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.
visited the very first Copenhagen Sherry festival on April 25 at ‘Det Ny
Teater’ (The New Theater) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The festival is arranged by
Henrik Oldenburg, the man behind the annual Port Wine Festival in Copenhagen
and also author of many wine books, not only his famous Port Wine book but also
one about Sherry.
were about fifteen importers present at the festival, with Sherries from almost
twenty different producers. A wide range of Sherries, from dry Fino to very
sweet Pedro Ximenez could be tasted.
appreciated the Amontillado, Oloroso and Palo Cortado types of Sherrie’s best,
perhaps they are most like the port wine in balance. Some of the Pedro Ximenez
were also very interesting but they are tough to taste due to their
overwhelming sweetness and is in that sense a very different wine compared to
the producers available there were many well-known large producers, but also
smaller producers with more limited production. We especially enjoyed the wines
from Almacenistas, some delicious 30 years old from Bodegas Tradición and
finally the great wines from Bodegas Baron where the Soluqua Amontillado
impressed us with its complexity.
Henrik Oldenburg, the man behind the Port Wine Festival in Copenhagen, and Forlaget Smag is on April 25, at long last, organizing the very first festival in Copenhagen for Sherry! For details and tickets, please see: http://www.forlaget-smag.dk/SherryFestival.aspx
We hope to meet you in Copenhagen over a glass of Sherry.
Started in 2015, the Roskilde Port Wine Fair has already established itself as a yearly highlight for all Danish (and Swedish) port lovers. The Fair offers a wide range of port wines in all categories, from both large, well known producers, as well as small family owned Quintas. There is always something new to discover.
As usual we focused on the Vintage Ports and there were plenty! We tried about 60 different Vintage Ports, all with tasting notes know available here on the web site.
The latest released Vintage, the magnificent 2016, was well represented. The Vintage is still too young to fully appreciate but the power and balance in these wines are very good and there is good reason for all the positive remarks the Vintage has received after the release. Vintage 2015 must not be forgotten, it is also a very good Vintage and some producers actually made better Vintage Port in 2015 than 2016. The interesting thing is that 2017 is already spoken of as a very good Vintage and we got to taste a promising cask sample from Quinta do Pego. We look forward to see the declarations of Vintage 2017 coming over the next couple of months.
We would like to thank all the importers, representatives from Portugal and the arrangers of the Fair for a wonderful afternoon.
When looking back on 2018 we must say that it has been a fantastic year in terms of all lovely port wines we got to taste and all devoted and passionate port producers, importers and port lovers we got to meet.
We are happy to see that there seems to be more port related events than ever and some of the finest we have participated in during this last year is
The Port Wine Fair in Roskilde, Denmark
The Big Fortified Tasting in London, UK
The Port Wine Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Port Wine Messe in Leverkusen, Germany
During summer we also made a very nice trip to Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia and the Douro valley with our families and got the chance to visit many producers, both well-known but also some smaller producers that are relatively new in the business. All in all a fantastic trip and we hope we can go back soon again.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2019.