Sandeman has been producing port wine since 1790, and they haven’t tired of it yet. Just last year the maker dropped its latest release, Sandeman Apitiv Reserve White Porto, in the United States.
It’s created in the traditional port wine mold, meaning that softly crushed, over-ripe grapes are packed into a stainless steel tank for maceration and fermentation. When the winemaker deems that the time is right, a 77% ABV neutral grape spirit is added to stop fermentation and turn the mix into a proper fortified wine.
Afterward, the port-in-training is added to oak casks for aging. The blend that makes up Sandeman Apitiv Reserve White Porto has been aged between four and nine years.
As you may expect from a port, its nose is pruney and raisiny, with additional notes of Fig Newtons and orange peel plus an undercurrent of sherry. When sipped it proves rich in body, yet very light on the tongue.
Most surprising was the disconnect between nosing and tasting. While I was expecting more traditional port flavors based on the nose, it proved to be much lighter and zippier with bright fruit notes including nectarine, kiwi, and pineapple to start. It turned to stone fruits at the center, such as peach and plum, but retained its zingy fruity kick. Its conversion from tropical to stone fruit flavors is completed at the finish, which leads with apricot and concludes tart and sweet.
There’s an interesting, wonderful disconnect at the heart of Sandeman Apitiv Reserve. It drinks like a traditional white port in terms of its round, rich texture suited to after-dinner drinking, but has a fresh, fruit-forward flavor that makes it a match for mid-afternoon tippling on hot summer days.
Speaking of hot summer days, I took a crack at mixing it with tonic, but found that the fruity profile of Sandeman Apitiv Reserve White Porto made the combination a little too sweet. Ultimately, I enjoyed it most over a couple of ice cubes–the label suggests serving it chilled–which softened it further and made the port an ideal dessert wine for the warm weather.
— 20% ABV