This collector-edition port is from 1870
In this column, The Independent's wine and spirits expert, Adrian Smith, gives you a glimpse of the most collector-worthy port he’s ever seen.
We also touch on a sensational rum from the Philippines, delve into the world of white Bordeaux, and recommend a must-have gadget - with a little travel inspiration thrown into the mix.
If there’s one thing money can’t buy – it’s time. Which is why every now and again I am overwhelmed with joy to discover something that has stood the test of time and triumphed to tell the tale.
My recent discovery is an incredible bounty, sourced and bottled by The Last Drop Distillers, who are in my opinion the most renowned and highly acclaimed rare wine and spirit curators on the planet.
Their latest release showcases "Centenario," an incredibly rare set of two extremely old Colheita Tawny Ports taken from one of the oldest and most inaccessible wine regions in the world; the Douro Valley.
It’s not every day you can say you’ve drunk something older than the Titanic and it’s quite a beautiful thing to indulge on a piece of true history.
With each sip you take, your mind transports you to a place of the past as you ponder what was happening around you at the very time this nectar was being created.
With two vintages in the set comprised of a 1970 and 1870, you get a real sense of what can happen with time and let me tell you – it’s stunning.
Spirit in the Spotlight: Don Papa Rum
I always love trying a spirit from a country you wouldn’t expect - in this case the Philippines.
The more you delve into the story, the more you begin to realise that this completely makes sense – I mean, it comes from Sugarlandia – that’s a bit of a giveaway.
Introducing Don Papa Rum, the spirit of conversation; packed full of life, flavour and undeniable culture. It turns out the Philippines is one of the world’s biggest sugar producers, so of course rum is a natural fit.
When your lips first touch the glass and the sweet honey nectar hits your taste buds, you get a feel for just how special this is and you can taste the rich, sticky molasses sugar as if it had just been freshly milled right in front of you.
Grown at the foothills of Mt Kanlaon, this is where some of the finest sugarcane is farmed and milled to produce a sweet, rich, beautifully fragrant molasses. It’s this raw ingredient which is fundamental to the pureness of flavour that can be found in Don Papa.
For those who have a thing for rum, you may just fall in love. I would go as far as saying this is one of the best rums I’ve tasted and believe me, there have been quite a few.
The 5 White Bordeaux Wines You Need This Summer
We’re surprisingly slap bang in the middle of an actual summer. Quick, don’t wait, don’t hesitate, you never know when it’s going to end – these are five top picks from Helena Nicklin from Winerist and The Three Drinkers to soothe in the summer heat.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc: Sainsbury's, £6.95
Believe it or not, Bordeaux is actually home to some stunning white wines, though it’s the reds that take most of the limelight. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are the key grapes for white and this zippy Sauvignon is leafy, citrusy and refreshing. A perky little starter for 10.
La Perriere Bordeaux Blanc: the Wine Society, £6.95
Made with a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, this is a vibrant, zesty, white with green nettle notes and a refreshing prickle on the tongue.
Chateau Les Clauzots Graves White: Waitrose Cellar, £9.99
This is the style of Bordeaux white that makes you sit up and notice: Sauvignon Blanc with some Sémillon in the blend and a moreish, creamy texture.
Le G de Guiraud: Lea & Sandeman, £16.95
An excellent, well-priced version of a classic white Bordeaux style: Half Sauvignon Blanc, half Sémillon and some oak ageing from barrels that have held the Guiraud Sauternes, give this wine a lemon creaminess and a pretty spiciness.
L’Esprit de Chevalier Blanc 2014: Berry Bros & Rudd, £27.95
Another classic blend of Sauvignon and Sémillon with some barrel age and batonnage, which gives the wine a tropical hint with the citrus and a weighty, creamy texture. A serious wine, great with food.
Take Champagne to the next level with Krug Encounters
If you want to take your champagne discovery one step further, allow me to introduce you to Krug Encounters – Tracks on Tracks, probably the best locomotive experience you’ll ever indulge upon.
This partnership sees guests departing from London Victoria as they embark on a sensual music discovery.
Three private train platforms, three exclusive musical performances.
Each act has been put together by Jools Holland, amplified by exquisite gourmet cuisine from the stunning Evelyn’s table and paired with none other than one of the world’s finest bubbles, Krug. Tickets, starting at £450 including all food, drink and return travel to London, will be available
here from Friday June 29.
Thirsty Travels: St Hospiz Arlberg
Often is the case you’ll come across hidden wine gems where you least expect to find them; in the middle of the Austrian mountain ranges, for example. St Hospiz Arlbeg is a ski haven in the winter and tranquil paradise in the summer, but it’s also home to the biggest selection of large format Bordeaux bottles in the world outside of Bordeaux itself. Who would have thought?
Gadget in the Spotlight: Coravin
Summer is a time for sharing, exploring and cracking open something special, but that doesn’t mean you have to drink the whole bottle of said "something special." Introducing, Coravin.
Yup, Coravin extends the life of your emblem wines by allowing you to have as much or as little as you like. So you can delve into a variety of beauties, limit yourself to one glass, or pretend that you’re only going to have a small amount before cracking open the cork to discover you’ve already poured five and may as well finish the sixth. Phenomenal gadget which, in my opinion, is a total game-changer for wine lovers. Invest.