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.
To celebrate the Silver Jubilee, marking the 25th anniversary of The Wine Society 18% in Malmö, Sweden, we decided to have a special tasting. Unfortunately 1993, when the Society was founded, was a horrible year for Vintage Port and only one producer declared, Quinta da Romaneira’s single quinta Quinta das Liceiras. So to get a proper tasting we decided to add all the 1992 Vintage Ports as well. So, it ended up with a proper Jubilee tasting of 24 Vintage Ports in total.
On November 8 we conducted the tasting with 16 attending participants. The tasting was held in two flights and it was semi-blind.
It was with great expectations we went to this year’s Festival in Copenhagen. Not only because we were looking forward to taste some 2016 Vintage Ports, the latest generally declared Vintage, but also to learn more about the Colheitas from Andresen in a special tasting with the owner of Andresen, Carlos Flores dos Santos and their wine maker Alvaro van Zeller.
Andresen are producing both Colheita and Vintage Ports, but according to Carlos they have always considered themselves of being a Tawny and Colheita house. After participating in this tasting we can understand why. Vintage Port lovers as we are, we have of course tasted many of their Vintage Ports, and even if they are good they are not competing with the best in that category. Their Colheitas on the other hand are indeed very good and in this tasting we got the chance to taste two Colheitas from each decade all the way back to the 1960’s, and on top of that two older fantastic Colheitas. 1937 Colheita bottled already in 1980, meaning it had about the same time in wood as on bottle. This was a great wine, showing elegancy, complexity and a quite light body, but with a long lovely finish. The last wine was more recently bottled Colheita 1910; actually it was bottled when 100 years old in 2010. This wine has an enormous concentration and a fat lovely aftertaste which never seems to end. Indeed a top quality Colheita!
Carlos Flores dos Santos and Alvaro van Zeller
In the open tasting we focused on the Vintage Ports and we found some interesting new producers we never got the chance to taste before. Dona Otilia, Martha’s, Boeira and Lacrau were new to us and we also tasted Quinta da Oliveirinha from Alves de Sousa for the first time. The latest Vintage 2016 was quite well represented and some of them are very impressive, we especially liked Sandeman and Dow’s but there were others that also impressed on us like Churchill, Kopke, Barros and Quinta da Romaneira. Even if 2016 is generally declared and 2015 is not there are for sure some really good wines made from 2015 as well. One that we have been very impressed by since we tasted it the first time last year is Niepoort Vintage Port 2015, and once again it shows that the best from 2015 can match many of the 2016 Vintage Ports.
Overall this year’s Festival shows that port wine is more popular than ever in Denmark. There is a huge assortment of all kinds of port available from many devoted and passionate importers, many of them with great knowledge of Port in general and there is always something new to learn when talking to them over a glass of port. So a big thanks to all of you for all the generosity, both with wine and knowledge. We are also of course sending our compliments to Mr. Henrik Oldenburg for the great arrangements. This is indeed one of the highlights on the year for port lovers like us.
We have been lucky enough to participate in two Great Sandeman tastings together with George Sandeman in the last six months. The first one was in London in May at the Big Fortified Tasting where George Sandeman held a Masterclass tasting together with wine maker Luís Sottomayor. The following vintages from Sandeman were tasted:
10, 20 and 40 years Tawny, LBV 2011, Founders Reserve and Imperial Reserve Tawny.
Two brilliant and exclusive tastings guided by George. It was very interesting to hear his analysis of the development of Sandman’s Vintage Ports over the decades. These tastings showed that Sandeman is again making top quality Vintage Ports. It will be interesting to follow the latest Vintages from 2007, 2011 and 2016 and see if they develop into the same kind of fantastic wines as for instance the 1963 and 1970.
We are very thankful for the opportunities to taking part in these two wonderful tastings. Tasting notes are on our Sandeman page.