At the last tasting in our wine society 18% we tasted some very interesting and virtually unknown ports. In total we tried 11 ports, all new to the wine club and most of them new to us too. With seven new vintage ports, new houses/quintas and some other special port we did have a nice evening.
The first house we had was Vasconcellos, which is a very small and almost unknown house. In the past they had very close connections to Gonzalez Byass and Butler Nephew. Suckling (1992) writes that he has never had a Vasconcellos and that he tried in vain to contact the company. 1965 is the oldest known vintage port Vasconcellos produced. Vasconcellos is owned by the British family Christie, who sold the company’s port warehouse to Sandeman in 1989 but kept the brand. Since 2000 Christies har resurected Vasconcellos again and started to sell the port under the brand Vasconcellos, and in addition they have restored the Butler Nephew brand. Both are now produced by CCVP – Companhia Comercial de Vinhos do Porto. Gonzalez Byass has however had other owners and do not belong to Christie.
At the tasting we tried all the Vintage ports we know Vasconcellos has made, and a more than 40 year old tawny:
- Vasconcellos Vintage Port 2003 (CCVP)
- Vasconcellos Vintage Port 2000 (CCVP)
- Vasconcellos Vintage Port 1989 (CCVP)
- Vasconcellos Vintage Port 1965 (Vasconcellos Oporto & Cia)
- Vasconcellos More than 40 years old Tawny (CCVP), bottled 2006
According to several sources on the web, Vasconcellos ‘More than 40 years old Tawny’ is composed of a blend of 1902 and 1942, but if this is true we do not know.
The second brand we tried was Maia. Maia is a brand that was sold as BOB (Buyers Own Brand) by Barros Almeida. Maia has been bottled under several of the houses former included in the Barros Group. The wine we had was Maia Vintage port 1987 that was bottled by Hutcheson-Feuerheerd.
The third brand was Quinta de Sant’Ana Vintage Port 1982, bottled by Feist. This was a quinta none of us at the tasting had ever heard about. Following the vintage of 1982 we had a Colheita 1975 (bottled 1984) of the same quinta.
Finally we had a Feist Colheita 1966 (bottled 1984), a Feuerheerd Colheita 1987 (bottled 2001), and Commendador (bottled by Feuerheerd).
Commendador is a very special port made by Feuerheerd and served on George VI’s state visit to France on July 19, 1938. At the banquet at the Palais de L’Elysée was served the following wines: Ch Yquem 1923, Ch Haut-Brion 1924, Chambertin 1923, Pommery Brut 1928 and Porto Commendador. The port we tasted had survived most of the participants on the banquet in 1938.