‘Any time not drinking port is a waste of time.’
We produced a port-styled wine from the first crush at our current Vasco location in 2009. It was a blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah – Zinfandel for its raspberry aromas and Petite Sirah for body and complexity. We bottled half of this blend two years later as a ruby-styled port wine called Opportunity, a play on the Latin translation of Occasio and the appearance of ‘port’ in the word.
We repeated this sequence again with the 2010 vintage, selling half as a ruby port and saving the other half for extended barrel aging. In 2016, we bottled the last of this 2010 wine as a late-bottled vintage style. The raspberry fruits remained, but hints of cinnamon and cloves were developing in the background. Noticeable was a smoothness to the wine, as the tannins had moderated during the extended barrel aging. This proved to be a very popular wine with our customers and with the reviewers – rated 94 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
But what of our remaining 2009 barrels? Our original intent, ten years ago, was to reserve the remaining 2009 for use as a tawny-styled port wine. By this age, the wines are developing caramel and hazelnut flavors – but they still retain ample fruit. In what seems like the blink of the eye, this is the year that our 2009 becomes ten years old! The barrels have remained untouched except for fortnightly toppings, sitting undisturbed at the bottom of our barrel racks for a decade.
This week, we moved these barrels to center stage. They are the last wines from our first full vintage. Soon, the wine will be racked to tank and a decade’s sediment will be removed from the bottom of the barrels. One barrel of the blend will be bottled this summer, while the remaining barrel will be returned for additional aging. For how long? Perhaps another five to ten years depending on its development. Time will tell. But for now, we anticipate the release of Opportunity Ten Year Tawny in early Fall of 2019.