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Warre's Otima 20 Year Old Tawny

Warre's Otima 20 Year Old Tawny

  • Tawny Port
  • Portugal, 500ml
DESCRIPTION
PRODUCER
ACCOLADES

"Warre’s NV Otima 20 Year Tawny Port is great value in Tawny Port and is well worth seeking out. Offering a touch of Rancio-like sourness in its nutty, salty, fig, caramel, and dried orange aromas and flavours, this beauty hits the palate with tons of sweet fruit, yet always stays balanced, pure, and elegant. It’s would be a great aperitif with almonds or smoked nuts, as well as pair beautifully with any number of desserts." Jeb Dunnuck

  • Winery: Warre's
  • Type: Tawny Port
  • Region: Douro Valley, Portugal
  • Aging: 20 years
  • Alcohol: 20%
  • Volume: 500ml
  • Closure: Cork
  • Food match: Blue cheeses (Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola), well-aged, powerful cheddar, camembert; walnuts & almonds; red grapes, dried red & black fruit; dark chocolate & chocolate truffles, crème brûlée

The translucent copper coloured tone of the wine is matched by the beautiful soft nutty aromas gained by a full twenty years ageing in seasoned oak casks. Otima 20 years is rich, delicate, smooth and generous but never cloying; the tannins and acidity ensure balance and perfect length. A delightful way to finish the evening.

ORIGINS

Two Englishmen, William Burgoyne and John Jackson opened offices in northern Portugal as Burgoyne & Jackson - initially a general trading company, exporting wines, olive oil and fruit, as well as importing dried cod and English woollen goods. In 1703 the Matthew conferred additional rights to non-Portuguese merchants and the partnership was formalized.

Over time, the company admitted new partners and its name changed accordingly; in 1718, Mr. John Clark married to Miss Prudence Burgoyne. Following his marriage, the firm traded as John Clark, by 1723 it was known as Clark & Thornton and finally in 1729, it became Messrs. Clark, Thornton & Warre, with the arrival of the first Warre in Portugal. This was William Warre, born in India (1706), where his parents and grandparents were long established members of the East India Company.

By the close of the 18th century, Warre’s had become one of the leading companies as illustrated by the total shipments of Port for 1791. In that year, 21 companies exported a little over 30,000 pipes of Port, of which Warre & Sons accounted for 2,937 pipes, i.e. 10% of the total. 

THE WARRES

On arriving in Portugal in 1729 William Warre (1706 - 1773) was to start a family Port dynasty that would make a unique and unmatched contribution to Port and to the life of its adopted city and country. In 1745, he married Elizabeth Whitehead, sister of John Whitehead, the distinguished British Consul responsible for designing and building the magnificent British Factory House (1790).

Their eldest son, also William, would himself serve as His Majesty’s Consul. The 5th sibling, James Warre, became a prominent figure in the Port trade for over 50 years and would father the most illustrious member of the family, another William Warre (1784 - 1853).

This William was destined to have an outstanding military career which was to mark him as one of the most distinguished and historically important figures to come out of the many Port families in the long annals of the Port trade. 

WINEMAKING

Whilst the majority of Port is now made with modern methods using state-of-the-art vinification technology, a small proportion is still produced by the time-honoured method of treading.

In either system, fermentations are relatively short (about two days) because Port is a fortified wine. Fortification, which involves the addition of natural grape spirit to the fermenting juice, intentionally interrupts the fermentation process at a point when approximately half of the grapes’ natural sugar has been converted into alcohol. This accounts for Port’s characteristic rich, luscious style and also contributes to the wine’s considerable ageing potential. Given the short fermentation cycle it is crucial to extract as much flavour, colour and tannins as possible from the grape skins.

Warre’s continues to make some of its Port by treading in stone ‘lagares’ (shallow treading tanks). The Upper Douro is one of the last places in the world where traditional treading has been maintained. This is not done to entertain visitors but quite simply because it continues to produce some of the best Ports. However, the old lagares require manpower, an increasingly scarce resource in the Upper Douro and temperature control is difficult. In order to address these problems, Warre’s winemaking team developed the world’s first purpose built automated treading machine.

This ‘automatic lagar’ is a low and square stainless steel tank fitted with mechanical treading pistons whose gentle movements replicate the action of the human foot by actually treading the grapes against the floor of the tank, unlike other methods recently introduced to the Douro which simply push the ‘cap’ down into the juice beneath.

Trials with the prototype started during the 1998 vintage and were continued with further development during the 1999 vintage. By the 2003 harvest, six automatic lagares had been fitted in the newly refurbished winery at Quinta da Cavadinha and they were to immediately prove their worth, making simply outstanding wines. They have produced Ports that surpass the quality of traditional foot treading lagares, while at the same time eliminating the latter’s shortcomings.

The introduction of Warre’s automatic lagares has proven to be a landmark in winemaking in the Douro Valley.

  • 94/100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
  • 93/100 Points - Wine Speactator
  • 93/100 Points - Tasting Panel, Wine.com
  • 92/100 Points - Wine Enthusiast
  • 91/100 Points - Wine & Spirits Magazine
  • 90/100 Points - Robert Parker
  • 88/100 Points - Jamie Goode


 



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