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.)
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.
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.
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.