Impenetrable ruby black core and narrow purple rim. As usual with the Vargellas Vinha Velha, the nose is beautifully balanced and complete, revealing multiple layers and dimensions of aroma as it opens up in the glass. The base is a coulis of dense, dark berries, with brambly woodland fruit, cassis and black cherry aromas. The voluptuous richness of the fruit is tempered by an attractive flinty, mineral edge and the discreet pungency of wild herbs and cedar wood. As the wine evolves, evocative aromas emerge, such as beeswax, leather and cigar box, like the unexpected resonances of an antique instrument. The palate is supported by thick granular tannins and is packed with dense black and red berry fruit flavour that rises in a crescendo on the finish. A wine of majestic scale and proof, if any were needed, that 2017 was an exceptional year for old vines.
Pairs well with walnuts, blue veined and other richly flavoured cheeses are excellent accompaniments to Vintage Port; so too are dried fruits such as apricots or figs.
Awarded 18.5/20 by Jancis Robinson.