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It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 11:43 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by DRT
About seven years ago Julian D. A. Wiseman set off on a campaign to persuade the IVDP to allow the sale of large bottles of Port.

Today, somewhere in Cambridge, he is basking in the glory of his stunning victory...
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And a little is saved for the troops on Monday...
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Well done, Julian. Enjoy your victory.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 14:42 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by Andy Velebil
a well won battle and very honorable of the other person as well.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 14:42 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by PhilW
A very interesting morning; it's not often you get to examine bottle-variation across nine magnums and an imperial of wine from common storage (since of course we had to ensure they were all ok); I will post some notes and more pics when I get home.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:28 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by PhilW
First, I want to thank Julian for requesting my assistance this morning - the opportunity to decant an imperial, never mind do a bottle-variation tasting on nine magnums, was too good to be missed.

We started with the imperial; The bottle itself had a thick seam all the way down both sides, and appeared to be a 2-piece bottle; having said that, looking at the photos again I am not sure that the circular base might not be a separate third piece. Also we now have a guide for expected fill level of an imperial ;)
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Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:30 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by PhilW
On removal of the wax, the top surface of the cork was a good 3-4mm below the top of the bottle, and the wax had to be cleared out from the top of the bottle to get access to the cork.
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It too some upward pressure to get the cork to move, but as soon as it started moving it was immediately free - as if only the top part of the cork has actually making contact with the bottle, perhaps. Julian insisted that all photos of corks must also include a photo of a card he carries with a picture of a woman shimmying in a negligee... the card is apparently the same length as a credit card, which I understand to be a standard "Julian" measure :wink:
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Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:31 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by PhilW
The bottle was then decanted into eight decanters, one bottle's worth being saved for the tasting on Monday.
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On D+0h taste, this was fabulous; very fresh, full of raisins and plums, and quite young for an '85.
At D+1h this was starting to show a little more muted, slightly flatter and had lost a little of its vibrancy, hinting at TCA.
At D+2h the more muted note seemed less pronounced; I hope it will re-open and taste as good tonight as it did to begin (otherwise our advice to F85 imperial drinkers becomes pop'n'pour asap!).

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:40 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by PhilW
We then started on the nine magnums; For the first three, for each cork we got it out 90% whole, but the bottom 10% either stuck in the bottle, or fell off during extraction. having finally got one cork out whole (just about), we then switched to using the Durand, which while it scuffs the side of the cork did extract every subsequent cork quickly and whole. Each magnum was decanted into two decanters, and then taste tested; while there was the same underlying flavour across the board, there were some noticeable differences in bottle variation; I noted the following (all at <1hr since decant):

Magnum #1 : Drier, with good fruit underneath
Magnum #2 : Fresher and livelier, full, though not as much as the Imperial
Magnum #3 : Good full flavour of raisins and plums, but again a dry-ness
Magnum #4 : Good, dry again, slightly muted
Magnum #5 : Very tasty, more vibrant
Magnum #6 : Slight dryness again, though good
Magnum #7 : A little flat by comparison to others
Magnum #8 : Fruity, but much less vibrant
Magnum #9 : Hint of dry-ness, but fabulous, fruity and vibrant (best of the Magnums)

Overall the variation wasn't large, just some bottles showing much better than others in vibrancy vs flatness, and a surprisingly dry edge to the character which I would not have expected, and was not present in the Imperial at D+0h, but did seem to start to appear later.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:42 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by PhilW
Overall, fun to be involved, and I hope the bottles show well tonight. They might just have enough...
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Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 21:25 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by DRT
Good work Phil. Now you will know what life must have been like as a Butler watching your hard work disappear off to be scoffed by "them upstairs" :wink:

It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 22:02 Sat 17 Jan 2015
by djewesbury
Well done Phil. Have excellent fun Julian. I hope you get a long enough break between repeatedly telling the story to drink some Port.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 00:30 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by DRT
djewesbury wrote:Have excellent fun Julian.
A couple of texts at around 17:30 this evening confirmed that Julian is indeed having lots of fun.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 00:31 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by djewesbury
DRT wrote:
djewesbury wrote:Have excellent fun Julian.
A couple of texts at around 17:30 this evening confirmed that Julian is indeed having lots of fun.
Phew. I was worried.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 01:18 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by AW77
Phil, thanks for the interesting report. What's the diameter of the cork?

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 11:40 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by PhilW
AW77 wrote:Phil, thanks for the interesting report. What's the diameter of the cork?
I didn't have a measure, but I would estimate approx. 32mm top diameter, 24mm bottom.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 12:33 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by griff
Angels have been busy! Thanks goodness for their willingness to report back accurately :)

But seriously - is such bottle variation desirable?

p.s. after acquiring 3 magnums of Fonseca 2009 this week I now feel that I was overly penurious by not buying all 6.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 16:32 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by AW77
PhilW wrote:
AW77 wrote:Phil, thanks for the interesting report. What's the diameter of the cork?
I didn't have a measure, but I would estimate approx. 32mm top diameter, 24mm bottom.
And what corkscrew did you use?

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 17:16 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
Phil and I started at 09:30, and the photography was done by about 10:00. Then the imperial was decanted, followed by the magnums. The imperial was light enough to hold: I held and poured the imperial, Phil steadied the decanters and funnels. We poured free until sediment appeared, then through coffee filter papers.

Above Phil has accurately recorded the apparent variation. But by the time of drinking, circa 21:00, they were very similar, and all excellent. Several Port-aware people at the Dinner greatly praised the F85: it was delicious, and it seemed uniformly so. Big very full bodied fruit rich Port, with both red and dark fruits, raspberry and blackberry and plum, slightly before its optimal drinking window. A twelve-hour decant seemed perfect. No bad bottles. Not even any imperfect bottles. Happiness. All the Port was finished by about midnight: every decanter was drained.

Disclaimer: four hours in the Red Bull playing Yogi’s Whist (which, more than three decades after its invention is still an exemplary drinking game), a pre-Dinner glass of rubbish sparkles, some white wine, and red wine, did not even slightly lessen the precision of my palate. Of course.

One of my friends remarked that the imperial just didn’t look eight times as big as the little bottles. It didn’t. Then he remembered that the little bottles were magnums.

The cork is 55mm long, the wet end 24mm across, and the dry end 31mm to 32mm diameter.

Next job: a letter to Adrian Bridge.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 17:21 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
PhilW wrote:I hope the bottles show well tonight. They might just have enough...
They showed beautifully, but there weren’t enough. Fifty-nine people, many of whom had been to the pub, cleared 24 bottle-equivalents of Fonseca 1985, and three bottles of Noval 1955. We ‘needed’ (allow some terminological inexactitude) another two magnums.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 17:22 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
jdaw1 wrote:The cork is 55mm long, the wet end 24mm across, and the dry end 31mm to 32mm diameter.
PhilW wrote:
AW77 wrote:Phil, thanks for the interesting report. What's the diameter of the cork?
I didn't have a measure, but I would estimate approx. 32mm top diameter, 24mm bottom.
Very good estimate.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:02 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by LGTrotter
The first picture in this thread is wonderful, the viewer is left to speculate on why Julian sank to his knees beside his imperial and then there is the Arnofini wedding portrait motif:
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Mis en abyme as we are wont to say round these parts. Who is the man in front of the window?

An all round good news story; congratulations.

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 20:07 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by djewesbury
LGTrotter wrote:The first picture in this thread is wonderful, the viewer is left to speculate on why Julian sank to his knees beside his imperial and then there is the Arnofini wedding portrait motif:
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Mis en abyme as we are wont to say round these parts. Who is the man in front of the window?

An all round good news story; congratulations.
I'm marking essays at the moment (about Chris Marker's film La Jetée). Some of them are quite good but this is clearly the best yet.
You write with a convincing, succinct style, and make your arguments assertively. You should be careful to cite your sources properly and you must submit a properly formatted bibliography (please see the 17 pages of notes you were given at the beginning of the semester, with exhaustive examples). Overall, a very good effort, and thank you for not exhausting the word count.
74 (we never mark anything more than 80).

Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 22:40 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
The fill level.
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Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 22:41 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
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Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 22:41 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
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Re: It's good when a plan comes together...

Posted: 22:41 Sun 18 Jan 2015
by jdaw1
Observe seam.
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