1985 Rainha Santa

Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
Forum rules
Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
Post Reply
Will W.
Fonseca LBV
Posts: 123
Joined: 14:33 Thu 11 Aug 2016

1985 Rainha Santa

Post by Will W. » 01:08 Tue 16 Mar 2021

Rainha Santa vintage port was produced by Offley-Forrester in 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1995 and 1997. I have no idea how many bottles were shifted in any of the aforementioned years nor the source of the grapes. However, I can state with complete certainty that this is a hard-to-find wine; that is, I can recall only ever having seen the bottle which is the subject of this tasting note. Reference to winesearcher.com shows just one Rainha Santa on offer from any year; the exemplar in question can be found in that Mecca of port consumption, Hollywood, Florida. Fittingly, the merchant flogging the said bottle trades as The Odd Wine Company.

The 1985 Rainha Santa is certainly an unusual port. However, “odd” it is not. In fact, it proved to be rather good.

Rainha Santa translates into English as “holy queen.” The queen in this case was Elizabeth of Aragon, known more widely in Iberia as Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. Elizabeth was betrothed to King Denis of Portugal in 1281 at the ripe old age of ten, though the marriage was not celebrated until 1288, when the poor girl had grown into… well, later girlhood. In due course, Elizabeth produced an heir - Afonso - and her great claim to historical fame would appear to be Elizabeth having prevented an army led by her son from engaging in battle against a force commanded by her husband. Whilst mounted on a mule. Later, as dowager queen, Rainha Santa - as the nickname suggests - laboured tirelessly on behalf of the poor and the infirm. Or so the Vatican determined in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Alas, what any of this has to do with the production of port wine is a mystery to me.

In the glass on 14 March 2021 after a three and a half hour decant, the port was brick in colour and somewhat opaque, with a clear rim. The nose and the mouth proved to be quite pleasing, offering as the wine did a mixture of notes to be expected from a bottle-aged port of this maturity along with a handful of sensations which one would more often find in a tawny sampled betwixt its tenth and twentieth years. Dark cherry along with dashes of chocolate and sweet nectar were discerned by the olfactory nerve, along with whiffs of vanilla, forest floor and what I took to be thyme. Half-stewed prunes struck the fore-palate on entry, giving way to gentle twists of nutmeg, cinnamon stick and more vanilla. A pinch of chestnut appeared at the back. The mild finish was of good length; its principal characteristic was an interesting tussle for dominance of the palate between the drier and sweeter characteristics.

This proved to be a well-balanced wine resting on the dry side of the residual sugar spectrum. The nearly imperceptible tannins suggested a port which is now resting at an agreeable peak. Whilst not worthy of a trip to Florida for the last remaining bottle - indeed, I can think of no reason whatsoever to travel to Florida - the 1985 Rainha Santa is worth trying. If, dear reader, you can find any.

-91 points
Last edited by Will W. on 16:38 Tue 16 Mar 2021, edited 1 time in total.

PhilW
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
Posts: 3114
Joined: 14:22 Wed 15 Dec 2010
Location: Near Cambridge, UK

Re: 1985 Rainha Santa

Post by PhilW » 11:35 Tue 16 Mar 2021

A minor addition for your list - Rainha Santa vintage port was also produced in '94 (TPF tasting note here, also positive), and '97.
Great reading as always, though I might disagree and consider that retrieval of a rare bottle sounds like the perfect excuse for a trip to Florida, or anywhere else!

Will W.
Fonseca LBV
Posts: 123
Joined: 14:33 Thu 11 Aug 2016

Re: 1985 Rainha Santa

Post by Will W. » 16:48 Tue 16 Mar 2021

The TN has been duly corrected - with immense thanks to you Phil. And my gratitude for the link, which I had missed (i.e., shoddy research on my part). As to travel to Florida... well, maybe to northern Florida in winter, with those wine suitcases which piles of us purchased around Christmastime.

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
Posts: 2843
Joined: 22:16 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Los Angeles, Ca USA
Contact:

Re: 1985 Rainha Santa

Post by Andy Velebil » 21:28 Sun 21 Mar 2021

Nice note. Florida is worth visiting for one thing...Bern's Steakhouse.

Post Reply