William Offley founded the eponymous wine merchant in London in 1737, and soon...
began importing and bottling Port to the UK. By 1787, Offley was described as ‘one of the most considerable English houses at Porto.’ The house became famous for its association with Joseph James Forrester, later the Baron of Forrester, who came to Oporto in 1831 to join his uncle, James Forrester, who was a partner in what was then Offley, Forrester and Webber. The Baron Forrester became famous for mapping the Douro, and for painting many of its landscapes. He drowned when his boat capsized as he was travelling from the Douro to Oporto. It is said that he died because the money belt around his waist dragged him beneath the treacherous waters of the Douro. Under Sogrape’s ownership, Offley has thrived. Quality, derived from the fact that their best wines come from the Quinta da Boa Vista in Cima Corgo, has once again moved it up the ranks of Port producers.
The soil in the Douro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is poor in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. The poor quality soil ensures that the vines put down deep roots, producing grapes which are of high quality and low yield. The vines are grown on terraces cut into the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley. The terraces are walled with schist to prevent erosion, otherwise torrential rains would wash loose stones down the slopes and into the river. Each terrace can hold up to three rows of vines.
2012 was characterised by an extremely cold and dry winter, the driest in the last 40 years. In March 2012, the water percentages registered in the soil, relative to the moisture required by the plants, represented an extreme to severe drought. There were three heat waves, two in March and one in May, as well as a colder than average April, which delayed the start of the flowering period and, later on, veraison. Although the spring was very rainy and cool, extreme and severe drought readings did not fall, a lack of water affecting the plants' fortitude giving rise to strong coulure and millerandage. Summer was also cool with abnormally low temperatures in August resulting in a two week delay in maturation.
The grapes were fermented in a mixture of traditional lagares and stainless steel tanks. Fortification was conducted when the fermenting juice had acheived the qualities that Offley are renowned - sumptuos fruit and a firm structure. After a winter in the Douro the wines were transported to traditional wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, where they aged in ideal conditions for 4 years in oak wood barrels. The final blend, which was bottled without cold stabilising treatment, has the capacity to age for many years in the bottle but is also ready to drink now.
This port is deep, almost opaque, ruby in colour. Itense and complex aromas of red fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries, violet floral notes, and hints of both eucalyptus and mint-balsamic. Full-bodied, with well-incorporated acidity with splashes of red fruit and floral notes, it has a long and balanced finish.
|Grape varieties||50% Touriga Franca
30% Touriga Nacional
10% Tinta Roriz
10% Tinta Barroca
Liberty Wines customers can order this wine directly from us.