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 have had a marvelous month of November. It started with the Port Wine Festival in Copenhagen, which we’ve already written about, and ended with the Port Wine Fair in Leverkusen, Germany organized by Axel Probst and Christoffer Pfaff, World of Port.
Ramos Pinto had a Master Class tasting focusing on Tawny in Copenhagen (read about it here). In Leverkusen we once again had the great pleasure of meeting Ana Rosas from Ramos Pinto. This time the focus was on Vintage Ports and the importance of the different grape varieties used. Ramos Pinto has always been one of the companies leading the research on grape varietals. Joao Nicolau de Almeida, former winemaker at the company started to plant grape varieties separate, something that was not common at that time, and also bottled single variety wines from different vintages. All to better understand how the different grape varieties contribute to the final blend. These single varietal bottles are not for sale, they are only used for Ramos Pinto’s internal reference. Remember that Vintage Port is bottled already when two to three years old and then the final blend must already be made. So it was very interesting to get the opportunity to taste some of these single varietal bottles of Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Roriz from 1982 together with the released 1982 Vintage Port.
This wonderful Master Class was rounded off by a magical white port from 1884, directly from Ramos Pinto’s cellars!
The Port Wine Fair in Leverkusen is focusing on the latest Vintage and this year we tasted about 60 different Vintage Ports from 2017 and we have now tasted more than 70 different 2017 Vintage Ports, a very great vintage indeed. Some of us are unfortunately too old to have the opportunity to drink this memorable vintage once it is matured, many years from now. We think there are too many houses with incredible vintages this year to be mentioned them, so just buy your favorite producers of the vintage and enjoy it. Our tasting notes are as always available. Check out all the 2017 Vintages we have tasted here. Last time in history seeing three consecutive such great vintage years as 2015, 2016 and 2017 was 1820, 1821 and 1822 if we remember correctly.
Now we are looking forward to Christmas, when we usually drink very old
vintages (often > 100 years old). That will be nice indeed!