George Sandeman, Chairman of the House of Sandman, expressed that his family has been an active member in the wine business since 1790. George is the Seventh generation family member to be involved in the Sandeman family business.
The original George Sandeman, a Scotsman and businessman, bought a wine lot in London in 1790 and began the family business (220 years ago).
During those days (1790) the wine interest in the British Isles was primarily focused on wines from the Iberian Peninsula.
Sherry and Port wine was the goal.
Within months, George Sandeman, the businessman, bought a winery in Xerea and one in Porto.
The company legacy began.
Since those days, the Sandeman company has been a successful and well respected player in the port business.
One of the present day George Sandeman’s Great-Great Uncle married a Portuguese woman with ties to the wine business, thus reinforcing the link to Portugal.
In fact, George’s father married a woman from Jerez, thus consolidating the link with Spain.
According to George, 1963 was destined to become a vintage year. The wine in my glass was ruby tint in color with brownish hues. The complex aroma resembled truffles that were recently pulled from the earth. Add classic balsamic and white pepper aromas and you have the beginning of a solid port. My palate couldn’t escape the pronounced acidic and tannic structure that led to a long and lingering, complex finish.
Still young, the 1977 shows promise for longevity.
The 1980, my personal favorite, is a ruby wine with intense aromas that make it spicy on the nose—ginger, cinnamon, white pepper and cacao. The intense, nearly dramatic tannins coupled with the acidic red fruit on the palate make this port in a league of its own. The spicy, long finish showed structure, depth and complexity.
The 1980 has many years ahead of it until it reaches maturity. I look forward to reaping the reward, as I have two bottles in my collection.
The 2007 is an example of a very acidic, well structured wine that is dark purple in color. Firm tannins coupled with an extremely long finish point to an overly complex long and firm finish. Red ripe fruit aromas paired with subtle hints of pepper and clove dominate the nose.
The newest release, the 2011 Vintage Porto, was an immediate hit, due, in part, to the uncharacteristically low temperatures in July and August. The weather conditions helped create grapes with optimum levels of acidity, thus enhancing bottle-ageing potential. I found the deep purple 2011 to have dry tannins paired with a liberal amount of both red and blue fruits in the mouth, followed by a long, dry finish. The acidity level is high, lively and powerful, thus creating a classic vintage year.
The Don is a dark, dramatic figure and turned into the Sandeman logo eighty- five years ago.