Smith Woodhouse was founded in 1784 when Christopher Smith, Lord Mayor of London, created a small company to ship Port from the Douro valley. Shortly after, he was joined by the Woodhouse brothers. The amalgamation of the Smith and Woodhouse families over 200 years ago gave this highly reputable company its name.
Another brand in the Symington family portfolio and, while it might not have top-flight status, it is without doubt a pretender with five members of the Symington family currently engaged in the management of Smith Woodhouse.
The 1998 Smith Woodhouse Madalena is a rich, opulent style of Single Vineyard Vintage Port with lots of forward, ripe fruits and an intense, long palate.
There are intense flavours of blackberry jam, sour cherry marmalade, some overripe blackcurrant, a little bit of spicy bitterness and a hint of graphite. The acidity is well in balance with the body and the tannins seem to be getting pretty much resolved and smooth at this point. The finish is quite firm and noticeably drier than the mid-palate with long and rather savory flavours of peppery spice, graphite, some crunchy dark berries and a touch of ripe plums. Absolutely superb!
The traditional accompaniments to vintage port are stilton, and/or walnuts, dried fruits such as moscatel raisins or fresh Medjool dates, but why not try duck confit or top quality chocolate!