Category Archives: Tasted Vintage Port

Trip to London and the B.F.T.

Beginning of May we went to London to shop port wine and participate in some tastings. The shopping was somewhat disappointing; we can find far more Vintage Ports for sale in Copenhagen than we could in London! If the shopping wasn’t very successful the tastings were definitely so!

We have already written about the tasting arranged by The Port Forum held on May 8.

The B.F.T.On May 9 we participated in the Big Fortified Tasting, the B.F.T. in Church House, central London.  The B.F.T. is the single largest wine fair in the world which is solely dedicated to fortified wines. All kinds of fortified wines were served but we focused on Vintage Port and mature Madeira. Some producers offed the first tasting of Vintage 2016, and from the samples we had, we believe that 2016 is an even better vintage than the superb 2015. In addition to the last vintages, there were also some older vintages served, such as Dow’s 1985, Warre’s 1980, Fonseca’s 1985 and Taylor’s 1985. Some very well arranged master classes were also arranged as part of the B.F.T. We participated in the Master classes ‘The Golden Age of Taylor’s Tawny’, ‘Barbeito Madeira – New Challenges and Projects’ and  ‘Sandeman Port presented by George Sandeman and Luís Sottomayor’, more about these will soon come on our site.Symington

Finally we think it is worth mentioning the new era of White Port. The old saying ‘The first duty of Port is to be red’ (Ernest Cockburn), does not necessarily hold anymore. While most White Port is sold and consumed young, there are some excellent examples on the market showing the aging potential of White Port. Miguel Braga from Quinta do Murão severed a very good S. Leonardos 50 years old white port and a 90 years old white port. These are not only impressive in age, but also very impressive in taste. Both well worth to try for all of you who haven’t discovered the world of White Ports.Fladgates

 

Overall, we think the fair was well organized and we hope to be able to come next year too.

Something nice from the 60s with The Port Forum

The Port Forum is an internet forum as well as a devoted group of port wine lovers. We attended a “high-flying” tasting organized at the Royal Air Force Club in central London. The premises were very elegant and we were awed and could hear the sound of the Spitfire planes in our mind when we admired the hundreds of paintings of air crafts hanging on the walls.
With participants from Sweden, Germany, Portugal and Italy in addition to the U.K., we were a fairly international group. The theme was set to “Something nice from the 60s” and everybody brought a bottle of their own choosing to fit the theme.
The final selection became quite interesting. Two bottles were vintage port mixed by the importer- Harvey’s 1962 (Cockburn+Martinez) and Averys 1963 (Sandeman+Fonseca+Taylor). Three bottles pre 1963, 8 bottles of 1963 and three bottles of 1966.

  • Croft 1960 – Fonseca 1960 – Harvey’s 1962
  • Averys 1963 and it’s components – Sandeman 1963 – Fonseca’s 1963 – and Taylor 1963
  • Warre 1963 – Dow 1963 – Feist 1963 – and Dalva Golden White Tawny 1963
  • Fonseca 1966 – Taylor 1966 – Noval 1966

1960sThe tasting was a lovely experience. Most bottles were very good but a few were not at peak performance. This is the risk you have to take when you drink wine that is more than 50 years old. As a vintage, the legendary 1963 has peaked and some of the wines are beginning to deteriorate, but most are still very good and will stay on high level for many years to come. It is also noteworthy that 1966 is keeping very well in general, and some were perceived as quite  young – at an age of 52 years. This was a great and quite wonderful tasting for us from Sweden and we hope we can go to London again at these occasions.

Portal Vertical tasting 1995 – 2014

The Wine Society 18%, celebrating 25 year anniversary this year, had a tasting of the house Portal on March 15, 2018. Out of the 15 Vintage Ports released from Portal, we had 14 in this tasting. This includes some Single Quinta Vintages from Quinta do Portal and Quinta dos Muros.

Portal

Please read more about the tasting here. You will also find tasting notes and scores for all tasted wines.

The 2018 Port Wine Fair in Roskilde, Denmark

Once again this annual fair was a huge success with two sold out tasting rounds, a lot of representatives from the Producers and some really nice Port Wines to taste.

As usual the fair is focusing on quality port like Tawnies with age, Colheitas and of course Vintage Port. We are impressed by the many older Vintage Ports available on the Danish market and there was also a possibility to taste many fantastic examples of mature Vintage Ports. For example we very much enjoyed Sandeman 1967 and 1975, the later on Magnum! We also got to taste Dow’s Vintage Port 1975 on Magnum. Both 1975’s are of course mature, but you should remember that it ages a bit Sandeman 1967slower on Magnum, and often the best selection of the Vintage is bottled on the larger bottles. So both of these are really nice at the moment and will be so for some years to come.

It was also possible to taste mini-verticals of several producers.
Taylor: 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008 (Vargellas) and 2015 (Vargellas).
Warre’s: 1980, 1985, 2000, 2001 (Quinta da Cavadinha) and 2006 (Quinta da Cavadinha)
Sandeman: 1967, 1975, 1988 (Quinta do Vau) and 1999 (Sandeman Vau), 2013 (Quinta do Seixo)
Quinta da Romaneira: 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2015
Quinta das Lamelas: 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015
Portal: 2007, 2011, 2013 (Quinta dos Muros) and 2014 (Quinta dos Muros)

It was also the first time for us that we could taste Graham’s The Stone Terraces 2015 Vintage Port. A fantastic young Vintage Port that will be very interesting to follow during the coming decades.

Finally we also tasted some lovely old ports matured in wood, like Palmer 40 years Tawny, DR 50 years White and DR 70 years Tawny. Fantastic wines if you prefer port wines matured in wood.

Delaforce Vintage Port 1963 – 2004

On January 2018 we had a vertical tasting of 12 Vintage Ports from the port wine house Delaforce. The tasting was held in Malmö, Sweden, in the wine society 18% celebrating 25 years in 2018.
The house of Delaforce is since 2009 owned by Silva Reis and is thereby connected to Real Companhia Velha. The tasted wines were of course older than that and the oldest, Vintage 1963, is from the time when Delaforce was still owned by the family. The company has since then been owned by IDV, International Distillers and Vintners (part of the Grand Metropolitan Group) and Taylor, before it was sold to Real Companhia Velha in 2009.
The older wines, on to 1977 and to some extent the 1985 Vintage, were made in a rich powerful style. These also got the highest scores. From the 1987 Vintage and through the 90’s the wines are made in a lighter style. This can be explained by the partnership with Croft, which was also part of IDV, and their ambition in the 80’s and 90’s to make Vintage Ports that would mature quicker. Luckily the youngest wines we tasted showed that this might no longer be the case, they showed a different structure with more body and tannic style compared to the wines from the 90’s and late 80’s.
Even if Delaforce is not recognized as a top producer, the older wines from the 60’s and 70’s can be well worth looking out for. And even if we did not reach any top scores on the wines from late 80’s and through the 90’s, all wines are still drinking well, even if some of them are peaking today.
Please read all our tasting notes and ranks here.

Great Tasting of the Vintage 1955

The Wine Society 18% was founded in 1993. We started to hold what we call Great Tastings in 2005. In the Society 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 of each wine is enough. The meetings are held in Malmö, Sweden. We have had the following Great Tastings so far, 1947 (Semi-Great), 1958 (Semi-Great), 1960, 1963 (twice), 1966, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1984 (Semi-Great), and 1988 (Semi-Great) and three times House Tastings which were Cockburn, Ferreira and Fonseca- Guimaraens.

We call it a Great Tasting if we have more than 20 different bottles, otherwise a Semi-Great. As you can understand it is almost impossible to find 20 different from some of the Vintages we have tasted.

For the 1955 Vintage we unfortunately only had 17 bottles, so let’s call it a Semi-Great Tasting. The 1955 growing season was excellent in nearly every way, spring and late summer was a bit warmer than normal. During harvest the weather was also warm and dry. The vintage was wonderfully balanced with rich fruit flavors and mellow tannins initially. The wine market in UK was in a quite depressed state during this time and it was hard to sell the wines.Graham's 1955

We were 17 participants in this tasting held on November 16 in 2017. We often have some guests and if you are visiting Malmö, please let us know and you can maybe participate. The tasting was semi-blind i.e. we know which houses that participate but not what we had in each glass. The vintage 1955 is today 62 years old but the wines were very good and elegant on the whole with a lot of old sweetness and balancing old acidity. They were very attractive in the finish and very easy to enjoy and to drink! They will not be better so it is definitely time to enjoy this vintage.

This vintage is a classic Vintage, and we know of 26 houses who had declared this vintage and we know of 48 brands from this year. According to Broadbent 26 shippers declared this vintage which indicates the most widely declared vintage since 1927. Broadbent gave this vintage ***** out of 5*, Suckling 94 points out of 100. We rated it as Outstanding Vintage and gave it 9 out of 10 points and had before this tasting enjoyed 21 houses and the tasting included 4 new houses so from now 25 houses have been tasted.

Offley Boa Vista 1955Some of the best wines were very expected to be in the top, like Graham’s, Dow’s, Quinta do Noval and Ramos Pinto, but there were also some fantastic wines from less expected houses like Hooper and Quinta do Sibio (Real Vinicola). Some of the normally good houses didn’t make it to the top, this is of course very dependent on the actual bottle, and when 62 years old the handling of the bottle during all years will affect the outcome. In this tasting we had one bottle that was not ok, unfortunately this was Fonseca, which cracked in the glass.

Please read all tasting notes here.

Port Wine Festival with Niepoort

This year’s festival in Copenhagen on November 6 was a success with two sold out tasting sessions, a press tasting with Dirk Niepoort, some new participating importers and a super nice new Vintage, 2015, to taste from many of the port houses.Niepoort Tasting

The arranger of this festival, Forlaget Smag with Henrik Oldenburg, had invited Dirk Niepoort for a special tasting showing how traditions are maintained in the development of the Niepoort Company and its new products, all based on long experience in the business. Experience is something Dirk has a lot of, being the fifth generation in the family company, and the manager since 20 years. Dirk is a very well-known person in the port wine business, not only for the high quality of the wines coming out from Niepoort, but also for being one of the most charismatic persons with his own ways of doing things. He say he aims for perfection of the balance in the wines and talks about the importance of not trying to exaggerate the expression based on the assumption on what people may like and instead trust your own knowledge of what usually works. In his own words this gives wines with precision and elegance with a remarkable ageing potential.

The tasting showed us that Niepoort is a company that deliver not only high quality Port wine but also some of the finest table wines available from Douro. We got to taste both white and red wines with really good quality, especially interesting was the mature white Redoma Branco 1996 – showing the ageing potential in his wines, the red Poeirinho 2015 from Bairrada – a truly great red based on the Baga grape and the latest vintage, 2015, from his best red wines Batuta and Charme.

 

Dirk Niepoort

Dirk Niepoort

When it comes to Port Wines he presented the LBV 1981, an eye opener for anyone saying that LBV is for immediate consumption on release, this shows that those that are patient with wines will get a better experience. Then we got to taste two wonderful Garrafeiras, 1952 and 1977. Today, only Niepoort produces this type of Port Wine, so they are rare and sought after on the market – they are also worth looking for because they are of wonderful quality. Both of them are very elegant and complex, see tasting notes.

Finally we got to taste the Vintage Port 2015. A Vintage described by Dirk as perfect for Vintage Port and when tasting it we can only agree, because the result is very impressive, see tasting notes.

The rest of the festival we focused on the Vintage Ports, as usual, and not only Niepoort managed to deliver a great 2015, we were also very impressed by Cockburn and Quinta da Romaneira. Quinta Senhora da Ribeira and Palmer (new brand from Barão de Vilar) were also impressive. There were also some older Vintage Ports available for tasting that we liked; Warre’s Vintage 2000, Sandeman 1994 and 1975, Quinta da Cavadinha 2001, Graham’s Malvedos 2004, Quinta dos Canais 2010 and Quinta de Ervamoira 2009. There were also some nice ranges of Vintage Port from Quinta do Infantado, Quinta do Retiro Novo and Quinta da Romaneira that allowed you to see how Vintage Port develop in the bottle.

Miguels tasting Vintage 1960 – 2011

Just before summer we held a private tasting of Vintage Ports from the quite new port house Miguels.

Messias Miguel Valente, the owner of this house is related on his mother´s side to Messias Baptista who founded the house of Messias in 1926. After working several years at Messias, Miguel decided to create his own brand, Miguels in 2015. So if you haven’t heard about the producer before, there is a reason.

Miguels Vintage 1983 – 2011

Currently all Vintage Ports of Miguels are sourced from the Messias family stock. Miguels can therefore offer older Vintages as well, actually all the way back to 1960.

In the tasting we had almost all currently available Vintages from Miguels, only 2005 was missing (and 1965, but this is not available anymore).

It was very interesting to taste all of these at once, and there is for sure a consistent style, sweet with dried fruit, toffee, prunes and orange zest found in many of them. They also showed a quite distinguished acidity, especially in some of the older vintages.

Miguels Vintage 1960 – 1982

The winner, in the tasting group of 14 persons, was quite surprisingly the 1979 Vintage which was very generous on the nose and had a mature very balanced and elegant finish.

Please see here for full tasting notes and points.

Great Tasting – Vintage 1983

The Wine Society 18%, Malmö Sweden, had a Great Tasting on the 16th and 18th March 2017 of 31 different 1983 Vintage Ports. As always for these Great Tastings the expectations were high, especially for a Vintage like 1983 that has been praised by wine critics and experts. To be honest, this time the truth did not meet our expectations. There were too many wines that were over the hill and showed volatile acidity or oxidation. Unfortunately there were also some that we classified as defect due to bad corks. We have had several other Great Tastings of older Vintages but we have never had so many bad or poor wines. On the other hand some of the wines are really good, you just need to know which they are, and avoid the others.

As always both Taylor and Fonseca are good, even if some in the group did not fully appreciate the Fonseca. Both are quite mature, the Taylor looks surprisingly light in colour but it is as always very generous in the bouquet and wonderfully delicate on the palate with raisins, orange zest, dark chocolate and cacao. It is a full bodied wine and has a long attractive finish.

Some of the absolute best wines from the Vintage are from the Symington’s. When looking at the total ranking from the total tasting group they actually took the four top places! The top scorer of the night was Quarles Harris followed by Gould Campbell, Grahams and then Smith Woodhouse. The Quarles Harris is still quite dark in colour but with a mature yellow rim. It shows all the attributes of a Vintage Port on its peak, with coffee, tea, cacao and much more in the bouquet, On the palate the wine seems to remain forever in the mouth – truly a perfectly balanced port wine.

Please read all of the tasting notes and all our scores and ranking under Great Tasting 1983.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Another year has passed by and we have tasted a lot of fantastic Vintage Ports during this last year. We now have tasting notes for more than 1,500 different Vintage Ports.

We also reached the milestone of 150,000 visitors to our web site since we started it five years ago. Thank you all for visiting our site and thank you all for the kind words we here from you.

Warres1958Among the all the tastings we had during this last year there are now some new added to our section of Great Tastings. We have had tasting on both Vintage 1988 and Vintage 1958, and we also have a report from the fantastic vertical on Calem, arranged by Axel Probst, that we participated in. So please enjoy reading about these tastings.

We hope that 2017 will bring many more fantastic tastings and events. See you all next year!