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The New 50-Year-Old Port in New England

Becky Sue Epstein

When sommeliers have someone celebrating a big birthday or anniversary (or retailers have to make a gift recommendation for such an occasion), it's great to be able to offer something from the original year, whether it's 30, 40 or 50 years ago. This season, there's a new 1963 Port on offer from LGL imports.

It's the Messias Port Colheita 1963 (SRP ~$225)—essentially a single-vintage tawny port that is 50 years old. It has been aged in cask in its original warehouse near the Douro River in Portugal, and bottled in April of this year (2013). Total number of bottles in the world: 3,000. That's bottles, not cases.

I sampled it by invitation of Luis Oliveira of LGL, a family-owned, New England-based company that has imported and distributed Portuguese wines since 1979. Luis imports it from another family-owned company, Caves Messias, now run by the fourth generation. Their Port is produced at Quintado do Cachão in Portugal's Douro River Valley. In the 1960s, the family decided to look to the future, and began setting aside some of its Colheita ports for the future—and it looks like it's paying off.

The 1963 Messias Colheita is complex and layered with aromas of prunes and almonds, touches of coconut and rose, too.  On the palate it's sherried raisins and caramel, along with umami notes of cedar and leather.A long almond finish.

To enhance your customer's dessert experience, serve this Port with a light, perfectly-caramelized crème brûlée.

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