A wickedly enticing port

2000 Quinta do Noval, Colheita, Tawny Port, Portugal (about £49, The Wine Society, 01438-741177; Cambridge Wine Merchants, 01223-214548).

Only two merchants have moved on to the millennium vintage of this hedonistic tawny from the jolly lovely, but slightly less exotic 1997 version.

Others will follow in due course, because this wine is an exceptional tour de force for Noval – a port house who will, next year, notch up 300 years-worth of experience in the precipitous terraces of the Douro Valley.

Usually these single harvest old tawnies show figgy, nutty, fragrant notes not dissimilar to a spicy madeira or old Palo Cortado sherry crossed with a regular tawny port.

In 2000, Noval has combined awesome spice and finesse with a much redder, fuller, silkier style of barrel-aged port and it is irresistible in the glass. There is little obvious tannin here, because the silky robe of mellifluous fruit hides the power and age-ability cleverly beneath its folds.

There is stunning amplitude of flavour here, too. I cannot remember tasting a mellower nor more multifaceted tawny in years. There are roasted coffee bean notes jostling with nuances of old, leather-bound books and tweed all woven into a wickedly enticing core of plum, damson and epic, sensual, evocative, scented oak barrel tones.

I have had my bottle open for a month and it has only got better!

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).

Merryn

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