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OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine

Review: OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine  78.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on July 23, 2015

The subject of this review, is a bottle of OFFLEY Ruby Port Wine. The brand traces its history back to 1737, which was the year that Englishman William Offley founded the company. In 1831, Joseph James Forrester, who was apparently a nephew of the William Offley, joined the company. According to the company website, Forrester was the first person to map the River Douro and its region, and his contributions to the development of the Port Wine trade, earned him the title of Baron which was bestowed by the King of Portugal. In 1997 OFFLEY was purchased by Sogrape, and they are the current owners of the brand.

Offley Ruby Porto is a young red wine produced in the traditional Porto method. The crushed grapes (produced in the Douro Region of Portugal) are fermented with the stalks removed, and the resulting wine is fortified and left in the Douro region until the following spring. Then they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia to be matured in oak wood casks at Offley’s centuries old lodges and aging cellars. To make the Ruby Porto, a blend of wines is selected whose ages vary from about 2 years up to 5 years. The resulting wine is then filtered and cold stabilized prior to bottling. The Port wine will not age further after bottling, and when purchased it is ready to drink. The recommended shelf life of Offley Ruby Porto after opening the bottle is 2 to 4 weeks.

OFFLEY Ruby SAM_1643In the Bottle  3.5/5

A bottle shot of “OFFLEY Ruby Porto” is pictured to the left. Although I like the stubby long-necked bottle, the front label with the giant R is rather uninspiring. I get it, ‘R’ is for Ruby; However, I left Sesame Street long ago, and rather than looking clever, this label just looks cheap and tacky.

On the positive side, the bottle does have a solid corked closure, and the back label gives us a little history about the brand and some very basic tasting notes.

In the Glass  18/25

The Port Wine looks luscious in the glass. It carries deep dark plum tones at the center of the glass, and a rich purple crest at the top. The aroma, however is very restrained and the glass must be decanted for a full ten minutes before any vibrant fruity aromas become apparent. If you are pouring this wine for your friends, I would actually recommend opening the bottle a full 30 minutes to one hour prior to their arrival to let the nose and flavour develop.

The aromas that do manifest over time carry scents and smells of dried raisins and dates. There are some subtle cherry like tones underneath and a bit of sweetness which reminds me of grape Kool-Aid. These sweeter aroma do not develop fully, and unfortunately the best descriptor I can use for this expression of Ruby Port is ‘uninspired’.

In the Mouth 40/50

Fortunately the flavour of the wine is better than the nose implied. We do have to wait for the wine to pick up some steam in the glass (at least 20 minutes of breathing). The longer we wait, the more rich and developed the flavour becomes. The flavours that develop represent a nice combination of ripe cherry and plum flavours accented by a light acidity and some raisiny spiciness. There is also a chalky mineral-like quality underneath and a bit of tannin-like dryness that reminds me of grape skins which pucker the mouth slightly. Over-all the Offley Ruby Porto is easy-going. However, I found the flavour, even when fully decanted, just a little under developed with not quite as much youthful vibrancy as what I would expect in a young Ruby Port.

In the Throat 12/15

The makers of the Offley Port describe a long finish in their brief tasting notes.  I disagree. The lively fruit flavours diminish quickly, and what is left on the palate is a vague minerality and the taste of lightly bitter grape-skin.

My Final Impression  4/5

Patience must be demonstrated and this Porto wine must be allowed to breathe for at least 20 minutes to 1 hour before pouring a glass and tasting it. Even then, the Ruby Port from Offley would be best described as unexciting. This is an entry-level Port Wine so this conclusion should not be surprising.

If you are interested in some comparative reviews, here is a link to all of my Port Wine Reviews!


Suggested Recipe:

Red Owl Cooler SAM_1667Port Wine is normally consumed in a small wine glass served slightly below room temperature. However, I noticed that OFFLEY (on their website) recommends a cocktail for this particular Ruby Port Wine. Taking my cue from producer, I decided to experiment a little, and I came up with the Red Owl Cooler.

Red Owl Cooler

2 oz Offley Ruby Port Wine
1 oz White Owl Whisky
Lemon Lime Soda & Sparkling Water

Add the Port Wine and the Vodka to a chilled Collins Glass
Fill with large Ice cubes
Complete with equal portions of Lemon Lime Soda and Sparkling Water

Stir and Enjoy

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


Note: My Wine Scores are computed in the same manner as my scores for distilled spirits. This means that my total score out of 100 is generally lower than what you would see in popular wine rating magazines. (Those magazines appear to have a system which scores almost all wines at 85 points or more.)

My scoring system is described below:

0-25     A wine with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    A mediocre wine which will excite no one.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, still rather unexciting.
80-84    Enjoyment begins here.
85-89    Very good to excellent!
90-94    You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this one yet…but I want to.

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