2004 Smith Woodhouse Late Bottled Vintage Porto

Year: 2004
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine and Spirits: 91
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
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"Showing the benefits of maturity, with a core of gently steeped plum, blackberry and black currant fruit that slowly morphs into warm ganache, singed cinnamon stick and mulled wine accents on the finish, all while keeping its energy up. Drink now through 2021. 5,000 cases made, 1,000 cases imported. -JM" (WS)

"Straight up-and-down delicious, this is a Port that’s ready to drink, focused on flavor dimension rather than hyperconcentration. It’s gentle and refined, with a smoky edge to its bright plum and bitter almond flavors, chocolate and chestnut undertones lasting in the finish. Pour it with a savory plum-and-almond tart." (W&S)

Winery Notes:
Smith Woodhouse is a specialist producer of pre mium quality Ports. The quality consistency for which Smith Woodhouse Ports are renowned is underpinned by Smith Woodhouse’s own Madalena vineyard from where the wines are largely sourced. This small Quinta (vineyard property) has the highest “A” quality rating and is located in the Rio Torto district, acknowledged as one of the finest Port growing areas of the Douro Valley.

This Late Bottled Vintage Port is produced in the traditional style, from the finest ports of a single very good year. By definition, ‘traditional’ means that after 4 years of cask ageing, the wines are bottled unfiltered and cellared for, at least, an additional 4 years before being released for sale. It is this bottle ageing that allows the wine to develop outstanding style and complexity, resulting in a deep coloured Port with rich mouth-filling flavours of ripe fruit balanced by notes of black chocolate and peppery tannins. This 2004 has benefitted from longer than usual bottle maturation, nine years in Smith Woodhouses’s own cellars. Smith Woodhouse Ports are produced in very small quantities by the Symington family, Douro winemakers for over 100 years. This Late Bottled Vintage should always be stored lying down.

A very wet autumn in 2003 was followed by an exceptionally dry winter and spring. Every month from January to July 2004 had well below-average rainfall; accumulated precipitation up to July was between 50 and 60% lower than the 30-year average. Soil water reserves were at very low levels as the maturation cycle progressed and hydric stress was a real concern. Then the weather pattern turned on its head; rain in August and plenty of it, the highest rainfall in August in the Douro for 104 years. In tandem with the rain came below-average temperatures and as a result ripening slowed dramatically. The vintage had to be delayed by 10 days to allow the grapes to ripen fully. This worked in our favour as the quality of the wines made surpassed all expectations, showing good colour, body and balance. -Charles Symington, Douro, October 2004