Quinta´s styles

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Tom
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Quinta´s styles

Post by Tom » 20:23 Fri 09 Mar 2012

Is it possible to characterize the different Quintas by their typical style?

For example, Delaforce seems to me being often on the sweet side
(tested the 10yot, 20yot; ruby; VP 1982)
Last edited by Tom on 21:04 Fri 09 Mar 2012, edited 1 time in total.

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g-man
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by g-man » 20:32 Fri 09 Mar 2012

I'd like to think so, but every time i do it blind, I fail.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by Cynthia J » 21:05 Fri 09 Mar 2012

Do you mean brand or really just one quinta? Brands, yes, some do have clear recognisable styles I think. Even with my pretty limited experience I have gotten pretty good at spotting Graham vs Dow vs Vesuvio - and also being able to accurately rule OUT those three as possibilities when tasting blind. Warre's can be a little hit and miss for me, need to do more tasting.

Individual quintas... I think will also be possible, with practice. Certainly when I tasted the wines from the quinta tasting Paul took on the road to London and Lisbon (I was tasting in Lisbon), you could spot distinctive differences which were consistent over a series of wines, so with practice I imagine I could begin to spot them blinded. Not sure I would always pick Tua vs. Malvedos, but certainly vesuvio vs sra ribeira vs malvedos vs bomfim vs cavadinha - so, re-phrased, you could I think learn to spot distinctly different areas of Douro, if not specific quintas.

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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by g-man » 21:11 Fri 09 Mar 2012

Cynthia J wrote:Do you mean brand or really just one quinta? Brands, yes, some do have clear recognisable styles I think. Even with my pretty limited experience I have gotten pretty good at spotting Graham vs Dow vs Vesuvio - and also being able to accurately rule OUT those three as possibilities when tasting blind. Warre's can be a little hit and miss for me, need to do more tasting.

Individual quintas... I think will also be possible, with practice. Certainly when I tasted the wines from the quinta tasting Paul took on the road to London and Lisbon (I was tasting in Lisbon), you could spot distinctive differences which were consistent over a series of wines, so with practice I imagine I could begin to spot them blinded. Not sure I would always pick Tua vs. Malvedos, but certainly vesuvio vs sra ribeira vs malvedos vs bomfim vs cavadinha - so, re-phrased, you could I think learn to spot distinctly different areas of Douro, if not specific quintas.
Wanna come over state side Cynthia?

Would love to host a tasting for you and I do recall you mentioning that you'd like to come to NY sometime.

But on point, with young wines, I actually do agree with Cynthia, I can "see" the difference between a vesuvio vs a sra ribeira vs a bomfim. However once we put some age on the bottles then go across different vintages and then comparing something like the full blown VP, I must admit my tasting abilites seriosuly fail.

The best I've been able to do is guess the vintage somewhat accurate. I can also guess if it's a big house or smaller house somewhat consistently and while I drink alot of fonseca, I find that in blinds I tend to select my fonseca as a fave, but I'd be lying if I were to say that I could nail any fonseca given to me blind.
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brand´s styles

Post by Tom » 22:00 Fri 09 Mar 2012

Cynthia J wrote: Brands, yes, some do have clear recognisable styles I think.
So can you give some examples for brand´s styles?

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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by Glenn E. » 23:32 Fri 09 Mar 2012

Cynthia J wrote:need to do more tasting.
I am willing to support you in this much needed research. :mrgreen:
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Re: brand´s styles

Post by DRT » 00:27 Sat 10 Mar 2012

Tom wrote:
Cynthia J wrote: Brands, yes, some do have clear recognisable styles I think.
So can you give some examples for brand´s styles?
This is taking a risk, but here are a few Vintage Port characteristics that spring to mind!

Croft = Smooth and supple, but always with a citrus (orange) twist.

Dow = Dark and brooding and characteristically dry. Tom very succinctly describes it as "Dow = Dour"

Fonseca = Elegant, opulent fruit. Sweet and voluptuous. If the most beautiful girl in the world was a Vintage Port, her name would be Fonseca 88)

Graham = Big and bold with big, ripe plums. As much as Fonseca is the archetypal woman, Graham's is the man of the Douro.

Sandeman = Dust on the nose and peppery fruit in the mouth.

Taylor = Violets. You should always smell violets. Big and full with warming heat in the finish.

Warre = Elegant. Nothing over-powering and all knitted together. Ages faster that all of the above, but not necessarily the worse for it. In its old age its nose can be quite dull and dusty.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by Tom » 21:51 Mon 12 Mar 2012

Thanks so far.
Any comments on

Andresen
Krohn
Messias

?

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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by uncle tom » 17:09 Tue 13 Mar 2012

DRT's sum up is pretty good..

..but:

Recent Croft's tend to lack the orange note - maybe they need more time to develop it - I'm not sure..

Taylor Vargellas is heavy on violets, the blend less so - 'bit of a beast' is my aide memoire for the Taylor blend.

Graham is liquid Xmas pudding, and can be mistaken for Fonseca (and vice versa) but there is a hint of pepper with Fonseca that Graham never has.

There's a hint of Strawberries with Sandeman that marks it out.

Warre is difficult, because it lacks a unique signature. It occupies a middle ground between Dow and Graham, but is usually very reliable.

Vesuvio is hugely opulent and immodest.

Most other brands lack a consistancy of style. There are two broad schools when making port; a) Have a house style and stick with it, or b) Make the best possible wine from the stock available.

Both approaches have virtue..
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by SCP » 20:42 Thu 19 Apr 2012

As someone with almost no VP experience, I'd be interested to hear from the more experienced hands, if there any particular vintages that epitomise some of the key components in the tastes of a house for you (probably limited to 1970 onwards for cost/sourcing)? Thanks!

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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by RonnieRoots » 12:11 Fri 20 Apr 2012

SCP wrote:As someone with almost no VP experience, I'd be interested to hear from the more experienced hands, if there any particular vintages that epitomise some of the key components in the tastes of a house for you (probably limited to 1970 onwards for cost/sourcing)? Thanks!
Interesting question! Let's give it a try:
  • Dows: 1980 - a beast of a port; dry, robust and linear
  • Fonseca: 1977 - actually, 1970 and 1985 Fonseca may be better ports, but both are quite big and powerful for Fonseca. A good bottle of 1977 shows the feminine side of this producer to perfection
  • Graham: 1985 - full, sweet cherry flavour, and rather spirity, something that always strikes me in Graham
  • Sandeman: 1970 - quite delicate, and elegant, with lovely strawberries
  • Taylor (Vargellas): 1987 - a Vargellas rather than full vintage, but could well have been declared. Powerful, complex, and indeed violets on the nose.
  • Warre: 1994 - a perfect example of the elegant style of this house
How's that for a start?

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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by mosesbotbol » 16:54 Fri 20 Apr 2012

As much as a house is supposed to have their own style, when tasting blind I see so many failing to pick them out or the vintage is not typical of their style. We did a Symington vertical at Vesuvio in 2010, and many ports did not live up to what I was anticipating them to be.

Some vintages really nail the house style, but most are somewhere close and the lines become fuzzy. For instance 1985 Graham and Dow both fit their house style to a ‟T”, but 1994 or 1970 is not so much. This can be debated forever, but also keep in mind how a bottle ages and how many times have you had the same vintage and shown different?
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by SCP » 11:40 Sat 21 Apr 2012

Thanks Ronnie and Moses, so useful info there. I understand about there is some bottle variation and a vintage can only be made from the grapes they harvest, but a good starting point nevertheless :nirvana: Cheers!

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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by JacobH » 11:57 Sun 22 Apr 2012

The clarity of house styles is most clearly demonstrated by how successful we are in blind tasting ;-)

I think a good starting point is to look at very simple characteristics. For example, to take the major brands of the two big Port companies:

Code: Select all

    Dry    Medium Sweet
Sym Dow    Warre  Graham 
TFP Taylor Croft  Fonseca
Another basic approach is to divide Ports between ‟English” and ‟Portuguese” styles. For example, any given vintage of Messias is likely to be quite quickly maturing (i.e. less tannic when it is young with less concentrated fruits, so it can be pleasant to drink when it is 5-10 years old) than, say, Cockburn (which one would expect to be very tannic with lots of concentrated fruits and quite hard work to drink when it is young).

In terms of characteristics, having been to a few vertical tastings now, I find most of the conventional terms assigned to Ports quite unhelpful. For example, I struggle to find violets on most Taylor and Vargellas once it has any maturity. One or two Crofts have been very orangy, but not many. I think it mostly a case of trying a lot of Ports and seeing what you think ;-)

I also agreed with DRT on the lack of consistency for many houses. Sometimes the selling of vineyards caused a big change (Sandeman’s about-turn after the 1977 vintage is a good example), others (e.g. Niepoort) just do not seem to be consistent at all. There also often isn’t much consistency throughout the range. For example, I would be hard-pressed to say why the Croft LBV we bought in huge quantities from Tesco tastes like ‟Croft” as opposed to the other TFP brands.

Presumably another factor in Port-making is that whilst most brands are now associated quite clearly with one or two quintas, the amount of wine from any given harvest from those quintas that goes to making vintage port is so tiny that there can be a lot of flexibility as to whilst type of blend can finally be made from the different lotes. As a speculation, whilst it must be easier to make sweet wines from Quinta dos Malvedos, I wouldn’t imagine it would be impossible to blend up a medium blend if someone really wanted to, so the flavour of the quinta must be partially what the winemaker things that quinta should taste like.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by DRT » 16:46 Sun 22 Apr 2012

Surely the dry:sweet scale is determined by the timing of the addition of aguardiente, not which quinta's grapes are being used?
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by JacobH » 22:09 Sun 22 Apr 2012

I hadn't ever thought about that before... I suppose that would make sense but I'd always thought (for no apparent good reason) that the sensation of dryness had little to do with how much sugar was in the wine and more to do with flavours of the grapes. Does terroir really have nothing to do with it? Would a Malvedos taste like a Bomfin if they were fortified in the same way?
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by DRT » 23:11 Sun 22 Apr 2012

JacobH wrote:I hadn't ever thought about that before... I suppose that would make sense but I'd always thought (for no apparent good reason) that the sensation of dryness had little to do with how much sugar was in the wine and more to do with flavours of the grapes. Does terroir really have nothing to do with it? Would a Malvedos taste like a Bomfin if they were fortified in the same way?
No. But the sweetness or dryness of a wine is a function of the extent to which it has been fermented, and therefore how much residual sugar remains.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by g-man » 04:09 Mon 23 Apr 2012

Do not discount the affect of tannins tho DRT,

a wine with more aggressive tannins will "appear" to be not as sweet as one that may not.

I do agree that sweetness in the technical term of Brix/Residual sugar is a matter of wine making and not grape selection.

I think your comparison is flawed jacob.

Sweetness is a measurable objective attribute that can be directly correlated with residual sugar.

Dryness or taste sensation is a subjective measure that is just as good as guess as the taster himself.

I think you'd be pleasantly surprised if you were to take the 2009 vintage and ask each of the wine makers of the houses to list their residual sugar levels. I would guess that the Dow and Taylor are sweeter than you might have guessed.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by JacobH » 11:56 Mon 23 Apr 2012

g-man wrote:Sweetness is a measurable objective attribute that can be directly correlated with residual sugar.

Dryness or taste sensation is a subjective measure that is just as good as guess as the taster himself.
Yes, I agree that sweetness is a measurable objective characteristic of the wine. But it is also a subjective issue, too (i.e. ‟how sweet does this taste?”), which I always assumed had more to do with the characteristics of the grapes than the amount of sugar in the wine, though I can see that there would be a bit of both...
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by uncle tom » 12:38 Mon 23 Apr 2012

Sweetness is a measurable objective attribute that can be directly correlated with residual sugar.
Until recently, I would have concurred; but if you get to see the lab analysis sheets of the wines you are tasting, you will find that actual sweetness and perceived sweetness do not always run hand in hand.

Some old tawnies appear to have an excess of sugar that is not well integrated with the wine's other components, and consequently come over as overtly sweet; while others have a similar lab analysis, but no apparent excess.

My suspicion is that if you took a glass of water, and dissolved the requisite amount of grape sugar to make it as sweet as a glass of port, it would actually taste sweeter, because the other components of the wine serve to mask the perception of sweetness.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by g-man » 13:16 Mon 23 Apr 2012

In which case I'd attribute the tannins in levels of perceived sweetness.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by uncle tom » 13:22 Mon 23 Apr 2012

In which case I'd attribute the tannins in levels of perceived sweetness.
Yes, but I'm doubtful that is the whole story - older wines with softened tannins seem to show more variation.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by g-man » 13:31 Mon 23 Apr 2012

uncle tom wrote:
In which case I'd attribute the tannins in levels of perceived sweetness.
Yes, but I'm doubtful that is the whole story - older wines with softened tannins seem to show more variation.
perhpas it's something more devious like Lead Acetate???? :shock:
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by Glenn E. » 20:05 Mon 23 Apr 2012

g-man wrote:In which case I'd attribute the tannins in levels of perceived sweetness.
I'm more inclined to blame it on acidity rather than tannins.

If it were tannins, then we'd see lots of "this Port tastes sweeter than it used to" notes. Tannins slowly drop out of a wine as it ages, so if tannins are what alters one's perception of sweetness then one would expect to see that perception change over time.

Acidity levels in a wine don't change as the wine ages. As near as I can tell in my all-too-brief experience, neither does perceived sweetness.
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Re: Quinta´s styles

Post by g-man » 21:20 Mon 23 Apr 2012

Glenn E. wrote:
g-man wrote:In which case I'd attribute the tannins in levels of perceived sweetness.
I'm more inclined to blame it on acidity rather than tannins.

If it were tannins, then we'd see lots of "this Port tastes sweeter than it used to" notes. Tannins slowly drop out of a wine as it ages, so if tannins are what alters one's perception of sweetness then one would expect to see that perception change over time.

Acidity levels in a wine don't change as the wine ages. As near as I can tell in my all-too-brief experience, neither does perceived sweetness.
so what was the last wine you had on release and recently that you can say "this port doesn't taste sweeter than it used to be"

since i started late, 2000 Fonseca was it and i had similar notes on both tannins and sweetness so far.
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