar and plum pudding spices. Kirsch Liqueur, dark chocolate and wisps of earth emerge on the finish, which has excellent length. This Port has medium tannins which recede with some air. Year after year this Port knocks me out. I’ve tasted a lot of Ports, dessert wines and the like from California — this is far and away the closest example to a traditional example from Portugal you’ll find in the Golden State. And while this may not be intended to age for numerous decades, it will certainly improve and drink well for the next 15 years. Considering the $19 suggested retail price of a 500 ml bottle, it’s a flat out steal. Drink it with dark chocolate, cheeses, or let it act as dessert all by itself.