On September 20 in Aarhus and 21 in Copenhagen, Philipson Wine are having their annual prestige wine tastings. The tasting program includes different types of wine, e.g. Bollinger, Chablisienne, Sassicaia, Allegrini, Altesino, Catena, Phelps, Pesquera and Burmester Porto. Tickets are available at www.philipsonwine.com
On September 4 Theis Vine arrange 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, 2017, 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.
We will surely be visiting this tasting and you can expect our review of the event in September.
Tickets are available at www.theis-vine.dk
In June this year we visited Porto and Douro, starting with a few days in Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto and concluding with visits to some of the quintas in Douro. In Vila Nova de Gaia we had several fantastic and very well organized tours and tastings, but also a few drop by tastings at some lodges we had not booked in advance.
Symington is one of the leading Port companies and has several lodges in Gaia. We visited Graham’s and Cockburn’s. At Graham’s, that is one of the bigger lodges in Gaia, the tours are very professional and interesting and the tasting was very good.
Cockburn’s new lodge offers also a very good tour and tasting and includes a very interesting view into how the coopers make or renovate the pipes, barrels and vats.
At Barao de Vilar wine maker Alvaro van Zeller showed us their stock and bottling operation in Gaia. Barao de Vilar is much smaller as a company than the major port groups, but they are also one of the most creative. In order to make an impact they are making very clever packages and bottles, such as their 100 years tawny, consisting of four small bottles of 10+20+30+40 = 100 year tawny. Alvaro and his team also have a number of very old colheitas, of which we had the great honor to taste 1990, 1977, 1963 (Barao de Vilar vs Palmer), 1962, 1950, 1934 in addition to their vintage and white colheita. It was an absolutely amazing tasting which we will remember for a long time.
Sogevinus owns Cálem, Kopke, Burmester, Barros and some other brands. We visited the newly renovated and upgraded Cálem lodge that combines hi-tech presentation in combination with a traditional tour to provide a good experience. For example, they have a 5D-cinema experience. We had a very interesting tasting of their latest 2016 vintages as well as some fabulous older colheitas. We really appreciated to be able to taste their fine ports in the company of Sogevinus PR & communication manager Jose João Santos, Business manager Stefano Marello and winemaker Carlos Alves.
Cruz and Dalva are situated in the main square in Gaia, at Espaço Porto Cruz. Gran Cruz bought the company C. da Silva and their brand Dalva in 2007 and they are now both presented at Espaço Porto Cruz. At Grand Cruz you can have a meal in their restaurant or try a selection of their ports. We got a very good expose of Cruz and Dalva port including their fantastic white ports, Dalva Golden White, and Presidential Vintage 2011. Presidential is an alternative brand for Dalva used in some markets.
In addition, we stopped at some other lodges and had some ports in the bar at:
- Ramos Pintos,
- Quinta dos Corvos
- Portologia, port wine bar in Porto
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.
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.
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.
Overall, we think the fair was well organized and we hope to be able to come next year too.
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
The 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.
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.
Please read more about the tasting here. You will also find tasting notes and scores for all tasted wines.
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 slower 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some 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.
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.
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.
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.