The Second Duty of Port

Port shippers C. da Silva are sitting on a treasure trove of white Port. These wines have been quietly and carefully looked after in cool lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia and deserve to be better known.  This was Jim Reader’s aim in presenting half a century of white Port alongside two old tawnies. Jim (ex-Cockburn) made a play on Ernest Cockburn’s famous maxim, ‘the first duty of Port is to be red…’ as his theme.  All of these Dalva white Ports thoroughly deserve to be drunk, though some more than others as you will see below! Two old tawnies were added for good measure, showing how close old white Port can get to red. 

Dalva Dry White Reserve ***

In this case, ‘dry’ means about 50 grams per litre residual sugar, reserve means about 6-7 years of age: pale golden colour: aroma of dry leaves and straw, soft and spicy, clean and crisp on the finish, well made but fundamentally  dull. Needs more age to be of real interest.  15

Dalva 10 Year Old Dry White ***/****

Mid-straw to golden hue; more nutty (almonds) and developed on the nose; dry and delicate with a savoury, nutty tang lingering on the finish. Well balanced, rather more interest here.   16.5

Dalva 20 Year Old Dry White ****

Pale amber-orange; lovely complexity on the nose: nuts, candied peel and beeswax; off-dry in style with a savoury toasty alamond and brazil nut character. Just a little short on the finish.  17

Dalva 40 Year Old Dry White ****

Mid-deep amber /orange; nicely maderised on the nose with a touch of rancio; honey and spice, quite pungent and tangy with a dryish marmalade character on the finish. Standing up better than many tawnies of a similar generation. 17.5

Dalva Golden White Colheita 1963 ****/*****

Lovely orange-amber colour; citrus and honey on the nose; toasted almonds, sweet and peppery, but not overtly so, offset by acidity which extends onto the finish, giving an overall impression of freshness despite its complexity and age. 18.5

Dalva Golden White Colheita 1971 ***/****

Mid-amber; a rather dusty nose with a touch of rancio (beeswax furniture polish) and a savoury-toasty character; orange peel, rich but quite delicate with a long citrus peel finish. 16.5

Dalva Colheita Tawny 1967 ****/*****

Lovely pale brick red centre with a green tinged tawny rim; beautifully clean and well developed, just a touch lifted and high-toned; fine linear flavour, seemingly quite dry in style with soft nutty complexity on the finish. Very fine and very close in style to the white 1963. 18.5  

Dalva Colheita Tawny 1975 ****

Brick red – amber/green rim; ripe, heady creamy aromas, dried fruit; richer and sweeter than the 1967, very soft and mellifluous with a fine, delicate finish. 17  

Scoring

19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty