Last night my family had the great pleasure to welcome Sandra Marques to our home and although she comes to this area fairly often and has even joined FTLOP'ers for Port events here, she's never been to our humble abode. Sandra got along great with my wife and my daughter and a fun night ensued.
Sandra is the North American Export Manager for Sogevinus, responsible for all sales of Barros, Calem, Burmester, Rocha, Gilbert's and Kopke Port and Douro wines in the USA & Canada. We had a lot of catching up to do as I had not seen Sandra in … well, a long time. Too long. So it was a wonderful and casual evening spent discussing many topics, wine related and otherwise. I was very interested to learn of Sandra's new exploits around the country and the fun challenges she enjoys in the Canadian markets.
We started off the night with a 2007 Crasto White, which I've written about so many times. It is still showing beautifully, although it has put on a bit of weight and a creamier texture since my last visit. This was followed up with a 2008 Kopke White Douro wine, which was quite good and tangy. I am looking forward to doing a 2007 vs. 2008 taste off at some point too. I prepared seared scallops topped with a Pedro Ximenez coulis, which was intense and an interesting counterpoint to the '08 Kopke Douro white.
While it was still nice and light out, we moved from the dining room, to our quiet deck area and had our salad outdoors on a crisp and perfect spring evening (a rarity for mid-May here). I started the old Weber up with charcoal and cooked off hangar steaks to enjoy with some Douro reds. First up was a 2004 Quinta do Crasto Old Vines Reserva which was showing extremely well and Sandra called it a "feminine style" wine and I noted a touch of vanilla from the oak; probably my favorite vintage of the Crasto Reserva. We also had a 2003 Quinta da Gaivosa from Alves de Sousa which I had been saving for a special occasion. This was it. I liked the '03 a bit more than the Crasto, which was certainly a very solid wine but the Gaivosa was rockin' with the steak, topped with portabella and cremini mushrooms which were sauteed in a well-decanted 1996 Ferreirinha Reserva, Douro red. It proved too lean to drink, but good for cooking the mushrooms. The Gaivosa was powerful, with fine structure and great length and has years of drinking pleasure ahead.
We were stuffed and passed up on dessert, except for the 1977 Gould Campbell Vintage Port which had been in decanter for 10 hours and back in the bottle for one more hour prior to consumption. There is a bit left over of some of these wines as it was a school night and both Dorene and Sandra had to be up early for work. The GC77 was so very dark and Sandra said that if she was guessing blind she'd have thought it was a 2000 Vintage Port. Who can blame her? Just shy of inky, deepest garnet in color this is a fabulously young and truly extraordinary VP. For me, a solid 95+ points on the pleasure meter. Brash and bold berry fruit was complex and everlasting. Tasting notes will appear in the upcoming newsletter.
Thanks to Sandra for a long overdue visit and it was nice to be able to spend some time together, show her around the house and wine cellar, along with an ultra-rare visit to my office; but especially to have her meet my family. I hope to see Sandra again soon, whether here or in Portugal!