The annual Portweinmesse in Leverkusen, November 2022, included two master class events. The first led by Carlos Alves from Sogevinus explaining how to blend old Tawny Port. Included in the tasting was a sample of the relatively new category 50 year old tawny port.
The second master class was led by George Sandeman, who currently is the Chancellor of the Confraria do Vinho do Porto. We had the rare opportunity to be able to taste the Confraria Vintage Ports. The Confraria Vintage Ports are only made the best vintages and is a blend of the member houses Vintage Ports. During the Master Class we tasted the following Confraria Vintage Ports: 1982, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2011 and 2017.
The Port Wine Messe focus on providing the opportunity to taste the last declared vintage, this time 2020, but also includes several older vintage ports and special category ports. In general 2020 is a quite good year. It is not classic, but in general it is better than the two previous vintages, 2018 and 2019. Tasting notes of Vintage 2020 that we have tasted so far are available on our Vintage 2020 page.
Theis Bordeaux tasting in Copenhagen was this year truly massive. The number of cru classified wines at the fair was significantly larger this year compared to last time. An astonishing amount of good high class chateaux and some nice Champagne, Port and other wines.
Bordeaux 2021 will most likely not be remembered as one of the greater vintages of the century. 2021 is rather medium quality. It is lighter in colour and lighter and fresher in taste than the last few years. Probably most of the wines will also mature quicker since they lack a bit of structure and body.
For Port lovers it was interesting to see that Niepoort presented some of their Ports but also some of their other wines.
Niepoort has recently changed suppliers in Denmark, and is know imported by Theis Vine. Stefano Marello, Export Director at Niepoort Vinhos says that the change of distributors was made to support the sales of Niepoort’s growing portfolio of white and red wines and in order to get access to the best restaurants in Denmark, such as Geranium and Alchemist.
As for many other Port wine companies the table wines have been growing in sales over the last couple of decades. Actually, for Niepoort, the table wine sales are bigger in both volume and value compared to Port wine.
On September 8, 2022, Theis Vine will arrange a Bordeaux 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, 2021, 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.
The event started with an amazing Master Class with Sandeman’s Director of Oenology, Luis de Sottomayor. We were guided through a selection of six wines spanning six decades. We tasted 2018, 2011, 2000, 1997, 1977 and 1966. All wines were in very good condition but 1977 and 1966 was outstanding.
At the open tasting at the Portweinmesse we were offered more than 100 different vintage ports and a some tawnys. The fair is usually focused on the last vintage, but as the fair was canceled last year, the last three vintages, 2019, 2018 and 2017, all displayed about 25-30 vintages each. Of the three, 2017 is the best vintage.
is here writing some words about the Christmas celebrations within the family.
Last year one of my sons-in-law wrote about our Christmas ports during the last decades, and in 2020 we did not have any dinner or meeting in the family due to the pandemic. This year we decided to try in a strange way even if we had to deliver wine and some food to one of our daughter’s family. The great day in our family is the 23th of December. This is due to the fact that when the first son-in-law in spe wanted to celebrate Christmas with his fiance i.e. our daughter, that had to be on the 23rd because Christmas Eve he had to go to his parents, and so it continued when our next son-in-law appeared. From the first year we had a new kind of meat for dinner and so it has continued since 1998. It has been an exciting evening every year for our grandchildren to guess what new meat we will eat.
This year I was thinking of celebrating both 2020 and 2021. We started of course with champagne every evening. On the 23rd we had our new meat (Guineafowl) and Ch. Leoville-las Casas 1920 and Ch. Latour 1951 followed by the dessert with Ferreira Vintage Port 1820 and their Garrafeira Port 1830.
On Christmas Eve we had with the Stilton cheese a Tawny tasting: Noval 30 years Dry tawny bottled 1971, Feuerheerd Commendador ( 25 years) bottled 1965 and Dow’s VVO bottled by Silva e Cosens, a very old tawny indeed.
Christmas day I had, due to something very strange, as red wines Latricieres-Chambertin 2006 and Ch. Lynch-Bages 1964 with the meat and to the Christmas pudding the Manchester wine-dealer Schofields Vintage Port 1920 and Ramos Pinto Vintage Port 1921.
On Boxing Day I took no French red wine, but Torre Gran Corona, Grand Reserve, Black Label and Brunello di Montalcino from Biondi Santi in Toscana both from 1971 and ended with Sandemans Vintage Ports 1959 and 1965.
We are very pleased that Henrik Oldenburg could again arrange the Port Wine festival in 2021, at the period between two waves of Covid-19. Especially as 2020 was cancelled due to the same pandemic virus.
Before the start of the festival there was a press tasting featuring Dominic Symington. As Dominic became 65 years old in May 2020, he retired from the company management and the tasting held at the port wine festival in Copenhagen was his last official act. The theme of the tasting was “Vintages from my time” and he had selected a rare and exclusive selection, taken directly from Symington’s own stock. We had a wonderful selection of vintage ports, including the following: 1963 Dow and 1970 Graham, both selected because they were the first after Symington’s purchased Dow respectively Graham, 1977 Dow, 1980 Warre, 1985 Graham, 1994 Quinta do Vesuvio, 1995 Quinta da Cavadinha, 2000 Warre, 2007 Dow, 2011 Cockburn, 2011 Dow, and 2017 Graham. All bottles were in mint condition and performed very well. We are very grateful to Dominic for his fantastic guidance trough six decades of port and the “vintages from my time”.
The vintage ports featured at the port wine
festival were mainly from 2017, 2018 and 2019, but also some older. Among the
better newly released vintages were Quinta do Vesuvio 2018, Quinta do Seixo
2019 and Sandeman 2018. In addition to Dominic’s special tasting, we must
mention that we very much appreciated that it was possible to sample a few
older vintages, such as Churchill 1997, Quinta do Cachao 1983, Sandemans Vau
1999 and Sandeman 1980. On the tawny side there were several very good old
tawny’s and colheitas, such as 1969 Quinta da Devesa Colheita Branco and
Palmers 1962 white and 1970 Colheita.
As a general conclusion regarding the last
vintages 2018 and 2019, none of these are up to the standard of the spectacular
triplet vintages 2015-2017.
2020 is a very special year. It is now 45 years since Sten (co-founder of this web site) and his wife fell in love with Vintage port. Every Christmas since then, the family have enjoyed Vintage Port with Stilton cheese – great tradition! Many years have passed by and the two daughters in the family grew older, both getting married to beer and whisky lovers (sighs), none with experience of port wine (sighs again). Sten had at that time only been drinking beer just once in his life and did not fancy it at all. He thought whisky was drinkable and since then we in the family have enjoyed quite some decent whiskies together. The two sons-in-law, Jörgen and Stefan, learned to love Port Wine and in 2011 we started this web site together.
Christmas time also resulted in other traditions within the family. The whole family have been celebrating the 23rd of December together for 22 years now (giving the opportunity to celebrate with other family members over the coming days of Christmas), but of course we have often also celebrated the following days of Christmas together.
In 2003 Sten decided that his family, including sons-in-law, should taste some old Vintage Ports on the 23rd of December when the family was celebrating. We have been tasting some quite fantastic port wines since then on our Christmas gatherings and were looking forward to doing the same this year. This Christmas, with the Corona, we were not able to celebrate Christmas together as usual. We hope next Christmas gives us a few more days together so we can drink the Vintage Ports for both 2020 and 2021 together.
Often we tried to taste ports with an age of 100 years. This has been possible for some Vintages even if some of the years are very difficult (for Sten impossible) to find.
2014 December 25: Taylor 1935(bottled by Fearon Block) and Croft 1914(This bottle of Crofts 1914 vintage Port was shipped by pipe and bottled at Chester’s Brewery Co, Ardwick for the manager Mr George Smith Thomson’s personal use. It has not been rebottled./ G. Hoban 1989)
2011 December 23: Hooper 1951 and Cockburn 1911(This bottle has belonged to Jorge Guillermo who was married to one of the Dutch princesses and sold his wine cellar at Christie´s when they divorced, but no label on the bottle, just a Cockburn label around the neck where Cockburn 1911 was written.)