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.
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.
The Port Forum is an internet forum as well as a devoted group of port wine lovers. We attended a “high-flying” tasting organized at the Royal Air Force Club in central London. The premises were very elegant and we were awed and could hear the sound of the Spitfire planes in our mind when we admired the hundreds of paintings of air crafts hanging on the walls.
With participants from Sweden, Germany, Portugal and Italy in addition to the U.K., we were a fairly international group. The theme was set to “Something nice from the 60s” and everybody brought a bottle of their own choosing to fit the theme.
The final selection became quite interesting. Two bottles were vintage port mixed by the importer- Harvey’s 1962 (Cockburn+Martinez) and Averys 1963 (Sandeman+Fonseca+Taylor). Three bottles pre 1963, 8 bottles of 1963 and three bottles of 1966.
Croft 1960 – Fonseca 1960 – Harvey’s 1962
Averys 1963 and it’s components – Sandeman 1963 – Fonseca’s 1963 – and Taylor 1963
Warre 1963 – Dow 1963 – Feist 1963 – and Dalva Golden White Tawny 1963
Fonseca 1966 – Taylor 1966 – Noval 1966
The tasting was a lovely experience. Most bottles were very good but a few were not at peak performance. This is the risk you have to take when you drink wine that is more than 50 years old. As a vintage, the legendary 1963 has peaked and some of the wines are beginning to deteriorate, but most are still very good and will stay on high level for many years to come. It is also noteworthy that 1966 is keeping very well in general, and some were perceived as quite young – at an age of 52 years. This was a great and quite wonderful tasting for us from Sweden and we hope we can go to London again at these occasions.