We got the chance to evaluate the Vintage Ports from this newcomer in the port wine business. Newcomer? Is that true, you might think. Well, most of you, who know your Vintage Ports, and the port wine quintas, have probably heard about or even tasted Quinta da Côrte under the Delaforce label which has been produced since the 1970’s. The last Vintage Port under the Delaforce label was however made in 2004.
In 2013 Quinta da Côrte was bought by Philippe Austruy most known for his career in the health care sector, but also owner of Commanderie de Peyrassol in Côtes de Provence and the Château Malescasse in Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux. After restoring both the vineyards and the main buildings the first wine was released in 2013, a Douro red table wine. Today the Quinta, located in the Cima Corgo, in the Douro Valley, is offering visitors wine tastings, dining possibilities and a guest accommodation.
Together with the Quinta the wine stock in the cellars were included and this made it possible to also start producing and selling port wine. Currently the port wine portfolio is made up of a 10 years Tawny, a 20 years Tawny, LBV’s from 2014 and 2015 and Vintage Ports from 2015 and 2017.
Back to the Vintage Ports. The first Vintage Port under the new management, and from wine maker Marta Casanova, was the 2015 Vintage Port. This is today still very young and dark ruby in colour. The bouquet provides a rich fruity and powerful touch of dark berries like mulberries, blueberries, black currant and dark cherries. Still of course young in taste with loads of dark berries and massive but lovely tannins. Although we like it today, this would definitively improve even more with some years in the cellar.
The 2017 is the latest Vintage Port from the Quinta. The style is recognized, with very dark ruby colour and dark berries in the bouquet. This time the bouquet is accomplished with some peppery notes and fresh herbal notes. The Port is very fresh in the mouth and provides a long very balanced taste with soft but noticeable tannins. The tannins appear a bit more rounded than in the 2015 but there is definitely ageing potential for this youngster as well.
During this terrible
Corona times we have in the family tried to taste at least one new Port every weekend
on the terrace – keeping the distance safe. Sorry to say we have not managed to
do so every weekend but since the 27th of March we have tasted more than 25 new
We have really enjoyed
these weekends sometimes started with a nice bottle of Champagne! We will try
to continue these weekends as long as corona is still here. Hope you will do
the same. We are also planning for some tastings in our wine club. First
tasting will be a unique tasting of Vintage Port 1985, where we plan to taste
59 different brands over two days! We are looking forward to this with great
This week there is an
extra chance to taste some port to celebrate the Port Wine Day on Thursday September
10. This day was selected to commemorate the demarcation of the Douro wine
region on September 10, 1756.
Update!! Due to the Corona-virus the Sherry Festival has been cancelled.
On April 21 it is time for the second Danish Sherry-festival. The event takes place at “Det ny Teater” in Copenhagen and is hosted by Henrik Oldenburg, the arranger of the annual Port Wine festival at Børsen.
There will be a wide range of different Sherry served by 22-25 exhibitors.
We have had a marvelous month of November. It started with the Port Wine Festival in Copenhagen, which we’ve already written about, and ended with the Port Wine Fair in Leverkusen, Germany organized by Axel Probst and Christoffer Pfaff, World of Port.
Ramos Pinto had a Master Class tasting focusing on Tawny in Copenhagen (read about it here). In Leverkusen we once again had the great pleasure of meeting Ana Rosas from Ramos Pinto. This time the focus was on Vintage Ports and the importance of the different grape varieties used. Ramos Pinto has always been one of the companies leading the research on grape varietals. Joao Nicolau de Almeida, former winemaker at the company started to plant grape varieties separate, something that was not common at that time, and also bottled single variety wines from different vintages. All to better understand how the different grape varieties contribute to the final blend. These single varietal bottles are not for sale, they are only used for Ramos Pinto’s internal reference. Remember that Vintage Port is bottled already when two to three years old and then the final blend must already be made. So it was very interesting to get the opportunity to taste some of these single varietal bottles of Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Roriz from 1982 together with the released 1982 Vintage Port.
This wonderful Master Class was rounded off by a magical white port from 1884, directly from Ramos Pinto’s cellars!
The Port Wine Fair in Leverkusen is focusing on the latest Vintage and this year we tasted about 60 different Vintage Ports from 2017 and we have now tasted more than 70 different 2017 Vintage Ports, a very great vintage indeed. Some of us are unfortunately too old to have the opportunity to drink this memorable vintage once it is matured, many years from now. We think there are too many houses with incredible vintages this year to be mentioned them, so just buy your favorite producers of the vintage and enjoy it. Our tasting notes are as always available. Check out all the 2017 Vintages we have tasted here. Last time in history seeing three consecutive such great vintage years as 2015, 2016 and 2017 was 1820, 1821 and 1822 if we remember correctly.
Now we are looking forward to Christmas, when we usually drink very old
vintages (often > 100 years old). That will be nice indeed!
For Vintage Port lovers like us the last year’s Port Wine Festivals have been exciting with three fantastic vintages in a row, 2015, 2016 and now the latest released 2017 Vintages. At this years festival it was possible to taste more than 20 Vintage Ports from 2017, more than ten from 2016 and 8 from 2015. There was also an impressive range with more than fifteen older Vintage Ports with at least fifteen years of age. From 2017 we especially liked Warre’s from Symington’s followed by Churchill, Wiese & Krohn and Quinta da Romaneira, but many smaller companies and some companies better known for their tawnies definitely impressed us as well. Some of these were Burmester, Kopke, Messias, Pacheca, Quinta da Sequeira, Quinta da Santa Eufemia, Quinta dos Mattos, Vieira de Sousa and Vista Alegre. As usual you find tasting notes and our ratings for all Vintage Ports we tasted here on our web site.
To honor that Mr. Henrik Oldenburg have arranged the Port Wine Festival for more than 30 years, Ramos Pintos led a master class with extra focus on the 30 year old Tawny. Master blender Ana Rosas of Ramos Pinto, and her cousin Jorge Rosas, CEO of Ramos Pinto wanted us to understand the enormous effort and persistent work over several decades that is needed to create these old wines.
Following the instructions by Ana Rosas we elaborated and blended our own 30 year old Tawnies from a range of base wines directly from Ramos Pintos cellars. Finding the balance between old complex heavy wines and younger wines with fresher notes and vivid acidity to create the perfect balanced wine is indeed a work of art. We can only conclude that our attempts led us closer to the goal but still far from the final blend by Ana Rosas sold by Ramos Pinto. Actually Ramos Pinto is one of the best producers of tawnies with indication of age.
On September 4 we had the opportunity to taste a large selection of the new Bordeaux vintage 2018 at Theis’ annual Bordeaux tasting in Copenhagen. The tasting is focusing on the latest vintage – this year 2018, but most also serve an older vintage. In addition to Bordeaux some selected wines from Burgundy and Tuscany as well as Champagne and Rioja are served.
With about 100 classified Bordeaux vintages (Medoc, St Emilion and
Graves/Sauternes) it was impossible to try all the good wines served. As we
focused on Bordeaux we did miss out on some of the other wines served.
2018 is a very good vintage, and unusually difficult to appreciate young. The last decade or so, wine making has produced wines that are easier to appreciate already at release, compared to earlier vintages. However, many of the wines from 2018, have a lot of tannins. Especially the right side, St Emilion and Pomerol, had an unusually high degree of tannins. Some of the red wines we appreciated the most were Château Leoville Las Cases, Château Leoville Poyferré, Cos d´Estournel, Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Château La Conseillante and Château Clinet
On the sweet side, there were some lovely Sauternes from Château Suduiraut and Château Coutet that really were superb, especially after sampling almost 100 young red tannic Bordeaux. We are impressed by the outstanding collection of good wines that Theis had managed to set up at this wonderful tasting.
On September 19 in Aarhus and 20 in Copenhagen, Philipson Wine is having their annual prestige wine tastings. The tasting program includes different types of wine, e.g. Bollinger, Chablisienne, Sassicaia, Argiano, Altesino, Catena, Pesquera and port wine from Vallado. Tickets are available at www.philipsonwine.com
The newest released Vintage, 2017, is already claimed to be a fantastic Vintage. Following the excellent Vintage of 2015 came the even better 2016. So when the word started spreading that 2017 was also something extra, it was almost too good to believe. Three good Vintages in a row! It was therefore with great expectations that we went to the so called Preview Tasting of the 2017 hosted in Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen. Three of the largest and most renowned port wine companies, Symington Family Estates, The Fladgate Partnership and Quinta do Noval had joined forces to introduce their new Vintage Ports to the market.
Our general impression is that the Vintage is indeed worth all the hype. The extremely dry weather conditions in 2017 resulted in small grapes and a low yield. In fact all companies compared the 2017 Vintage to the legendary 1945 when it comes to the dry growing conditions and the early harvest. We can confirm that the wines in fact show a greater concentration in the fruit compared to 2016, but it is a bit too early to judge one of these Vintages superior to the other.
Symington (Wine maker) and Dominic Symington (Director) from The Symington
Family Estates presented the following Vintage Ports from 2017:
Cockburn– General impression is that this is one of the best Cockburn’s in a long time. The style is the more dry classic expression that we have learnt to love in old Cockburn bottlings. Tasting notes.
Dow’s – Another port in the dry style. As always the intense dark fruit is impressive in young Dow’s and this is certainly no exception. Tasting notes.
Graham’s – Here the concentration of the Vintage becomes apparent in the rich aftertaste. Fantastic wine that is so well balanced that it is surprisingly enjoyable already today, but please, keep your hands off for a few decades!! Tasting notes.
Graham’s The Stone Terraces – This is actually quite similar to the ordinary Graham’s but with a bit more focus on the fruit, definitely one of the best from the Vintage. Tasting notes.
Quinta do Vesuvio – Perfectly clean and nice black fruit dominates, not one of the most powerful but really elegant and nice long balanced finish. Tasting notes.
Capela da Quinta do Vesuvio – Extremely packed with dark berries, terrific concentration in the fruit and tough tannins. One step up in everything compared to the ordinary Vesuvio. Tasting notes.
Warre’s –As usual appears a bit sweeter in style but great structure and firm tannins. Very pleasing sweet dark fruit, floral notes and chocolate. Very easy to like already today. Tasting notes.
Bridge (CEO) and David Fonseca Guimaraens (Head Winemaker) from The Fladgate partnership
presented the following:
Croft – Classic style of the house with good fruit, some elegancy and eucalyptus. Quite easy to drink and like already but there are of course plenty more to come with storing. Tasting notes.
Quinta da Roeda Serikos – The first Vintage made from a small plot of old vines in Quinta da Roeda, the main Quinta of Croft. Again with eucalyptus hints in the nose. Shows a really good concentration in the fruit and will be interesting to follow. Tasting notes.
Fonseca – As always huge power in the fruit and heavy weight tannins. This is one of the more closed wines at the moment and definitely needs time. But as always the quality is on top when it comes to Fonseca. Tasting notes.
Krohn – Since the Fladgates took over Wiese & Krohn in 2013 the Vintage declarations have been kept to the generally declared Vintages and after 2011 only 2016 and now 2017 have been declared. Nice to see that the brand is kept and is still used also for bottle aged port. A bit lighter than most of the other but still an excellent wine and normally a bit more affordable in price. Tasting notes.
Taylor – Interesting to compare to the Vargellas Vinha Velha. The Taylor is a classic style Taylor that will certainly be recognized for its elegancy with floral notes and violet. Quite massive tannins and a lovely aftertaste. Tasting notes.
Vargellas Vinha Velha – Made from grapes harvested on old vines growing on a small plot in Taylor’s Quinta da Vargellas. Fantastic depth in the fruit and outstanding long lasting finish. This is also one of our absolute favorites in the tasting. Tasting notes.
Seely (Managing Director of AXA Millésimes) and Carlos Agrellos (Technical
Director) of Quinta do Noval presented the following:
Quinta do Noval – As usual Noval impresses not by power and tannins, instead it is the complexity, elegancy and balance that is the hallmark of their wines, and this absolutely fulfills our expectations in that sense. Tasting notes.
Quinta do Noval Nacional – Nacional is legendary for a reason, it has delivered some of the finest wines of the 20th century. After a little weaker period in the 1980s there is now again reason to keep an eye on Noval Nacional. The 2016 Vintage released last year is fantastic and the new 2017 Vintage Port is indeed one of the top from the Vintage. Tasting notes.
Quinta da Romaneira– There is no doubt that since Christian Seely took over as Managing Director also for Quinta da Romaneira, the ambition to restore the vineyards to top quality. The latest Vintages shows that they are well on way but it is still a bit lighter in body compared to many of the other wines in the tasting. Tasting notes.