John Harvey & Son, Bristol
This was a very well-known English wine merchant. Harvey's bottled many producers of vintage port as well as other kinds of wine and brandy. From time to time, they bottled vintage port under their own brand.
The first clue of Harvey is the discovery of a silver wine label in 1751 linked to the business. 1794 Harvey was a wine and brandy merchant who supplied residences within five miles. In 1796 William Perry opened the doors of 12 Denmark Street, Bristol, to trade as a wine merchant. In 1822 John Harvey joined William Perry’s business and in 1871 John Harvey as senior partner finally changed the name of the Bristol firm to John Harvey & Sons.
As a wine merchant Harvey's had traded and bottled both Cockburn and Martinez. In 1961 Harvey decided to buy the Port wine house Martinez Gassiot and in 1962 also Cockburn Smithes. Following the acquisition of these two houses, Harvey's bottled the 1962 Vintage Port under their own brand, Harvey's. The 1962 Harvey's vintage was a blend of Cockburn & Martinez to celebrate the birth of a son of the former chairman of Harvey.
In 1966 Harveys was bought by Showerings, Vine Products and Whiteways Ltd (SVPW), which was bought by Allied Breweries in 1968 with subsequent name changes to Allied-Lyons PLC in 1981 and to Allied Domecq PLC in 1994. With finance from Allied, Harvey's bought the sherry and port firm MacKenzie in 1970.
During the 1980s Harvey's was used as a brand bottled by Martinez Gassiot, principally for the American market.
In 2005, a time of turmoil started for Harvey's as well as Cockburn and Martinez. The owner, Allied Domecq, was taken over by Pernod Ricard SA who then immediately sold off some of the acquired brands, including Harvey's, Cockburn and Martinez, to Beam Inc within the Fortune Brands group. Beam had not much experience in making fortified wine and consequently, the offer of the Symington family to make the Cockburn wines for them was welcomed. In 2006 the Symingtons took over all the vineyards and the lodges of Cockburn, but Beam retained the brand and the company name. However, Symington was allowed also to buy Martinez in 2006. Meanwhile, Harvey's was transformed to a pure Sherry brand. To our knowledge 1985 was the last vintage declared by Harvey's. In 2010 Beam sold the remaining parts of the Cockburn company and brand name to Symington and the transfer was completed. Harvey's is still part of Beam Inc. but does not make Port wine anymore.
From the vintage 1978 the Harvey label is a vintage from Quinta da Eira Velha produced by Martinez Gassiot.
|Harvey Vintages:||1820, 1863, 1868, 1878, 1887, 1897, 1900, 1908, 1954 (Grahams), 1958, 1962 (Blend of Cockburn and Martinez), 1983 (Martinez), 1985 (Martinez)|
|Colour||Mature tawny in colour.||Number of tastings||1|
|Bouquet||Old bouquet of pharmacy, ether and old hospital.||Score range||15.90 - 15.90|
|Taste||Medium body. Still quite knit. Mature but of course old in flavour and alcoholic. Nice finish and still alive.||Average score|
|Last tasted||23rd December 2010||Point this date||15.90|
|Comment||At home with the family.||Tasters||SAI, JB, SS|
|Colour||Rather dark but beautiful amber, mature in colour.||Number of tastings||1|
|Bouquet||Lovely bouquet of butter-scotch, cream candy, bonbons, cacao and much more in the nose.||Score range||17.50 - 17.50|
|Taste||Medium body. Mature and peaking. Cannot be better and is absolutely on top! Elegant with some balanced acidity and old lovely sweetness. Butterscotch and cacao in taste. The finish is very long and very attractive. A lovely port indeed.||Average score|
|Last tasted||17th November 2016||Point this date||17.50|
|Comment||At the Wine Society 18% Semi-Great Tasting in Malmö.|
In 2016 this vintage took part in a Great Tasting in the Wine Society 18%. For points and ranking see Great Tastings.
|Tasters||SAI, JB, SS|
|Colour||Yellow mature in colour.||Number of tastings||3|
|Bouquet||Sweet liquorice, toffee, fudge, some spiciness and much more in the nose. Quite impressive.||Score range||16.90 - 17.00|
|Taste||Medium body. Mature and peaking. Sweet liquorice and toffee in taste. Elegant and balanced port with a long quite complex and very attractive finish. A lovely and astonishing port!||Average score||16.95|
|Last tasted||29th November 2018||Point this date||17.00|
|Comment||At the Port Wine Dinner in Leverkusen, Germany.|
This bottle was not quite as the vintage has been before and the tasting notes are from 8 May, 2018 in London. Harvey's vintage of this year was a blend of Cockburn & Martinez to celebrate the birth of a son of the former chairman of Harvey.
|Tasters||SAI, JB, SS|