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The "Up North" 1985 Horizontal - 19th Jan 08

Posted: 13:02 Sat 19 Jan 2008
by DRT
Conky and Simon Lisle will be joining me in my holiday cottage in Craster on the Northumberland coast this evening for a Northern Lads Raw Meat and VP Extraveganza 88) (although, apparently Simon likes his meat to resemble a lump of charcoal :roll: )

The menu is Fillet Steak and chips, cheese, six bottles of VP and a hearty Scottish Breakfast in the morning.

We will be enjoying the following ports this evening in preparation for the 1966 event an the 28th Jan.
  • Croft 1985
  • Dow 1985
  • Fonseca 1985
  • Gonzalez Byass 1985
  • Martinez 1985
  • Quinta do Noval 1985

This is Conky and I's first full-scale portfest since the beginning of the BIG Detox so it will be a challenge to reach the end of the line-up, but we will do our best to try and will report back here soon.

A big thanks to Jdaw who has produced a Placemat for us following a behind the scenes cry for assistance.


Posted: 13:29 Sat 19 Jan 2008
by Conky
Decanted both bottles this morning. Dows cork popped out. Looked pristine, and a smell of fruit. A see-through bottle with a pleasant amount of sediment. Not the room filling effect of a Fonseca, but this will be a nice bottle. Modern and mass produced.
The Martinez was its usual truculent self. Opaque bottle with a dodgy 'Wine Society' label. Heavy thick single casing, revealed a sunken, sticky red cork. Usual wrestle which took two thirds out. had to use the plastic bag trick for the large chunk that was left. Luckily there was a nice dry middle, so it hadn't leaked. Flat smell. Just a disappointing hint of fruit. I now know through experience, that this is no indication of what it may blossom into. Lets hope so.

Looking forward to having a laugh, a steak, a chip butty and lashings of Port. Haven't touched a drop since New Years Day.

Cant wait!!!


Posted: 13:54 Sat 19 Jan 2008
by DRT
I decanted the Fonseca at 5pm last night so it will have had about 27 hours in the decanter before anyone tastes it.

From experience of other bottles from the same case, had anyone tasted this last night, even just a small glass, it would have been a huge, thick mouthfull of youthful fruits with a mouth numbing amount of tannin that needs to calm down before the wine can truely show its best. That's what I think it would have been like, but I suppose I will never know for sure :roll: :wink:


F85 is a joy, but one needing decades more in the cellar.

Posted: 16:09 Sat 19 Jan 2008
by jdaw1
Fonseca 85 is a joy, but one needing decades more in the cellar. Noval 85 is usually a disappointment to me. Not impressed by my one go at Croft 85 either.

Posted: 17:43 Sun 20 Jan 2008
by Conky
So here was the line up, last night.



I thoroughly enjoyed the Port and the company. Briefly, I'd rate the Ports as follows;

Star of the Night. Fonseca, no real surprise. Superb and powerful.
Runner Up. Dows and Martinez. The Dows was like the Fonseca's younger brother. Fruity and rich. Martinez had that superb silkiness.
The Croft was a good Port, but had an unusual smell to it. Derek had it as Cola Cubes!
The Gonzales was pleasant, if a tad weak. Only in comparison though.
Disappointment of the night. Noval. Again, a pleasant drink, but flat and ordinary. A little watery and hardly any aftertaste. I'm struggling to remember a good Noval I've had.

As Derek said, he got some Fillet steaks that would choke a lion. No messing, chips, fillet and bread and butter.

This was the cottage
and this was the view
and this is Simon and Derek, doing what they are good at.

And yes...I have the usual late night 'Derek' snap. Very amusing one. But to save blushes, I wont Post it here. I will PM it to anyone who wants a peek!


Go on. Yes please.

Posted: 19:46 Sun 20 Jan 2008
by jdaw1
Go on. Yes please.

Posted: 21:08 Sun 20 Jan 2008
by AHB

Great summary and pictures. Thanks for posting them! Make sure to bring the late-night-Derek-asleep snap with you on Jan 28 :wink:


Lashings of mustard on that steak.

Posted: 04:36 Mon 21 Jan 2008
by jdaw1
Lashings of mustard on that steak. Normally I’m a fan of mustard, but didn’t it hide the port?

Posted: 08:59 Mon 21 Jan 2008
by Conky
I wouldn't recommend it, but it suited its purpose well. I've not got the most cultured tongue, either. :)

Posted: 15:57 Mon 21 Jan 2008
by DRT
Back in civilization for a few minutes so able to post from blackberry.

A great night with two good northern lads. I can't disagree with alans summary of the ports. Will post TNs this weekend.

Unfortunately I fell asleep a few minutes before alan, but at least I made it to bed :lol:


Posted: 18:21 Thu 24 Jan 2008
by Simon Lisle
I enjoyed the tasting immensley and meeting Conky I was a bit knackered from work which put the dampners on it a bit for me but I thought the Gonzales a bit rough around the edges but it had a bit more to it than the Noval which was pretty pedestrian.The Croft was ok but not great Derek thought VA after a few sups and he may have been right.The Dow's I thought was lovely I would like to taste it against the Warre's.The Fonseca quite a few miles ahead I wish I'd had more before I retired and Derek could have continued with his horizontal. :lol:

Posted: 18:33 Thu 24 Jan 2008
by Simon Lisle
PS I've never seen anybody divide steaks like Alan but he's a great cook though :o

Posted: 02:02 Sun 27 Jan 2008
by DRT
I have now posted the Tasting Notes from the scribbles left by all three participants. Unfortunately all three TN sheets had various bits of food and HP sauce stuck to them so some of the detail may have been lost.

From memory, I think we reached agreement that the wines could be ranked in the following order, with 1 and 2 being head and shoulders above the other 4:
  1. Fonseca
  2. Dow
  3. Martinez
  4. Gonzalez Byass
  5. Croft
  6. Quinta do Noval
Conky and Simon, please feel free to correct me if my memory or my interpretation of your notes is wrong.


Posted: 22:02 Sun 27 Jan 2008
by Conky
I had Dows and Martinez as equal but very different.

But apart from that, looks good.