Sandeman | Douro

Sandeman Vineyards in the Douro Region of Portugal

There are few more iconic images in the world of wine than the ‘Don’, the logo created for the Sandeman family in 1928 by George Massiot Brown. The cape was modelled on the attire worn by students of the University of Porto, while the sombrero was a nod to the family’s presence in Jerez.

Today, the Sandeman Ports are becoming every bit as famous as the image of the Don. This hasn’t always been the case, but since the Guedes family bought Sandeman from Seagram in 2002, the major investment that has taken place in the vineyards and the winemaking has seen them rise to the top of the tree in the Port trade. The fact that Luís Sottomayor was crowned Fortified Winemaker of the Year at the 2022 International Wine Challenge is testament to this.

The state-of-the-art Sandeman winery, built in 2007, is at the breathtakingly beautiful Quinta do Seixo, situated on the south bank of the Douro, just downstream from Pinhão. The winery is perched on top of a hill that is garlanded by terrace after terrace of vines, some of which are over 100 years old. Quinta do Seixo covers 108 hectares, 71 hectares of which are under vine and many of the plots here boast an ‘A grade’ classification in the ‘Cadastro’ ranking system of Douro vineyards.

The Single Quinta Vintage Port from Quinta do Seixo is a beautiful expression of this estate’s unique sense of place. A quarter of the grapes in the blend come from a small field-blend plot of over 100-year-old vines, these are extremely low-yielding and produce intensely concentrated fruit. The recently declared 2019 vintage was characterised by cooler than usual conditions in the Douro. This translates into delicate floral notes and hints of mint alongside precise cherry and blackberry fruit and a vibrant acidity which carries the intense flavours onto the long finish.

A Vintage Port is only produced in truly outstanding years. The recently declared 2018 has been described by Luís as “one of the best, if not the best, vintage years I have witnessed” and was awarded the Vintage Port Trophy at the 2021 International Wine Challenge. A blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Sousão and Tinto Cão sourced from the best plots on the Quinta do Seixo and Quinta do Vau estates and foot trodden in Quinta do Seixo’s granite lagares, this bears the Sandeman hallmarks of powerful structure and incredible depth of flavour.

The Sandeman Unfiltered Late Bottled Vintage it is one of the best LBVs on the market. A blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, it boasts intense aromas of ripe black fruits married with a chocolatey richness.

The Sandeman range of Aged Tawny Ports is the most highly awarded of any Port House. These intense and complex Ports undergo extended periods of ageing in oak casks in the Sandeman lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia. The 10-Year-Old Tawny marries mellow fruit flavours with nutty hints. The 20-Year-Old has intense flavours of dried fruits, caramel and roasted nuts balanced by a lovely freshness. Moving up the scale towards ever greater complexity, the intensity and sprightliness of the 30-Year-Old is remarkable given how long it has spent ageing in cask. As proven by the many trophies and ‘Best In Show’ awards that it has been garlanded with over the years, the 40-Year-Old is a beauty. New to the range, following the approval of this new category of Aged Tawny by the Port Institute, is the Sandeman 50-Year-Old Tawny Port. A blend of Tawnies aged between 40 to 70 years in cask, this is the pinnacle of premium Tawny Port, with absolutely staggering complexity and length.