The Big Fortified Tasting, London

On April 22 we visited The Big Fortified Tasting at Church House, Westminster, London. The venue was well planned and well organized. In addition to the general tasting we attended two Master Classes; Niepoort’s Bioma Vinha Velha and Madeira.

We had the opportunity to taste several new Vintage Port as well as some old colheita port, such as Kopke 1941. In addition to port there was an impressive selection of Vintage Madeira. D’Olivieira had the widest selection of Vintage Madeira with Boal 1987, Boal 1977, Verdelho 1981, Verdelho 1986, Terrantez 1977 and Sercial 1989. In addition Justinos and Blandy was also represented with some Vintage Madeira.

In addition to Port and Madeira there were Mosacatel de Setubal, Marsala and a vast selection of Sherry’s.

The Master class “Niepoort’s Bioma Vinha Velha” offered vertical tasting of the Pisca vineyard where Dirk Niepoort took us through all the vintages released so far. The first vintage was Pisca 2007. Due to name registration issues Niepoort had to change names to Bioma, which is the current name. The following wines were Bioma 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013. In addition Dirk Niepoort let us try cask samples of the two batches of port that will be mixed to make the coming vintage 2015.

The Madeira Master class “A Wide Range of Unique Wines” with The Madeira Wine Institute and Rui Falcao gave a very good overview of Madeira and the new legislation.

Author: Jörgen

A wonderful day in Porto

Figueira2007After a great day with good spring weather we decided to visit a Port wine lodge in Vila Nova de Gaia. We went in to the Porto Cruz lodge and decided to have a tasting, and as my friends were new to the wide world of port I decided to have a tasting with broad range of port to show that port is a very wide concept. We got seven port, starting with the dry white, continuing with a few tawnies and ending with Cruz Vintage 2011 and Dalva Golden White 1963. We all agreed that we did not prefer the dry white but the decision between the old white and vintage was more difficult. It is astonishing that white port can transform from a quite mediocre wine (new on release) to a very complex and fantastic wine with age. We also learned that La Martiniquaise, the owner of Porto Cruz has bought the stock of Vasconcellos port from Christies. The brand of Vasconcellos remains with Christie’s.
Figueira2011After the touristic Gaia lodges we decided to have a glas of nice vintage port in the fabulous port wine bar Vinologia. I was very disappointed to find that is was closed! On the outside everything looked at usual but looking through the window we say a pile of letters inside and that everything was abandoned. However, we were lucky to get directions to the new location. It is just 30 meters down the street towards the river but there were no signs to the new place. We entered the new location, Portologia, and I wanted to find a vintage port we had never tried before. As I was looking at bottle of Quinta de Lamelas Vintage 2010 I said half aloud to myself “I wounder if we have tried this vintage” and as a reply I heard “yes, you had that the last time your visited us”. You cannot imagine my surprise when Maria at Portologia told me that she often uses our web site and knew that we had this particular vintage in September 2014. I was deeply impressed. Few, if any, wine bars has such an amount of vintage port to offer and after some discussion we found a vintage we had not sampled before, Quinta de Val da Figueira Vintage 2007. It was very good. I also had the opportunity to try the 2011 of the same quinta. However, the 2007 was better. Maria really provided a spectacular service and made us feel very welcome. We do recommend that you visit the new Portologia at your next visit in Porto.
Author: Jörgen

Easter 2016

We started Easter 2016 with a visit at the restaurant ”P.M och Vänner” in Växjö with their Great Menu and Great Wine Menu. Their Great Wine Menu was the best we have had in around 100 visits in Guide Michelin star restaurants around the world. Even their Menu was quite good and the restaurant is worth a travel to visit.

EasterWines2016At home on Good Friday we started with champagne of course. This day it was Salon vintage 1988. This was followed by wild tureen with red onion marmalade. The wines were 1979 Chardonnay from St. Clement in Napa and Dom. de Chevalier Blanc from 2008 in Grave. After that we enjoyed filled partridges and wigeons accompanied by some wonderful wines such as La Tache’ 1984, Ch. Haut-Brion 1984 and a marvelous Ch. Latour 1953. This was followed by a truffle cake with Sandeman’s vintage Port from 1927 and 1908 which both were on the top with the meal and even without any meal. Just Heaven!

SandemanVintagePorts19271908After a new Salon, this time it was vintage 1996, Easter Evening started with three minor starters i.e. yellow gazpacho, duck liver pâté and onion pie with salmon to which we drank Vendage 25 Octobre 1990 Sancerre from Lucien Crochet and Ch. Grillet 1985 from Rhone.

To the lamb we had Petrus 1973 and 1969. The 1973 was astonishing and a great surprise indeed for all of us and the 1969 very good also but not as great as the 1973. As dessert we had white chocolate ice-cream with Eitelsbacher Karthäufer Hofberger auslese 1959 from Ruwer and Ch. dÝquem from 1977 which closed our Easter celebration.

A new Port Wine Book which should be included in your library

christopher-pfaff-das-douro-talA new Port Wine book “Das Douro-Tal” (ISBN: 9783739215143) written by Christopher Pfaff. The book is a nearly 200 pages tourist travel guide about the Douro valley (sorry only in German language) with several colour photos. Of course all major Port Quintas, most of the Quintas who can be visited by tourists and Quintas where an overnight stay for tourists is possible are included. Moreover the guides include information about sightseeing and recommended restaurants and hotels. This is the first German book about this region ever. The price in Germany for the book is 13.99 € and it is also available in international markets like US and UK.

Queen Elisabeth’s Celebration

In week 14th it has been announced that Graham will honor Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday with a special Port Wine. The wine is a blend of 40% tawny from 1935, 20% of a tawny from 1824 and 40% of a tawny from 1912 which means an average aged of 90 years, i.e. the same age as the Queen in 2016. The Queen is one of the greatest ambassadors for Port in the world as she always in every official dinner at Windsor Castle and at Buckingham Palace will serve Port with the dessert.
There has been some problem with these bottles as the wines are neither colheita nor tawnies according to the law. Only one of the years has the Port Wines Institute’s registration and that is the 1935 due to the Port Wines Institute’s legalization was not until 1933. Symington, who own Graham, has got a special authorization to offer the wines to the market. The prices will be around 700 pounds+ shipping.

Some very interesting and unusual ports

At the last tasting in our wine society 18% we tasted some very interesting and virtually unknown ports. In total we tried 11 ports, all new to the wine club and most of them new to us too. With seven new vintage ports, new houses/quintas and some other special port we did have a nice evening.
The first house we had was Vasconcellos, which is a very small and almost unknown house. In the past they had very close connections to Gonzalez Byass and Butler Nephew. Suckling (1992) writes that he has never had a Vasconcellos and that he tried in vain to contact the company. 1965 is the oldest known vintage port Vasconcellos produced. Vasconcellos is owned by the British family Christie, who sold the company’s port warehouse to Sandeman in 1989 but kept the brand. Since 2000 Christies har resurected Vasconcellos again and started to sell the port under the brand Vasconcellos, and in addition they have restored the Butler Nephew brand. Both are now produced by CCVP – Companhia Comercial de Vinhos do Porto. Gonzalez Byass has however had other owners and do not belong to Christie.
At the tasting we tried all the Vintage ports we know Vasconcellos has made, and a more than 40 year old tawny:
  • Vasconcellos Vintage Port 2003 (CCVP)
  • Vasconcellos Vintage Port 2000 (CCVP)
  • Vasconcellos Vintage Port 1989 (CCVP)
  • Vasconcellos Vintage Port 1965 (Vasconcellos Oporto & Cia)
  • Vasconcellos More than 40 years old Tawny (CCVP), bottled 2006
The line up of the tasting.

The line up of the tasting.

According to several sources on the web, Vasconcellos ‘More than 40 years old Tawny’ is composed of a blend of 1902 and 1942, but if this is true we do not know.
The second brand we tried was Maia. Maia is a brand that was sold as BOB (Buyers Own Brand) by Barros Almeida. Maia has been bottled under several of the houses former included in the Barros Group. The wine we had was Maia Vintage port 1987 that was bottled by Hutcheson-Feuerheerd.
The third brand was Quinta de Sant’Ana Vintage Port 1982, bottled by Feist. This was a quinta none of us at the tasting had ever heard about. Following the vintage of 1982 we had a Colheita 1975 (bottled 1984) of the same quinta.
Finally we had a Feist Colheita 1966 (bottled 1984), a Feuerheerd Colheita 1987 (bottled 2001), and Commendador (bottled by Feuerheerd).
Commendador is a very special port made by Feuerheerd and served on George VI’s state visit to France on July 19, 1938. At the banquet at the Palais de L’Elysée was served the following wines: Ch Yquem 1923, Ch Haut-Brion 1924, Chambertin 1923, Pommery Brut 1928 and Porto Commendador. The port we tasted had survived most of the participants on the banquet in 1938.

Christmas greetings

As you may have read during the year, most port we enjoy are at home with the family. At Christmas the family is of course joining at home and enjoying food and wine together. This year we started early, on the 19th of December. We started the evening with a vintage 2000 champagne, Cuvee Nicholas from Billecart-Salmon and after that lobster together with Les Lys Prem. Cru  2013 from Chablis and to the elk entrecôte a Ch. Cheval Blanc 1976. On the 20th we started in the afternoon with a bottle of O-Port-Unidade Vintage Port 2013 that we very kindly got from Axel Probst. Krug88We started the evening with Krug’s vintage champagne from 1988 which was delicious and then we had scallop, duck liver and pâté from shell fish together with Montrachet, Marquis de Laguiche Grand Cru from Joeseph Drouhin and Ch. Haut Brion Blanc, Grave both from 1990 and wonderful with the course. As main course we had yak (yes a bit strange, but we always try to eat something special during one dinner the days before Christmas, and the yak was delicious) and this was accompanied by Ch. Latour 1945 and Ch. Mouton Rotschild 1955 both unbelievable and wonderful. As dessert we had saffron ice cream with figs and chest nuts from Baskien together with port wine; Silva & Cosens vintage 1915 and Starling vintage 1887, probably from Taylor, both were delicious.

The 21st of December our dinner was first pâté from roe-deer with Ch. Daise-Daene 2005 and after that Ch. La Lagune 1982 to filé of a deer?

On the 24th of December, to the stilton, we had Royal Oporto vintage from 1977 and Constantino’s vintage from 1950.SilvaCosens1915

On the 25th we started with Alfred Gratien Brut Champagne, an old bottle, and after that we ate spare-ribs with Ch. Montrose 1970, and to the cheese-cake we had a bottle of Feist vintage 1995

The next day we started with Belle Epoque 1990 Champagne and to the first course, a pâté of salmon, we had Beauregard Prem. Cru from Chablis 2014 from Fournier and Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Mambourg 2012 from Dom. Weinbach, Alsace. To the main course was filé of elk and we enjoyed Ch. Lafite Rotschild and Ch. Latour both from 1983. An intermission port i.e. a Bicentenary Crusted Port from Fonseca bottled 2008 was needed before the Christmas pudding and Kopke’s vintage from 1935 and Chaplin’s vintage from 1945.Constantino1950

On the 30th   we just had a glass of Calem’s Quinta da Foz 1996 on the afternoon and on the 31 st we started the day on the afternoon with a vintage champagne 2006, Grand Cru from Mailly and as always on the last day of the year an old “dead” German wine, this year it was a 1945 Mettenheim from Rheingau. In the evening as usual lobster together with A. Bergère’s Cuvee Prestige vintage champagne from 2000. To the rein-deer we had Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtessa from 1989 and ended with Quinta do Noval 1960 to the dessert which was soufflé of French plums.

The Christmas celebration for the family ended on the 5th of January. This day we started with Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Champagne Cuvée St-Vincent 1996 from R.L. Legras mature and lovely. To the terrine from pheasant we had a Vendage Tardive Pinot Gris, Grand Cru Brand 1988, Alsace. The main course was entrecôte of deer accompanied with Reserva 904 1973 and 1970 from La Rioja Alta and to the dessert which was glace au four we enjoyed Borges & Irmao’s  vintage and their Quinta do Junco vintage both from 1960. As we are already longing for next Christmas we ended the day with Bual vintage 1878 from Christopher’s. No better way to end two lovely weeks.

During our web-site existence 2012-2015 we have now passed 125.000 visitors and during the last 3 years we have had approximately 35.000 visitors per year. Now we have had 170 different countries visiting our web-site. Amazing we think, and we are very proud indeed. This year we have added or updated more than 175 tasting notes, which are quite a lot we think. Hope to see you and receive more mail from you during next year. Please do not forget to read our “Help needed” so we can give you as much information as possible.

Great Tasting – Fonseca Guimaraens

Our wine club ‘The Wine Society 18%’ celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year and we have during these 23 years tasted quite a lot of vintage port. It has been altogether 612 different vintage ports ranging from 1873 to 1999 and of course we have tasted a lot from the 21st century too. Unfortunately we have only tasted 3 vintage ports from the 19th century. We are 15 members and have 5 meetings every year and then some extra now and then.  As we are only 15 members, we can have quite rare bottles i.e. 1 bottle is enough. The meetings are in Malmö, Sweden.  In November every year we have a Great Tasting of either a Vintage or a House. We have so far tasted 1947 (semi-Great), 1960, 1963 (twice), 1966, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984 (semi-Great) and once also just a House which was Cockburn from 18 different vintages from 1904 to 1994.GuimaraensTasting

This year we wanted to do a new house tasting, even if this is much more difficult than a vintage tasting. Still we were lucky enough to find quite a lot of Guimaraens, so we enjoyed 18 different 20th century Vintages from Guimaraens in the range 1944-1998.

Please read all details, including tasting notes and ratings here.

Port Wine Festival 2015

This year’s Port Wine Festival was as usual held at Børsen, Copenhagen, on the 2nd of November.JoaoNicolaAlmeida

This year João Nicolau de Almeida from Ramos Pinto visited, and he talked very warmly about the Douro table wines, especially their own Duas Quintas that celebrates 25 years in 2015. It is without doubt a very good wine and the red reserva shows a fantastic ageing potential. João should know all about making good red table wines as it was his father Fernando Nicolau de Almeida that created Barca Velha, the best red wine from Portugal. If you like port wine and haven’t tried out the table wines from the Douro you should do so because the quality is better for each year. For Port lovers like us it was of course also very nice to taste the 1983 Vintage Port which was actually the first Vintage Port that Ramos Pinto made where they had kept all grape varieties separate until making the final blend. The wine is fantastic today, very elegant and delicious but still with power and it shows some soft tannins, see tasting notes here.

There were as usual a lot of port wines to taste from many different Danish importers. Maybe because both 2012 and 2013 are a bit weaker vintages compared to the amazing 2011 Vintage there were not many new, really young vintages to taste. On the other hand several fully mature Vintage Ports could be tasted. Grahams 1983, Dow’s 1985, Quinta do Infantado 1985 were some examples that could be tasted.PortBrothers

The two brothers Jens-Peder and Troels from were offering some of the best mature Vintage Ports this year. They had a range of six mature Vintage Ports. Both Gould Campbell and Smith Woodhouse from 1980 and 1985, all four very good and still with some power and soft tannins to make them last for another couple of years. Gould Campbell is a bit rounder and elegant with a very nice complex body, whereas Smith Woodhouse show more power and dark berries from the very dark coloured wine. also served a very nice Madalena Vintage 1996 from Smith Woodhouse. Finally, the best, the Quarles Harris 1977 Vintage Port; this is wonderful today, peaking and showing all you want from a mature Vintage Port. We must give our very best recommendations of to anyone seeking for a mature Vintage Port.

As usual the Festival was a great success and we would like to thank Mr. Oldenburg for continuing this tradition and hope to see you all again next year!

Philipson Wine tasting report

Philipson Wine held their annual tasting in Copenhagen on 24-25 September in the nice premises at Børsen. A large assortment of wines were offered and many producers had representatives available to give information about their products. Some of the wines we liked the most were the Barolo’s from Luigi Einaudi, especially the 2011 Cannubi, Sassicaia 2012 from Tenuta San Guido, Brunello di Montalcino 2010 from Val di Suga and Galatrona 2013 from Tenuta di Petrolo in Tuscany.


A really nice range of quality Burgundy were also available for tasting with several premier cru wines from various good producers like Henri Boillot and Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux.

We also very much enjoyed the wonderful English sparkling wine from Nyetimber. Those who claim that the future of the best sparkling is to be found in England might be correct. Nyetimber already shows that they can compete with Champagne.

Philipson Wine has for a long time now been selling a lot of Burmester port wine and at this tasting they offered both the Colheita 1981 (rare year for a Vintage Port fanatic) and the Colheita 1937 from Burmester in the open tasting. Both were really good and you can read our tasting notes for the 1937 Colheita here.