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Anyone here into Port? 

Apparently, 2016 was a great vintage, but I haven’t tried much of it. 

If anyone has recommendations on notable bottling, I’d love feedback. 

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5 minutes ago, Thig said:

I have quite a lot of port and was very active on this forum for a while, you might give them a shout.

https://www.fortheloveofport.com/ftlopforum/

 

That’s fantastic, thanks for sharing. 

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28 minutes ago, Markspring1978 said:

That’s fantastic, thanks for sharing. 

Roy Hersch, the main moderator, has received all kinds of awards from Portugal and actually takes groups on tour over there to visit the port wineries.

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 recently had a week over in the duoro and oporto, mostly to taste the 16s. it is a brilliant vintage. i think 70 declared. i got through nearly 60 of them. got to attend the official blessing of the vintage. great fun. starts with a fabulous tasting. then every house declaring tips a bottle of the vintage into a giant glass. will dig out some pics if i can find them. then a big dinner. 

many great ports - the range from the various symington houses for sure but i'd be hard pressed to go past fonseca and taylors. don't miss them. 

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You can't miss on a 2016 for the big names; Fonseca, Taylor, Dow, Grahams, Niepoort, Warre, Noval…  Take your pick.  Each producer is known for a certain house style.  Which house style do you like?  Elegant and feminine like Warre?  Drier like Dow?  Peppery and power like Taylor?  Grahams and Foseca are the most consistent producers vintage after vintage.

If 2016 is anything like 1994 which is biggest modern vintage with some age; the wines are not ready.  2016 could take 30 years to cross baby killing and perhaps much longer to reach their potential. 

I only bought some 2011's (equally fantastic vintage) just for novelty.  3 bottle OWC of Taylor's Vinha Velha (their Nacional competitor) and case of Crasto LBV because it was too cheap to say no to.

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2 hours ago, BrightonCorgi said:

You can't miss on a 2016 for the big names; Fonseca, Taylor, Dow, Grahams, Niepoort, Warre, Noval…  Take your pick.  Each producer is known for a certain house style.  Which house style do you like?  Elegant and feminine like Warre?  Drier like Dow?  Peppery and power like Taylor?  Grahams and Foseca are the most consistent producers vintage after vintage.

If 2016 is anything like 1994 which is biggest modern vintage with some age; the wines are not ready.  2016 could take 30 years to cross baby killing and perhaps much longer to reach their potential. 

I only bought some 2011's (equally fantastic vintage) just for novelty.  3 bottle OWC of Taylor's Vinha Velha (their Nacional competitor) and case of Crasto LBV because it was too cheap to say no to.

i'd argue closer to 77 in that slightly more elegant style but all three pretty special. most of the guys i spoke to thought 77. 11 is a much bigger and more powerful vintage. would love to see the VVV - have some 07 and that will go near a century. we opened one. the rest locked away. 

i suspect a lot of people will drink the 16s earlier than perhaps ideal as it is amazingly approachable even this young. but in 25-30 years, will be very special. 

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7 hours ago, Ken Gargett said:

i'd argue closer to 77 in that slightly more elegant style but all three pretty special. most of the guys i spoke to thought 77.

'77 is over-hyped IMO.  Some producers like Dow suffered bottle variance in the corks, the Grahams is on the hot side, and several other producers are just above average.  It was better for some of the lesser brands like Gould Campbell, Smith Woodhouse, Ferreira, Niepoort, Warre.  I haven't tried the recently released Cockburn.  I'd put the best 1980 bottles against '77.  

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These didn't suck.  The 1985 was a hot mess. 1994 was a jaw dropper.  1977 made a lot of people smile.  We are just a bunch of slack jaw yokels though.....

20181208_204556.jpg

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11 hours ago, BrightonCorgi said:

'77 is over-hyped IMO.  Some producers like Dow suffered bottle variance in the corks, the Grahams is on the hot side, and several other producers are just above average.  It was better for some of the lesser brands like Gould Campbell, Smith Woodhouse, Ferreira, Niepoort, Warre.  I haven't tried the recently released Cockburn.  I'd put the best 1980 bottles against '77.  

i would not have them in the same stratosphere. taylors pretty good for one but it does not come within cooee of the 77. 

see some nice 80s but overall, they don't come close to 77s from what i have seen. i would guess i have seen more 77s than any other vintage. port was seriously cheap back then and some of my mates loaded up with many cases and brin g them out regularly. they did the same with 63s though that is many years before my time.

might have been lucky with the dows that came out here. can't recall any cork problems and the last one we had was spectacular. i know opinions on this vintage do swing back and forth but the stuff we have seen over many years has made it a contender for one of the top vintages. 

and would also love to see the cockburns. kicking myself i did not try and see if i could get a taste when over there. 

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i should add that the difference we see in 80 and 77 might be a preference for different styles. 77 (and 16) and both from the elegant end of the spectrum, though that is relative when it comes to port. 

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18 hours ago, vinnyvega said:

These didn't suck.  The 1985 was a hot mess. 1994 was a jaw dropper.  1977 made a lot of people smile.  We are just a bunch of slack jaw yokels though.....

20181208_204556.jpg

That's a good line up.  '77 Fonseca is one of the best of the vintage as is '85 Graham.  For me the wine of the night would be the '94 Dow.  The first two are great, the Dow is going into legendary status.  Was fantastic when real young, still awesome and should be for many decades.  Getting hard to find.  Have had a ton of F77 and G85, but have only had the D94 a few times.  Don't own any.

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Here's a port wall leading down to the cellar of some the best bottles consumed since we moved to our current home about 4 years ago:

port wall.JPG

I only use one of each, so several we've had many times.  I try to make the white label/black label for contrast

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8 minutes ago, BrightonCorgi said:

That's a good line up.  '77 Fonseca is one of the best of the vintage as is '85 Graham.  For me the wine of the night would be the '94 Dow.  The first two are great, the Dow is going into legendary status.  Was fantastic when real young, still awesome and should be for many decades.  Getting hard to find.  Have had a ton of F77 and G85, but have only had the D94 a few times.  Don't own any.

Just grabbed a dozen of the 1994s and 3 of the 2007s.  Gladly share some of the 1994s if you are interested.  I am in mass too.

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BC, if you are chasing 94s, worth getting on to the Benchmark website - they have some terrific 94s including pretty much all the big names. www.benchmarkwine.com. i get the daily email, though sadly just for interest, given location. 

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1 minute ago, Ken Gargett said:

BC, if you are chasing 94s, worth getting on to the Benchmark website - they have some terrific 94s including pretty much all the big names. www.benchmarkwine.com. i get the daily email, though sadly just for interest, given location. 

that said, i should have added i guess, no idea whether the laws re sending wine across borders would impact on you. 

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this is a recent piece by Andrew Jefford, a terrific English wine writer, though he can get a little carried away at times - first time i've ever seen 'conifer branches sagging under snow' as a tasting note.

he is a fan of young VP and makes a good argument. personally, happy to try some young but the extra grace, complexity and finesse that develops in the older VPs still holds sway for me. 

Andrew Jefford says that vintage Port should (also) be sampled in its youth...

  • December 17, 2018
  • Time for a treat. A rare treat. One drawback of a decade spent away from London, with its comfortably cool cellars, its perennially damp and draughty climate, its ‘wine houses’, its resilient traditions, its ancient political allegiances, its winter darkness is that …
  • I’m missing Port. Bizarre: France, where I live, remains by far the largest market for Port, taking almost 31 per cent of what was sold in the first six months of 2018. The next largest market, Portugal itself, only managed 16 per cent, while the UK and USA lag the Netherlands and Belgium by a wide margin. Most of the Port drunk in France, though, is unambitious. A simple glass of fruity fortified wine is not what I’m missing.
  • What I’m missing is much more exciting than that. It’s the wine drinker’s equivalent of zorbing, wing walking, base jumping or any other extreme-sport metaphor you might choose to conjure up. What I’m missing is the chance to taste young vintage Port.
  • The idea behind vintage Port is that it should Last A Long Time, and the best the longest. My youngest brother was born in 1963, and he still has shapely vintage Port with his birth date on to pull out for special birthdays.
  • In order to create wine of this sort, those vinifying vintage Port have to adopt the most unfashionable winemaking strategies in the world and … holy cow, the results are good!
  • The wine has lashings of alcohol, half of it added as high-strength grape spirit, and the fruit is pummeled to annihilation as quickly as possible during a break-neck vinification period of extreme if carefully controlled violence (perhaps cage-fighting would be the best metaphor of all). The fashion nowadays for every other red wine on the planet, by contrast, decrees slow, gradual, gossamer-fingered extraction — indeed little more than ‘maceration’ if you can manage it, and the less alcohol, the better. Vintage Port remains unapologetic. Power, tannin, extract, explosive fruit, density and ferocity: bring them all on.
  • Remember that Port is fortified when it is only half-way through its fermentation period, and at that point, it says farewell to its skins, its pips and its stems (if stems have been used). Extraction is then over. Forget the 45 days of fermentation and post-fermentation maceration many Barolo wines undergo: vintage Port may only have a week to grab and stash everything it will need in order to see out fifty years in a bottle. Extreme force is necessary. Human feet were great, but the new era of pistons, plungers and robotic treaders working round the clock in temperature-controlled lagares (treading tanks) in the Douro may be even better. Vintage Port quality has never looked as good as recently.
  • That’s not what I want to tell you, though. What I want to say is this: ignore anyone telling you not to taste and drink vintage Port in extreme youth. You should. There’s no other wine pleasure quite like this.
  • By all means store it until “full maturity” if you wish, and appreciate it in a state of subtle, graceful and polite refinement, unwrinkled by time. That’s a pleasure, too.
  • But you won’t fully understand it unless you have tasted it young, in its ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ stage, when it comes hurtling out of the glass and puts the screamers on you. Yes, it can be challenging – but remember, too, that this young wine is the product of a company or a farm’s very finest vineyards, carefully selected, from great schist soils, from long-proven terroir, and often made with a blend of largely indigenous grape varieties. Even young, there is a complexity, a refinement and an intrinsic subtlety engraved into a wine of this sort, and those qualities are perfectly capable of youthful expression, just as they are of mature expression. If you don’t take a look young, you’re missing out.
  • I’ve got a Port of this sort in front of me now. It’s saturatedly dark: brim-full, thick-legged, glass-coating and deeply episcopal, with purple swirling the red and the black. The first thing you notice in its scent is sweet blackberries and fresh tea leaves: both refreshing and enticing. Then come citrusy cologne spices, a touch of tar, blackcurrants, rose petal amidst the sweetness. Nothing is overdone about this aroma; nothing is hot, there’s no spirit nip at all; the spirit, indeed, is weighed down by the dripping fruits and the crushed-plant freshness like conifer branches sagging under snow. And still scents appear: moist liquorice, the sweet dust of hot southern roads, the scent of freshly milled black pepper …
  • Time for a sip. It’s weighty on the tongue — and intense. The flavours are deeply fruited, sweet yet somehow savoury too. The wine has ample tannins, but they’re finely milled; there’s nothing rough here at all, just a sensation like velvet drapes falling across the tongue, and in flavour terms, a cascade of sugar-dusted blackberry and blackcurrant. (This is the real crème de cassis.)
  • The Port has some discrete acidity, the acidity which black fruits might gently sweat as they sit on the branch, gurgling in the autumn sunshine. Its alcohol is invisible; the wine has all the sturdiness it needs in the central palate to make this a completely seamless experience. In truth, it has moved beyond the explosive stage of youth, and on to the head-turningly voluptuous stage. Maybe something vaguely akin to the flavour of brandy lurks in here rather than an alcoholic heat; you could say that it’s suffusingly brandied behind the creamy black fruits and the amply contoured velvet. Chocolate, too, finally.
  • When you’ve drained every drop, the drips creep down the sides of the glass like purple lava, leaving the glass smelling once again of sweet rose petals and tea.
  • Total pleasure, in sum. Will it be better in a decade? For my palate, I doubt it. For my palate, it’s perfect now.
  • It’s the 2014 vintage of Quinta do Noval, a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Francisca and Sousão grown on the broad schist terraces of this magnificent farm above Pinhão, and aged in old wood for 18 months before bottling. It deserves 93 points, maybe more, but points aren’t the point; the point is to urge you not to stow away this magnificent vintage, or indeed any other like it, without trying a bottle or two in its youth.

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7 hours ago, vinnyvega said:

Just grabbed a dozen of the 1994s and 3 of the 2007s.  Gladly share some of the 1994s if you are interested.  I am in mass too.

We can do a Dow vertical one night.  I have few different Dow vintages from '63 - '04; just not '94 :( 

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35 minutes ago, Ken Gargett said:

this is a recent piece by Andrew Jefford, a terrific English wine writer, though he can get a little carried away at times - first time i've ever seen 'conifer branches sagging under snow' as a tasting note.

he is a fan of young VP and makes a good argument. personally, happy to try some young but the extra grace, complexity and finesse that develops in the older VPs still holds sway for me. 

You convinced me... Popping the cork on the '16 Nacional!

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2 hours ago, BrightonCorgi said:

You convinced me... Popping the cork on the '16 Nacional!

oh, i am not sure that i would be excited at that thought. not unless you have some to back up. but an interesting thought.

nacional was the only one of the top 16s i did not see (was not best pleased by that) as they only made a couple of hundred cases. i'm normally a big fan of noval and most of the reviews i've read about it were raves but i struggled to get too excited. not sure why - the bottle was opened by one of their team so if he'd seen anything wrong, presumably would have said. i saw nothing wrong but it had none of the excitement of the other big names. i've picked up some taylors and fonseca as they were stunning and some smith woodhouse but that is yet to arrive. if i win the new year lottery, there'll be a lot more. 

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7 hours ago, Ken Gargett said:

oh, i am not sure that i would be excited at that thought. not unless you have some to back up. but an interesting thought.

nacional was the only one of the top 16s i did not see (was not best pleased by that) as they only made a couple of hundred cases. i'm normally a big fan of noval and most of the reviews i've read about it were raves but i struggled to get too excited. not sure why - the bottle was opened by one of their team so if he'd seen anything wrong, presumably would have said. i saw nothing wrong but it had none of the excitement of the other big names. i've picked up some taylors and fonseca as they were stunning and some smith woodhouse but that is yet to arrive. if i win the new year lottery, there'll be a lot more. 

The last 20 years Noval has made good vintages, but the previous 20 to that were not so good.  The 70's & 80's weren't so kind to Noval.  I don't own many Noval vintages.  I prefer their Colheita and Tawny more.  I went to a dinner with Christian Seely a couple of months ago.  We had a '66 Nacional that was sublime.

 

Noval line up.JPG

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Well, this has been an education. Thanks for all who weighed in. 

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7 hours ago, BrightonCorgi said:

The last 20 years Noval has made good vintages, but the previous 20 to that were not so good.  The 70's & 80's weren't so kind to Noval.  I don't own many Noval vintages.  I prefer their Colheita and Tawny more.  I went to a dinner with Christian Seely a couple of months ago.  We had a '66 Nacional that was sublime.

 

Noval line up.JPG

agree with you on that. which is why i was so surprised that i was not wow'd by the 16. others have loved it. some of the nacionals from that period have been average at best, yet still get huge money. we had the 82 at the big 1980s tasting in helsinki. i thought it was okay (somehow it inexplicably got voted into the top ten wines - i really think someone must have found out the identity and bumped it!!) but not within cooee of the 85 dows and a couple of others. 

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3 hours ago, Ken Gargett said:

agree with you on that. which is why i was so surprised that i was not wow'd by the 16. others have loved it. some of the nacionals from that period have been average at best, yet still get huge money. we had the 82 at the big 1980s tasting in helsinki. i thought it was okay (somehow it inexplicably got voted into the top ten wines - i really think someone must have found out the identity and bumped it!!) but not within cooee of the 85 dows and a couple of others. 

'82 Nacional is not as good as '85 Dow, Warre, Graham, or Fonseca.  Different tasting I recall. 

Have only had a few vintages of Nacional.  I don't get to many wine events, so any port I  have had is normally split with just one other person.  That being said, I have had '31 Noval and it lived up to the hype.  Could be served blind and it's a wine of the night like a '48 & '70 Fonseca.

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18 minutes ago, BrightonCorgi said:

'82 Nacional is not as good as '85 Dow, Warre, Graham, or Fonseca.  Different tasting I recall. 

Have only had a few vintages of Nacional.  I don't get to many wine events, so any port I  have had is normally split with just one other person.  That being said, I have had '31 Noval and it lived up to the hype.  Could be served blind and it's a wine of the night like a '48 & '70 Fonseca.

probably told this story elsewhere on the forum but a few years back, a bottle of "believed to be 29 Taylors" came up for auction. no label, just the white slash of paint. i knew that they had never released a 29 so did as much checking as i could. even got in touch with people i knew at Taylors in case they had made it and kept it in house or something. no, never made. so i thought perhaps 1927 with luck. or 35 or 45 or 48. take any of those. love the 48. the auction house, which was started by one of my best mates, told me that they had been slowly moving a reasonable amount of this bloke's old ports, all in good condition and none of them with labels. to date, every one had been what he told them.  so i was really curious and thought it worth a crack. think i got it for A$350 or perhaps even $400. bit less.

anyway, i have a few good mates who have been incredibly kind over several decades with their wines (i have seen more 78 la tache than any other non aussie/kiwi/champers wine thanks to one of them - he bought a ludicrous amount when released for between $60 and $100 a bottle) and they opened so many bottles i could never have envisaged trying. so did a small lunch for them.

started with an 88 or 85 krug i think. some cork taint. a decent white, forget which. a DRC richebourg, i think, from 80s and it was corked. an okay Margaux i think, but it was not in stellar shape. but by this stage i was a touch grumpy. you can have unlucky days and this was turning out to be one. an Yquem that was very good. but dodgy corks had stuffed the thing for me, to a degree (any decent lunch with mates is still a terrific day).

we were finishing with this port i had bought so now i was extremely nervous - i didn't want to decant/open it too early in case it was wonky, but did so reasonably early. 

i could not believe it as the cork came out. 1931 Noval. as good a port as i have ever had. 100 points without even getting out of bed. it was spectacular. so fresh, so young. but still so complex. blew us away.  

saw yesterday that it is now estimated in auctions at between A$10K and $12K. 

i have another story about the 31 but it involves michael broadbent and is perhaps better not put in print. 

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