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.
The Wine Society 18%, Malmö Sweden, had a Great Tasting on the 16th and 18th March 2017 of 31 different 1983 Vintage Ports. As always for these Great Tastings the expectations were high, especially for a Vintage like 1983 that has been praised by wine critics and experts. To be honest, this time the truth did not meet our expectations. There were too many wines that were over the hill and showed volatile acidity or oxidation. Unfortunately there were also some that we classified as defect due to bad corks. We have had several other Great Tastings of older Vintages but we have never had so many bad or poor wines. On the other hand some of the wines are really good, you just need to know which they are, and avoid the others.
As always both Taylor and Fonseca are good, even if some in the group did not fully appreciate the Fonseca. Both are quite mature, the Taylor looks surprisingly light in colour but it is as always very generous in the bouquet and wonderfully delicate on the palate with raisins, orange zest, dark chocolate and cacao. It is a full bodied wine and has a long attractive finish.
Some of the absolute best wines from the Vintage are from the Symington’s. When looking at the total ranking from the total tasting group they actually took the four top places! The top scorer of the night was Quarles Harris followed by Gould Campbell, Grahams and then Smith Woodhouse. The Quarles Harris is still quite dark in colour but with a mature yellow rim. It shows all the attributes of a Vintage Port on its peak, with coffee, tea, cacao and much more in the bouquet, On the palate the wine seems to remain forever in the mouth – truly a perfectly balanced port wine.
Please read all of the tasting notes and all our scores and ranking under Great Tasting 1983.
In week 14th it has been announced that Graham will honor Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday with a special Port Wine. The wine is a blend of 40% tawny from 1935, 20% of a tawny from 1824 and 40% of a tawny from 1912 which means an average aged of 90 years, i.e. the same age as the Queen in 2016. The Queen is one of the greatest ambassadors for Port in the world as she always in every official dinner at Windsor Castle and at Buckingham Palace will serve Port with the dessert.
There has been some problem with these bottles as the wines are neither colheita nor tawnies according to the law. Only one of the years has the Port Wines Institute’s registration and that is the 1935 due to the Port Wines Institute’s legalization was not until 1933. Symington, who own Graham, has got a special authorization to offer the wines to the market. The prices will be around 700 pounds+ shipping.
During Easter we tasted the Vintage 1942. It is a very rare Vintage for us, just one of us had tasted this year before. The two bottles we tasted were excellent and much better than we had believed. It was Sandeman and Graham’s we tasted and especially the Graham’s developed in a fantastic way in the glass but they were both equally good. Have any of you enjoyed a 1942 recently? Please inform us about your opinion.
In addition, we tasted Quinta do Jordao for the very first time. The quinta is better known as Quinta do Sibio, and under that name we have tasted it four times in the past. We had managed to get hold of two different vintages, 1950 and 1958, of Quinta do Jordao, and they were astonishingly good.
Have you tasted this Quinta or do you know of any other vintages from this Quinta? We do not!