Category Archives: Wine tasting

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.

Philipson Wine Prestige Tasting

This autumn Philipson’s Wine held their 30th Prestige tasting. As usual the best wine available for tasting was Sassicaia from Tenuta San Guido, this time from year 2014 and we also loved Château Cantemerle from 2013. Also among the best were the Grand Cru and Premier Cru Chablis from La Chablisienne and of course we very much enjoyed several Colheitas from Burmester, such as 1957, 1985 and 2000. They were all very elegant and enjoyable. As usual a lot of people wanted to participate and had a lovely time with some excellent wines.

Theis Vine Bordeaux tasting at Børsen in Copenhagen

September 6, Theis Vine held the annual Bordeaux tasting at The stock exchange (Børsen) in Copenhagen. This is a really good tasting with the opportunity to try the last vintage of Bordeaux before buying them “en primeur”. It was with excitement that we tasted the new Bordeaux 2016 Vintage, which has already been praised by some wine journalists. The 2014 were good and 2015 even better. In our opinion the general quality of the 2016s were as high as for 2015. Perhaps the top wines of 2015 are better, time will tell. In general we found lots of nice, rather silky fruit and with quite high acidity. The tannins are also quite massive in most examples. We recommend all of you with a wine cellar to invest in many cases of the 2016 for the future. We also tasted some Bordeaux’s from earlier vintages, mostly from 2011 and 2012 which were a bit weaker vintages when it comes to ageing potential. Many of the examples tasted were already showing some maturity, they are actually quite drinkable at the moment, while the 2016s probably will benefit from 10 years or more in the cellar.

In addition to top quality Bordeaux wines the tasting has as usual some high quality Burgundy, Champagnes from Billecart-Salmon, many good Italian and Spanish wines.

If you missed the tasting this year we do recommend you to go next year.

Port Wine Festival, Copenhagen

Forlaget Smag is arranging the annual Port Wine Festival at Børsen, Copenhagen on Monday November 6. Henrik Oldenburg is as usual the man behind the Festival and we have been informed that Dirk Niepoort will be this years special guest.

There will as usual also be many more representatives from port producers during the festival.

If you have not already bought your ticket, now is the time to do so, as they are selling out fast! Find all information about participating importers and producers and buy tickets on http://forlaget-smag.dk/

Theis Wine annual prestige tasting in Copenhagen, Denmark

On September 6 Theis Vine opens its doors for the annual tasting at the Stock Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark. The main focus for the tasting is the great chateaux of Bordeaux, with both samples from the last vintage, 2016, as well as beads of older vintages directly from the producers’ own cellars. Furthermore, a selection of some other wines from the rest of the world are also available.

Philipson’s annual wine tasting in Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark

On September 28 in Aarhus and 29-30 in Copenhagen, Philipson Wine are having their annual prestige wine tastings. The tasting program includes different types of wine, e.g. Bollinger, Guigal, Chablisienne, Sassicaia, Allegrini, Altesino, Argiano, Catena, Phelps, Pesquera and Burmester Porto.  The price is Dkk 449 and tickets are available at http://www.philipsonwine.com/vin/prestigesmagning-pw-tour

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.

Portvinsmessen – The annual portwine event in Roskilde

On March 4 we were participating in the annual event in Roskilde, Denmark, called ‘Portvinsmessen’ (The port wine fair). As usual many Danish importers were represented and several of them were backed up by representatives from the port producers.

Both tasting periods of the event were sold out and it is apparent that Denmark continues being a big market for quality port. Focus was on quality ports like Tawny with age, Colheitas and Vintage Ports. As usual our focus was on the Vintage Ports and we provide tasting notes for all of them here on the site.

We were especially impressed by some of the more mature Vintage Ports available, like the range of Warre’s Vintages with 1980, 1985 and 2000 also accompanied by their single quinta Cavadinha from 1998 and 2001. All provided by Kjaer Sommerfeldt.

We also of course liked the Taylor Vintages from 1997, 2003, 2007 and 2009. All very impressive, and best of them was the 2007. These are available from Portvinsyd.

Last but not least, the brothers from Vintageportvin.dk, showed there wide range of mature quality Vintage Ports. This year they had extended there offering with a range of Romaneira Vintages and also with Sandeman. From Sandeman we could try some of the Vau Vintages, from the very first, 1988 (the only one called Quinta da Vau) to 1997 and 1999. Best of the Sandeman Vintages was the astonishing Vintage 1970 which is a fantastic port wine showing what this producer is capable of when it makes it best. For us, this was the best Vintage Port of the day.

We also tasted a fantastic old Colheita-blend  simply called Porto 201, a blend of 1843, 1870 and 1888 (43+70+88=201) from Maynard, very kindly offered to us by Alvaro van Zeller.

Carcavelos

On February 16 the Wine Society of 18% in Malmö, Sweden, had a very interesting tasting of Carcavelos, the forgotten fortified wine from Portugal.

Carcavelos

Just west of Lisbon along the coast lies the small municipality of Carcavelos. This has been a place for wine growing since the roman times, and in the mid 18th century the wines from the region had a worldwide reputation. Marquis de Pombal had a Palace and wine estate here, and built a reputation for Carcavelos. Before the demarcation of Douro in 1756 he even sold grapes from Carcavelos to Port producers. During the 19th century the fortified wines were very popular, especially in the British market and in 1908 the region was officially demarcated and it still is classified as D.O.C (Denominação de Origem Controlada).

The 20th century turned out to be devastating for Carcavelos wines and its vineyards. As Lisbon grew and new hotels near the coast were built, more and more vineyards were sold in the real estate business. In the early 1980s there were only ten hectares of vines left.

The Ministry of Agriculture owned what was remaining of Pombal’s vineyards in the 1980s and they realized they had to do something to save what was left of Carcavelos traditions. Between 2002 and 2009 they doubled remains of the old Pombal vineyard to 12.5 hectares. Since 2004 the vineyard is owned by the municipality and a new brand was created, called Villa Oeiras.

Carcavelos wine is made from up to nine different grapes, both white and red. The most important of the white grapes are Galego Dourado, Ratinho and Arinto. The most important red grapes are Castelão and Preto. The wine is fermented completely dry and then alcohol (wine brandy) is added to bring the wine up to about 18-20% alcohol. A small part of the wine must containing residual sugar, called vinho abafado, is set aside before fortifying the wine and is then added to get a sweet wine.

The wine is then aged in barrels and receives a light Tawny like color. The style is very unique but it is somewhat similar to White Ports or some Madeiras.

CarcaGlass

In the tasting in Malmö we had 9 Carcavelos and 3 other more well-known wines for reference. Note that the tasting was conducted completely blind, meaning we did not know it was Carcavelos we tasted. The points are always affected to be more moderate in blind tastings, especially when the style of the wine is completely unique and un-common to what we are used to. This is what we tasted (in this order), with the average points from the group.

  1. Niepoort 10 years old White Port. Points 14.30
  2. Villa Oeiras, Carcavelos. The wine has been aged for at least 10 years on oak and chestnut barrels. Grapes used were Arinto, Galego Dourado and Ratinho. Points 14.40
  3. Conde de Oeiras, Meio doce, Carcavelos. A non-vintage blend of 1995-2007, bottled in 2009 from Villa Oeiras. Points 14.60
  4. M. Borges Bual 15 years, Madeira. Points 15.00
  5. Quinta de Ribeira de Caparide 1995, Carcavelos. Only available vintage found from this producer, owned by the bishop of Lisbon. Unclear if it is still in production. Points 13.40
  6. Casa Manuel Boullosa, Quinta dos Pesos 1991, Carcavelos. During some years this was the only producer of Carcavelos. No later vintages available, probably out of production today. Points 15.40
  7. Casa Manuel Boullosa, Quinta dos Pesos 1989, Carcavelos. See above. Points 14.80
  8. Alambre Moscatel de Setubal 1996, José Maria da Fonseca. Points 15.65
  9. Quinta do Barao 15 years, Carcavelos. Marquis de Pombal’s old vineyard now being revived as Villa Oeiras. Points 14.90
  10. Quinta do Barao +30 years, Carcavelos. See above. Points 15.10

    Wine number 11, Quinta da Bela Vista

    Back label of wine 11, Quinta da Bela Vista

  11. Quinta da Bela Vista, Carcavelos. Went out of business already 1969. The remaining barrels were bottled as a blend in 1991 and the average age is assumed to be about 40 years. Galego Dourado most important grape. Points 15.30
  12. Quinta da Bela Vista Antigo, Carcavelos. Bottle from the cellar of Bela Vista, i.e. bottled before 1969 but with unknown age. Points 15.85

Copenhagen Port Wine Festival 2016

festival2016_1

Dominic Symington and Gustavo Devesas

The annual port wine festival in Copenhagen, arranged by Henrik Oldenburg, was this year visited by well-known Dominic Symington from the Symington Family Estates. Dominic arranged, with help from Gustavo Devesas (Market Manager at the Symingtons) a tasting to show that the terroir and micro climate of the quintas in the Douro valley are very different. By tasting six of the Symington Single Quintas we could all see the difference between Quinta da Cavadinha, Quinta do Bomfim, Quinta dos Malvedos, Quinta dos Canais, Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira and Quinta do Vesuvio. To understand the differences better we tasted all of these quintas from both 2001 and 2010 to also see the maturation aspect of the different terroirs. Dominic talked about the work the Symingtons are doing to improve the quality in all of the quintas using modern technology combined with their long experience. The harvest can for instance be done in a more optimal way by investigating how strong the vines are throughout the quinta and then harvest different parts of the quintas at different days for perfect grapes.

festival2016_2In the open tasting we could as usual taste quite a lot of interesting Vintage Ports. There were several mature Vintage Ports from some of the importers. We were as usual impressed by the range of mature Vintage Ports from Vintageportvin.dk, and we could taste a lot of mature Vintage Ports from the Symington houses Smith Woodhouse and Gould Campbell from the vintages 1977, 1980, 1985 and 2000 and also Quarles Harris from 1977. From these the 1977, 1980 and 1985 are really impressive and peaking today and the 2000 is also nice today but it is a perfect investment for the cellar. We could also taste Warre’s Vintage Port from both 1980 and 2000 at the Kjaer Sommerfeldt table, both really good.

We would like to thank Henrk Oldenburg, Dominic Symington, Gustavo Devesas and all Danish importers for an enjoyable festival and hope to see you all again soon.