Esporão Verdelho 2004, from the cellar to the table
Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne
In my early oenophile days, I acquired the habit of long-term wine saving in my cellar. The idea is and will always be to feed my curiosity for watching some of them evolve, as well as the absolute need for keeping another few wines that end up forgotten in there for many years. Those who like wines and who like to enjoy them are usually naturally curious; being curious is part of the condition of being human. That same curiosity makes us want to know a little more about how wines will behave through time, and even how time can educate them or not. What can be taken for certain is that risk is always a factor worth remembering, especially when the wines we keep have no kind of history to back them, ensuring that our patience will prove successful. The exception is all the wines that need to rest for a spell because they are too young and have edgy tannins. And then, a few dozens, then hundreds of bottles end up piled up by type or region. I promise you, the hardest part is beginning all this process. So far, surprises have almost always turned out well; there is always something to learn from these comparisons of the wine when it was young against the adult version it became. Some appear tired and reveal somewhat pronounced wrinkles of old age.
Very recently, on the occasion of a dinner with friends at my place, I decided to salvage one of those wines I have been keeping in the cellar, a Esporão Verdelho 2004. This 11 year-old white is a risk, or a moment of insanity – some might say. As it turns out, however, this Verdelho was very able to achieve the wow factor usually only observed in great wines. That factor emerges when most of the people present let a faint smile slip after they taste the wine in their glass and mutter the word “Wow.” I tasted this wine time and again when it was first released into the market. I liked it so much, that I decided to save a few bottles. This may have been the last surviving Verdelho 2004, that revealed envious freshness on the mouth and nose, all the fruit that used to be fresh and is now embraced in syrup, and slightly sweetened, with vegetal touches of herbal tea and a bouquet of flowers, everything is very well composed, forming a serious and adult wine with very well-set values. On the mouth, freshness and a hint of creaminess rolls the fruit round the palate; the latter appears solid and with very good presence, and providing a lot of pleasure when you drink it at first, and again, and again, tirelessly.
This is one of the reasons why I store wine; especially curiosity, but also the satisfaction of having the opportunity to later share them with people who can appreciate their value. The only downside is when a bottle is dried out and we ask ourselves why we didn’t store a few extra bottles.
Herdade do Esporão
Apartado 31, 7200-999
Reguengos de Monsaraz
Tel: (+351) 266 509280
Fax: (+351) 266 519753