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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.