Why do we call our "port" Starboard?
Because it is not port. Genuine port comes from a region in Portugal, the Douro River Valley. Starboard - the nautical term for right (as opposed to port - left) is unique to our place.
How is Starboard different?
We use the same grape varieties and similar methods as in the Douro, but our climate is warmer and the soils different. Instead of 140 proof fortifying brandy, we use a neutral grape spirit, 190 proof, for fortifying. We use 60 gallon barrels instead of 140 gallon pipes used in Portugal. Starboard matures earlier and has a riper more voluptuous flavor.
Batch 88 - The grapes in Batch 88 are primarily Tinta Roriz from the Madera area. The vineyard is managed to give loose bunches and a small crop. The blend is smooth and soft with a chocolate raisin character. Several different vintages are used in the blend which has an average age of about 5 years. In the port business this type of blend is called "Vintage Character."
Dallas Morning News
Orange County Fair
San Francisco Chronicle
San Diego National Wine Comp
Wine Enthusiast- Editors Choice & 94points
Beverage Testing Institute- 89 pts
International Wine & Spirits Competition
California State Fair
Indy Int'l Wine Comp
Jerry Mead's New World Int'l
Riverside Int'l Wine Comp
Tasters Guild "Wine Lovers"
Vino Challenge Int'l
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Starboard Vintage - Vintage Starboard is intended to be aged in the bottle for some years, at least 5 and perhaps more than 20, before being drunk. Maturation in the bottle as opposed to barrel results in wines which better retain the fruit flavors from the grapes.
Only the best wines from the best years are selected to be handled as a vintage port. There should be lots of intense fruit and spice and enough grape tannin to allow for years of bottle aging.
We made our first vintage port in 1975 (continuing through 1986) from Zinfandel grapes grown in Shenandoah Valley, California. In 1979 we arranged for a selection of Portuguese varieties to be planted in Frank's vineyard at the 2000 foot elevation in the California foothills east of Sacramento. In the mid 1980's we began buying grapes from another Amador County Vineyard, which contains the Tinta Cao and Touriga Nacional varietals. Vintage Starboard has been made from these Portuguese varieties since 1987.
The current offering, 1996 is the best yet, with a delicious black cherry quality.
Starboard Vintage 1996 Medals:
GOLD MEDAL: 2007 Orange County Fair Wine Competition, 2006 Amador County Fair.
Special Award: Critics Challenge - Critics Platinum
2006 World Wine Championships - 88 Highly Recommended.
2007 World Wine Championships - 89 Highly Recommended.
Tastings.com - 89 pts. (2007 results not yet posted)
Amenti del Vino, Dallas Morning News Int'l, Orange County Fair, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Fair International, American Wine Society, California State Fair, Long Beach Grand Cru.
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Handling and Tasting Notes on Vintage Ports