Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

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AHB
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Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by AHB » 18:54 Sat 03 Dec 2011

On Thursday last week, Berry's held their annual Port Walkaround where Charles Symington provided an introduction to a number of ports that were arranged around the room. There were two hours to taste the ports and it was a real challenge for me to work my way through them all and make proper notes! I was even seen spitting :shock:

Several TPF members attended and Julian was kindly permitted gave a brief introduction to TPF to the wider group.

I will post my notes once I have typed them up, but the ports on show were Quinta de la Rosa White Port served with Fever Tree tonic and lemon, Berry's Crusted bottled 2004, Quinta de la Rosa 1997 colheita, Berry's William Pickering 20 year old tawny, 1997 Quinta de Roeda, 1997 Gould Campbell, 1997 Quarles Harris, 1997 Smith Woodhouse, 1997 Fonseca, 1997 Taylor, 1994 Vesuvio, 1994 Warre, 1994 Dow, 1994 Graham, 1985 Fonseca, 1985 Taylor, 1977 Dow, 1977 Smith Woodhouse (magnum), 1977 Taylor, 1970 Gould Campbell, 1970 Graham, 1963 Dow and 1963 Warre.

Wine of the night for me was the fabulous 1994 Vesuvio; I also really liked the Graham 1970. I was underwhelmed by the 1997s, finding that they were much more mature than I was expecting (apart from the Fonseca). There was also some distinct bottle variation between the three bottles of Taylor 1977 that were poured during the course of the two hours.

At 8:30 prompt, the bottles were cleared away and we were gently ushered out into the rain with our port bonanza over.

After the tasting we disappeared off to Chinatown and negotiated a corkage deal with a willing restaurant before testing whether port goes well with Chinese food - testing out Yarra Yerring No 2 2001, Quevedo Tawny, Fonseca Guimaraens 1996 and Offley 1970.
Last edited by AHB on 08:50 Sat 10 Dec 2011, edited 3 times in total.
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PhilW
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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by PhilW » 01:42 Sun 04 Dec 2011

I would agree it was a superb tasting. Compared to the original line-up on Berry's invitation, the following changes has been made:
- Warre 70, Fonseca 92, Noval 97
+ Warre 63, Graham 70, SW 77, Dow 77

For me four wines stood out above the others, the Vesuvio 94 (which was also my WOTN), the Warre 94, the Dow 77 and Graham 70. I was particularly interested to have tried the Warre 94, as the other bottle I had tried earlier this year seemed very heavy on vanilla and I was a little put off on a wine which I was expecting to be a likely favourite, but tonight was superb. The Dow 77 was excellent - which considering I am not normally a Dow fan - but Berry's did admit to having to open extra due to a corked bottle (D77 corked? what a surprise!). While the three missing wines were all ones I have not had and would have been interested to try, their replacements were very good too.

The chinese afterwards was very sociable and good food; ty to Rob especially for the Offley70, as I really like that. Am not sure if any conclusion was reached on the port+chinese issue; I think we were too busy eating and drinking... We also voted for WOTN using the 6pt-voting method (allocate 6 pts across your favourite ports, max 3 for any one port, resolution 0.5pts) with the following results:

11 - Graham 70
10 - Vesuvio 94
6.5 - Warre 63
5 - Taylor 77
2 - Dow 77
2 - Quinta de Roeda 97
1 - Warre 94
1 - Gould Campbell 97
1 - Quinta de la Rosa 97 Colheita

Overall an excellent night.

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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by DRT » 10:52 Sun 04 Dec 2011

PhilW wrote:We also voted for WOTN using the 6pt-voting method (allocate 6 pts across your favourite ports, max 3 for any one port, resolution 0.5pts)
I can't help feeling that the geekiness of our voting system is beginning to overtake the geekiness of our passion for Port. Perhaps the supporters of each of the various systems that have been tried recently should put forward an argument for using them and we can all then vote to see which is our preferred method. Clearly this will involve the development of a suitable complicated voting system for choosing the winner. Does anyone know where we could find a geek who knows lots about developing electoral systems?
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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by RAYC » 13:05 Mon 12 Dec 2011

A very enjoyable tasting - the second BB&R port tasting that i have found to be amazing value for money.

My highlights for current drinking were the T77, G70 and D63, though looking at the scores posted by Phil i must have voted differently when it came down to WOTN! Perhaps i ended up giving the nod to the Vesuvio 94, despite the fact that i did not find it (or, to be honest, the other 94s) to be drinking particularly well right now. The V94 clearly has the right ingredients to be a great, though, so i will look to pick up some more over the coming years.

Next tasting like this i will try starting with the younger ports first - i can't help but feel that at least part of the reason for my general apathy towards the 94s/97s could have been caused by starting with the nicely mature ports first. Tasted the other way around, perhaps i would have had more appreciation for the younger generations.
PhilW wrote:not sure if any conclusion was reached on the port+chinese issue;
My conclusion was not positive, if i am honest! And this was Cantonese i believe - i would have thought better for port than Sichuanese but willing to try again!
Rob C.

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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by Glenn E. » 17:45 Mon 12 Dec 2011

RAYC wrote:Next tasting like this i will try starting with the younger ports first - i can't help but feel that at least part of the reason for my general apathy towards the 94s/97s could have been caused by starting with the nicely mature ports first. Tasted the other way around, perhaps i would have had more appreciation for the younger generations.
Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

The reason for drinking the older, more mature Ports first is that their flavors are much more subtle and nuanced than the younger Ports. The younger Ports' stronger flavors are easier to perceive after having tasted the older Ports. Also, the younger Ports are liable to fry your palate with their sometimes searing tannins and acidity making it nearly impossible to enjoy the older Ports.

It's always tempting to save the best for last, but when tasting Ports it's just not a good idea. All it does is make the best seem pedestrian.
Glenn Elliott

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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by RAYC » 18:19 Mon 12 Dec 2011

Glenn E. wrote:It's always tempting to save the best for last, but when tasting Ports it's just not a good idea. All it does is make the best seem pedestrian.
This is starting with the assumption that the "best" are the older ports! Whereas there were some at this tasting who approached it from younger to older and seemed to come out with a much more favourable impression than me of some of the 94s (and, to an extent, the 97s).

I do think drinking this number of vintage ports and giving due regard to all of them is a tough ask.

So i suspect (as you say) that going younger to older means i will enjoy the older ports less...but since going older to younger means i seem enjoy the younger ports less...why is one intrinsically better than the other?

This only applies to these wide 20+ bottle tastings - where there are 6-10 bottles, i think proper appreciation of each is much more manageable and would generally stick to the older/lighter-younger/darker order.
Rob C.

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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by Glenn E. » 22:18 Mon 12 Dec 2011

RAYC wrote:I do think drinking this number of vintage ports and giving due regard to all of them is a tough ask.
Absolutely. The volume is a big part of the problem for me at large tastings, because even after a couple of years of drinking Port I'm still a relative lightweight. By the end of a large tasting like that, not only is my palate fried but I'm also pretty significantly drunk. Anything after about the 8th Port for me isn't getting a fair test due to a reduced-capacity taster. To be honest, my capabilities as a tester start to diminish pretty quickly - I'd say that I'm only in top form for maybe the first 3 Ports and after that I start downhill. By the 8th my notes are getting much shorter and by the 12th they're pretty useless. The few times I've done 20-bottle tastings the last handful have received 1-word reviews. :oops:
RAYC wrote:where there are 6-10 bottles, i think proper appreciation of each is much more manageable
Definitely, though like you I'd still stick to the older-then-younger paradigm. At a smaller tasting the fried palate issue is the main concern for me.
Glenn Elliott

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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by g-man » 18:44 Tue 13 Dec 2011

I'd question where in Chinatown you went and what restaurant. ( like near queensway? )

You'd have to stick with chinese foods that have 5 spice/white pepper/ or any sort of salty/spicy combination to really pair with port.

If all you get is "chicken and broccoli" then no, port is a terrible pairing.
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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by AHB » 21:04 Wed 14 Dec 2011

From what I recall we had 2 crispy ducks as a starter and then a main course that included at least one crispy duck. Apart from Jacob who had crispy fried bean curd with tofu.
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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by g-man » 21:18 Wed 14 Dec 2011

haha
i know not of this crispy duck ;-)

they literally take a duck and fry it and put a side of hoisen sauce?
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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by RAYC » 00:17 Thu 15 Dec 2011

g-man wrote:
they literally take a duck and fry it and put a side of hoisen sauce?
It's a British take on Peking duck - marinated, steamed, and then deep fried. Served with wafer-thin flour pancakes, slivers of cucumber and shredded spring onion. I'm not entirely sure but i think most "British" Chinese restaurants use plum sauce rather than hoisen.

You are right though - it was at Jade Garden: a cheap and cheerful restaurant with probably very few dishes that could be classed as authentic! Still, a lot of ethnic-Chinese seemed to be eating there though...i think it is supposed to be one of the better chinatown venues for dim sum
Rob C.

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Re: Thu 1st December - BB&R Port Walkaround

Post by g-man » 20:32 Thu 15 Dec 2011

ah, it's a cantonese restaurant.

The dishes there are typically more seafood oriented.

you do have your fried duck (northern dish) and fried garlic chicken, but mostly the traditional cantonese dishes would be things like shark fin soup, sea cucumbers, abalone, some kind of shellfish.

They should ahve bbq ribs (or any of the char siu stuff). Try that with a vp next time.

Goto chinese food for port though is definitely Szechuan cuisine. I personally find the spices make a fantastic pairing with port.
There's a classical dish with roasted lamb, fennel, sichaun peppercorns all deep fried that is an absolute treat for pairing with a fine VP.
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