Every once in awhile somebody nice invites me out after hours to meet a supplier on a whirlwind tour. This is where I was the other night when the good folks at Lanigan & Edwards invited me to Solstice to meet the Export Director from Real Companhia Velha which is located in the Douro Valley.

This part of the world is known as much for the unmatched beauty of the landscape as it is for its’ amazing vineyards. In the spirit of beautiful things, at the end of a remarkable meal accompanied by superb wines, Rafael revealed a secret he’d been hiding. He produced a tiny bottle from his suit pocket, of very old Port from the vintage of 1867. That’s not a typo. 1867. It had been refreshed with a small amount of younger Port from the 1900 vintage which had been stored in the same conditions as the older wine.

It’s crazy. I wasn’t taking notes but I can still remember the startling brightness of the Port, the silken texture, the toasty nuttiness, the wonderful fruit and tart acidity that lingered on the finish. It was hard to believe that I was drinking something almost a hundred years older than me!

The Wine Advocate gave this Special Edition Porto Carvalhas “Memories” 96 points but it really is beyond such trivialities. It’s difficult to express the depth of gratitude I feel having been included in such a sweet moment and that’s the beauty of the wine and spirits industry. You can never know what amazing experience is waiting for you just around the next corner.


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