Author Archives: Stefan

Christmas Vintage Ports

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 Ports in the family 2014

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.

2019 December 23: Quinta do Junco 1908 and Ferreira 1908 (Junco a bit tawny-style but two lovely ports)

2019 December 25: Fonseca Guimaraens 1972 and Guimaraens 1919

2018 December 23: Barros 1958 and Taylor 1948 (Two lovely Vintage Ports!)

2018 December 25: Quinta do Noval Nacional 1983 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 1968 (Not so often seen Vintages from this legendary Quinta).

2018 December 26: Hankey Bannister 1935 and Fearon Block (probably Taylor) 1935 (George V’s Jubilee Vintage – a classic Vintage)

2017 December 23: Garnett’s Bros Vintage 1917 and Ramos Pinto 1917 (Not sure which house was bottled by Garnett, but lovely wines)

2016 December 23: Forrester 1926 and Cockburn 1916 (Forrester was most likely a Colheita but the Cockburn was fantastic.)

2016 December 25: Quinta do Panascal 1906 (George’s Imperial Crown Red) and an unknown vintage from 1901.

2015 December 23: Silva & Cosens 1915 and W.N. Starling 1887 (Starling is noted as a Taylor in several places and it most likely is a Taylor.).

2014 December 23: Quinta do Noval Vintage 1934, A. J. da Silva Colheita 1934 and No 1 Especial Vinho Velha Quinta de Romariz 1834 (A.J. da Silva were Noval at that time. This time the Noval Vintage Port was the clear winner.)

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)

2012 December 23: Quinta do Sibio 1900 (José Duate d’Oliviera) and Gilbey 1900

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.)

2010 December 23: Sandeman 1943 and Harvey 1887

2009 December 23: Martinez 1922 and Quinta de Zimbro 1922

2008 December 23: Graham’s 1948 and van Zellers 1933

2007 December 23: Dow’s 1946 and Sandeman 1946

2006 December 23: Constantino 1941 and Quinta do Corval 1941 (Real Companhia Velha)

2005 December 23: Quinta de Roriz 1920 and Warre’s 1920

2004 December 23: Gozalez-Byass 1960 and Ferreira 1960

2003 December 23: Charlie & Co. 1924 and Graham’s 1924

Vintage Port 1985 Tasting

Despite all cancelled tastings, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we managed to hold a Great Tasting of Vintage Port 1985 in our Wine club in Malmö, Sweden in September. 1985 is ranked as the best Vintage in the 1980s and expectations were of course high with. We had managed to collect 59 different Vintage Ports, a quite complete setup with all the big houses represented.

Vintage Port 1985, still quite dark ruby in the colour

At an age of 35 years the Vintage should now show its full potential and it certainly did. There were many wonderful wines and some of them are actually still appearing as young with impressive tannins and great structure. Fonseca was the winner of the tasting. Dow’s and Taylor’s were not so far behind. All three are wonderful today and will remain so for several years.

Fonseca 1985
Quinta Dona Matilde 1985

You can read all about the tasting, results and tasting notes on our page dedicated to the tasting.

The “new” Quinta da Côrte

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.

Vintage Port 2017 and 2015 from Quinta da Côrte

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.

Dark nice ruby colour.

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.

Vintage Port 2017

Tasting notes are also found under our page about Quinta da Côrte.

For being a new producer in the business the Port Wines are very promising and well worth trying for any Port Wine lover.

Time for some great Port Wine

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 Vintage Ports!

Vintage Port 1985 ready for tasting

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 expectations.

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.

Danish Sherry Festival

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.

Tickets will be available from February 1 and can only be found here www.forlaget-smag.dk

Port Wine Fair – Leverkusen

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.

Grape specific 1982 Ramos Pinto

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!

Porto Branco 1884

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.

Carlos Agrello, Quinta do Noval

Now we are looking forward to Christmas, when we usually drink very old vintages (often > 100 years old). That will be nice indeed!

Copenhagen Port Wine Festival at Børsen

Quinta da Sequeira 2017
Pacheca 2017

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.

Ana Rosas

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.

Jorge Rosas from Ramos Pinto and Henrik Oldenburg
Blending kit.

2018 Bordeaux – a great new good old vintage

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.

Bordeaux 2018 at Theis Wine Prestige Tasting

On September 4 it is time for the annual Bordeaux tasting, focusing on the latest vintage- 2018. Theis Wine is arranging this opportunity to compare many of the best chateaux of Bordeaux.

In addition to Bordeaux some selected wines from Burgundy and Tuscany as well as Champagne and Rioja are served.

Tickets are available at https://www.theis-vine.dk/products/bordeaux-2018-theis-vine-prestigesmagning-prestigesmagning-axelborg/