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Sandeman vintage Ports spanning eight decades to sample in London

Published:  24 April, 2014

Port wine is having a renaissance and London restaurant "The Sign of the Don", in partnership with the Sandeman Port wine, is offering the public a rare chance to sample the wines which go as far back as 1944.

Having the 20 selected Vintage Ports spanning eight decades of Sandeman Port wine available demonstrates the stylistic evolution and ageing potential of the Port brand, as well as marking some historically significant events over the last century.

George Sandeman, a seventh generation family member and on the board at brand owners Sogrape Vinhos, said, "A lot of people don't have an opportunity to try these wines. The 20 wines we selected tell a whole story that we thought of, but have not yet had the opportunity to tell. It also shows where we think Sandeman is going to go in the future."

The taste profiles of the different decades were as much of a style evolution as a reflection of the changes in technology that were impacting viticulture and oenology practices. The advancements in winemaking techniques, when applied to Port production, ultimately improved the quality of the Port being produced, particularly in the last two decades.

"No doubt the wines have had tremendous improvements, some due to technology improvements and some of it due to allowing the older vintages to age appropriately," said Sandeman.

Today Sandeman sees his family's iconic brand returning more to its classical and traditional style of wine, this is in part due to a "philosophical" change in the focus of the Port house as whole.   

"We had to ask ourselves where do we want to be: on the commercial-end or the quality-end of Port wine production? There was a big philosophical change. Sandeman's has a heritage and a strong brand identity. We asked ourselves 'which end of the market do we focus on?' We have the quality, so we focused on that."

The Sign of the Don restaurant has the following vintages in house for a limited time and while supplies last and vary in price depending on age: 1944, 1955, 1957, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2011.