JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

What happened?
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AHB
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JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 15:55 Fri 01 Mar 2013

I mentioned here that there was a rumour that JDAW had managed to squeeze in another trip to Portugal. I finally managed to catch up with him for long enough to find out a few details so have started to write them down before I forget what he said.

I will start to post the story of his latest trip over the weekend...
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 15:30 Mon 04 Mar 2013

The alarm went off as usual at 6:15am. It was the start of another work day. Reluctantly JDAW threw off the covers and walked to the window. The bitter cold told him what he was going to find ”“ yes, the snow had settled again overnight and the traffic was already starting to build up as it slipped and slid around on the icy road surface. It was going to be another long slog to get into the office with the transport system snarled up yet again. JDAW groaned, what a way to start a Friday. He glumly looked out of the window at the people already waiting at the bus stop he would be using in about an hours time; as they stood he could see the snowflakes forming a blanket on the motionless passengers.

‟How long would it take to get into work today?” wondered JDAW. Two days ago when it has snowed overnight it had taken his bus 2 hours to do the journey that normally took 20 minutes.

Then an idea started to form in JDAW’s mind. He had a couple of days of holiday left to take before the end of the holiday year.

With a gleam in his eye, he bounced downstairs and picked up the phone!

-*-*-
More when time permits.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 09:23 Tue 05 Mar 2013

Half an hour later JDAW kissed Mrs JDAW lightly on the forehead as she lay in bed and whispered ‟See you on Sunday.”, picked up the overnight bag he had packed and went downstairs to meet the taxi he had ordered.

The taxi arrived promptly and was driven by a madman who seemed to think the best way to drive safely in snow was to be no more than 6 inches from the vehicle in front ”“ presumably so that there would be some crumple zones to cushion the impact of his car if the worst happened. But despite the efforts of the taxi driver, a slightly nauseous JDAW arrived intact at Gatwick and in plenty of time for his flight. The snow at Gatwick was heavy and flights were a little delayed so JDAW settled in for the wait at Café Rouge with a big bowl of beef bourguignon and a large glass of water.

Through the window of the restaurant JDAW could see the £20m snowploughs that Gatwick airport had purchased. Most of the time these were parked neatly next to the runway, but every 20-30 minutes they sprang into life and in a beautifully choreographed display of elegant motion they swept up and down the runway with snow spraying sideways from the front of each machine onto the big levées either side of the cleared area. The flight to Oporto left 2 hours late ”“ but it left and JDAW was very grateful for that.

To be continued...
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by DRT » 19:49 Tue 05 Mar 2013

AHB wrote:Half an hour later JDAW kissed Mrs JDAW lightly on the forehead as she lay in bed and whispered ‟See you on Sunday.”
A fabulous way to obtain permission. I have taken note.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 23:17 Sat 09 Mar 2013

The flight was relatively uneventful and very quiet. JDAW took the opportunity of the peace to sip a couple of glasses of vintage port. The first was a glass of Offley Boa Vista 2000 and the second was a little sample bottle of Dow 1985. The 40 mph crosswind made life interesting on landing, but JDAW’s only real worry was whether his hold luggage would arrive safely. Fortunately, it did. So with bottle box in one hand and overnight bag in the other, he left Francisco de Sá Carneiro airport and headed for his hotel.

The Yeatman was taking advantage of the quiet winter season to undertake some development work. Reception had been moved to the far side of the entrance lobby and was now next to Dick’s bar. The concierge provided his usual polished service and brought JDAW’s bags from the car to reception while JDAW was checking in. JDAW’s distinctive tones must have carried across the marble lined lobby as a few minutes after he sat down at the reception desk a beaming face appeared from the back office. ‟I thought I heard a familiar voice!” and Adrian Bridge came across to say hello. Adrian and JDAW had a lengthy and interesting chat about the new features being added to the Yeatman during the low season before Adrian raised an eyebrow at the boxes of bottles which had been delivered the hotel shortly before JDAW’s arrival. Then Adrian had to excuse himself and return to his work.

More anon...
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 22:27 Sun 10 Mar 2013

And JDAW had an appointment for dinner ”“ for which he had bought the port! After a brief change of clothes and a quick shower he grabbed his bottle bag and jumped into a cab. The cab ride to O Paparico was mercifully short, despite the heavy rain and JDAW arrived only a little later than he had intended. The first task to complete was to open the bottles he had brought. One of JDAW’s phone calls that morning had been to agree which bottles he would bring and that what he brought would be opened using port tongs. Many of the bottles were ‟believed to be” rather than bottles of certain identity. There were six bottles to be opened and his five waiting hosts had generously provided another couple of bottles that were already in decanters. It was rapid work with
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port tongs, iced water, muslin and funnel and all were open and decanted in less than 30 minutes.
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As planned, the port was tasted before dinner. Each was worked through methodically and notes were carefully (at least carefully according to JDAW’s normal standard of tasting notes) scribed. The line up was spectacular,
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starting with a bottle of Cockburn 1908. JDAW’s note reads that this showed as fully mature, elegant and attractive although not as good as a previous bottle he had tried over lunch last year.
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The second port tried was a glass of Noval 1927, stunning and impressive; better than the third port, which was a very good Taylor 1927.
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Next came a glass of Noval 1931, deep, dark and concentrated ”“ really very impressive, showing better than the Nacional 1931 that it was paired against. (Interestingly, JDAW reported that this was consistent with his previous experience of comparing these two ports a few years ago.)
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The last two flights compared the Graham 1942 with the Graham 1948 and the Warre 1922 with the Warre 1958. The Graham ’42 was reported as not showing as well as the bottle drunk the previous year. The Graham ’48 was magnificent, the Warre 1922 stunning and the Warre 1958 would have been wine of the night in lesser company. The wine of the night was voted to be the Noval 1927 (18 out of a possible 30 points), which just shaded the Warre 1922 (17 points) and the Graham 1942 (15 points).

JDAW sat back in his chair and sighed. Where would he rather be? Here, with these ports in front of him or back in London, struggling to get home in the snow after a hard day’s work. He thought he knew the answer.

The food at O Paparico was as good as ever, with the wonderful hors d’oeuvre spread out on the table in front of him. This was followed by steak and the meal was rounded off with an extremely smelly selection of delectable cheeses. After 2 hours of eating and drinking, JDAW had had enough ”“ and there was still port left! JDAW could not remember when he had last been unable to finish a few bottles of port. But there was a simple plan ”“ he had a table booked at the same restaurant the following night so he recorked the unfinished bottles and asked that they be kept behind the bar until he returned in less than 24 hours.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by Andy Velebil » 04:46 Wed 13 Mar 2013

JDAW appears to have had a fantastic time so far. Can't wait to read the rest of his adventure.

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by Chris Doty » 16:35 Wed 13 Mar 2013

who doesn't love some port porn?

Great stuff JDAW -- you're an example for us all!

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 23:12 Thu 14 Mar 2013

After a very comfortable night, JDAW woke refreshed and went up for breakfast. After a healthy bowl of fruit and yoghurt, he felt ready to start preparations for the day. Today he was due to visit the Sandeman Lodge for a small tasting and a leisurely lunch before returning to O Paparico for dinner. JDAW had to prepare his contribution for the tasting he was attending. Some deft work with corkscrew, metal funnel and an empty port bottle meant that JDAW was ready with some time to spare. There was a small scare when the sediment from his bottle of Cockburn 1955 threatened to block the hotel’s bathroom sink by getting stuck in the p-trap, but luck was with JDAW and eventually he was able to flush the sediment through and get his sink working properly again.

Despite the foul weather, JDAW decided to walk down the hill to the Sandeman Lodge. As he walked, he became aware of just how windy it was and how much rain had fallen overnight. There were heavy old ceramic tiles lying on the road, where they had blown off nearby roofs and smashed on the hard cobbles; there was water running down the hill in small rivulets, carving little valleys in the coarse sand of the temporary road surface where the building work was taking place. The impact of the weather could be seen everywhere.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by Chris Doty » 23:14 Thu 14 Mar 2013

AHB wrote:yoghurt
yog-hurt?! oh, why bother?

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 23:16 Thu 14 Mar 2013

Chris Doty wrote:
AHB wrote:yoghurt
yog-hurt?! oh, why bother?
Spelt differently in English, when it is pronounced as it is spelt - as opposed to American pronounciation when it should be spelt yowgert
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by Chris Doty » 23:44 Thu 14 Mar 2013

AHB wrote:
Spelt differently in English, when it is pronounced as it is spelt - as opposed to American pronounciation when it should be spelt yowgert
I don't know what Americans you've been spending time with, but it is pronounced 'yo/gurt'

Don't even get me started on 'Southwark'

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by jdaw1 » 08:54 Fri 15 Mar 2013

Chris Doty wrote:yog-hurt?! oh, why bother?
Stop interrupting I want to know what happened next.

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 13:15 Fri 15 Mar 2013

The strong winds and the debris also had an impact on JDAW’s host. Sadly he was delayed a little so JDAW had to amuse himself with an impromptu wander around the visitors area of the Lodge. In particular, JDAW has always found the bottle museum an interesting place to spend time and took the opportunity to examine some of the old bottles. The delay was short and after only a brief wait, JDAW’s avuncular host appeared with an apology for the delay. They retired to the tasting room, where they were joined by JDAW’s other two co-hosts who assisted JDAW to rearrange the furniture to make best use of the light.
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Once the furniture was in the right place, they settled down with tasting mats in front of them and worked their way through the wonderful selection of ports in front of them ”“ just one flight, but with a real variety of styles and age ”“ and a range of ports which JDAW reported as ‟!not my usual Saturday lunch drinking!”.
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The tasting mats were interesting. Being used to JDAW and his ways when tasting port, his hosts had put their thinking caps on and come up with a fabulous combination of glass tray (made from the end panel of a port case, with handles attached) with a printed placemat inside. This made it very easy to keep track of glasses and easy to carry what was not drunk during the tasting upstairs to the dining room ”“ an excellent combination which quite caught JDAW’s imagination.
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The Sandeman 1945 appeared damaged, probably light damaged, and was very pale and lacked any real fruit, being very tawny. The Noval Nacional 1963 was the spectacular blockbuster that was expected. The Cockburn 1927 was mature and bright, full of raisins; the 1955 was full of soft fruit but a bit hot; the Fonseca 1977 big and unctuous and the Andresen 40 year old white tawny was sweet, mouth-filling and odd. And this was all rounded off with a cask sample of a potential blend for the 2011 Sandeman vintage port (subject to approval by the IVDP in due course). The favourite wine of these was the Cockburn 1927 (20 points) over the Noval Nacional 1963 (17 points).
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 22:48 Mon 18 Mar 2013

Feeling well warmed up, JDAW and his 3 hosts carried their trays of port to the Boardroom for lunch. Lunch was a splendid affair with entertaining company and excellent food prepared by the skilled team in the kitchen. There was a selection of fine wines (a light and fragrant white, a serious and youthful red) to accompany each course (a fabulous fish salad starter, a Portuguese sausage and bean cassoulet) and a rich chocolate desert was balanced superbly by a vigorous 2007 Sandeman LBV (bottled 2011, fined but not stabilised) before a selection of cheeses was served alongside the remaining ports from the earlier tasting.

Having eaten and drunk too much for lunch, JDAW was in desperate need of an afternoon nap. He staggered down the marble staircase from where he had eaten and emerged into the middle of the lodge shop. 12 Riedel glasses later, he was on his way back up the hill towards the Yeatman Hotel, this time in much calmer weather. Promising himself a swim to refresh himself before his dinner appointment took him back to O Paparico he collapsed into bed and fell soundly asleep.

He woke to hear the phone ringing, it was reception letting him know that his taxi was at the hotel. Panicking, JDAW leapt out of bed, threw on some new clothes, grabbed a bottle or two and ran out of the door.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by jdaw1 » 23:13 Mon 18 Mar 2013

How was the weather during the visit to the Sandeman Lodge? I heard a rumour of course unsubstantiated that there was a huge storm blowing, and that it bust open the doors to the terrace. The rumour of course unsubstantiated said that the wind then blew open a inner door to a corridor, and took all the pictures off the wall. The rumour of course unsubstantiated said that everybody leapt to their feet to close the outer doors, and replace the pictures. The rumour of course unsubstantiated also said that no port was spilt.

Is there any substance to these rumours?

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 22:57 Tue 19 Mar 2013

jdaw1 wrote:How was the weather during the visit to the Sandeman Lodge? I heard a rumour of course unsubstantiated that there was a huge storm blowing, and that it bust open the doors to the terrace. The rumour of course unsubstantiated said that the wind then blew open a inner door to a corridor, and took all the pictures off the wall. The rumour of course unsubstantiated said that everybody leapt to their feet to close the outer doors, and replace the pictures. The rumour of course unsubstantiated also said that no port was spilt.

Is there any substance to these rumours?
As JDAW has subtly hinted (at least for JDAW) I have missed out a portion of his story that he found to be most exciting.

Sitting at the tasting table, concentrating on working through the variety of ports on offer, JDAW and his 4 hosts had more or less blocked out the sound of the tail end of Oporto's worst storm in 20 years. The rain had been driven in from the Ocean horizontally by 100 mph winds in the early hours of the morning and there were still strong winds blowing in the late morning. With a loud BANG a strong gust blew open the shutters at the front of the lodge, made everyone at the table jump in their seats, blew open the door between the tasting room and the corridor and managed to lift several paintings off the corridor wall, which fell to the floor with a loud CRASH. Everyone jumped up in panic. Several of the menfolk wrestled the door shut and dropped the retaining bar in place; the women rushed into the corridor and replaced the pictures, first checking that none had been broken by their trauma. Once everything was back in place, JDAW and his hosts returned to the table, amazed at the fact that despite the sudden movements and shock, not a drop of port had been spilt!
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by DRT » 00:27 Fri 22 Mar 2013

This certainly sounds like a very good trip to Portugal. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter.
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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by benread » 07:17 Fri 22 Mar 2013

JDAW's trips to portugal are starting to read like a literary dynasty in the shaping, perhaps along the lines of 007 (0007 even) after yesterday's talk of secret handovers at London Victoria!
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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 09:38 Fri 22 Mar 2013

O Paparico were getting used to JDAW by now. A quick knock on their door, a flash of light as the curtain was flicked open, a face glancing out to see who the visitor was, the groan of a bolt being drawn and JDAW was inside again. A quick shake of hands with the owner and JDAW was shown to his table. He was the first to arrive. This evening was a small affair with JDAW as the host and only one guest ”“ but a guest whose family had been involved in the port trade for many generations, including a time managing one of the most prestigious quintas in the Douro (which is now corporately owned). The left over bottles from the previous night were produced from behind the bar and arrayed on the table. Next to them were placed the bottles JDAW had brought for the evening ”“ bottles of Croft 1966, Niepoort 1966, Dow 1963 and Taylor 1948; rather good drinking for an evening! It was only a few minutes before his guest arrived, a beaming giant of a man clutching a bottle of 1963 colheita which he had drawn from the barrel earlier that day.
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The ports were splendid, the Taylor 1948 big and burly, but outshone by the remnants of the Noval 1927.
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The Dow 1963 was lightweight but delicious; the Croft 1966 a bit hot but the Niepoort 1966 was magnificent and the Van Zeller 1963 lovely throughout.
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Indeed, the Niepoort was the favourite wine that night (11½ points) with the Noval 1927 (9½ points) and the Van Zeller 1963 colheita (8 points) in very respectable second and third places.

And what made the evening really special was that the owner of O Paparico even put together a special menu designed to go specifically with the ports that were being drunk that evening.

Time just flew past; good food, good company and great port but eventually even O Paparico had to close. JDAW’s taxi arrived to take him back to his hotel. He arrived back in the early hours of Sunday morning, considered and rejected a glass of Scion as a nightcap (indeed any nightcap at all) and went to bed to be ready for his next and final day.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 00:15 Sun 24 Mar 2013

The next morning it was time to check out of the hotel, but JDAW had plans before heading for the airport. Instead, he loaded his luggage into a taxi and directed it down to the Vila Nova de Gaia waterfront. Gonçalo Devesas was waiting in the Dalva wine shop and gave a wave of greeting when the taxi pulled up outside. Tucking his travel bags discretely into the corner of the tasting room, JDAW joined Gonçalo’s other guests and settled down on a bar stool. Gonçalo lined up some glasses and poured the first sample for everyone to try.
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The first sample was of Dalva’s Lote Miguel Castro Silva, a pink port which JDAW thought to be enjoyable ”“ enjoyable enough that he made a note to himself to order some. Next came a flight of very fine Dalva colheitas ”“ 1995, 1985 and 1975. These got richer as they got older although JDAW preferred the 1995 out of the three bottles.

Then JDAW and his friends were was fortunate enough to be offered two different vintages of the golden white ”“ from 1971 and 1963. The 1971 he thought to be delicate but with a good complexity while the 1963 he thought to have more body but less complexity.

And with that, it was time to leave for lunch. Lunch today was at the Oporto Cricket Club. The group jumped into a couple of taxis and headed off.
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by Andy Velebil » 06:26 Sun 24 Mar 2013

Can't wait for lunch details... Do tell.

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by Glenn E. » 23:31 Mon 25 Mar 2013

Do my eyes deceive me, or does the placemat in the picture at the Dalva wine shop show a KL70?

I tried to locate one before the 2013 ACPT tasting but failed. Sandra Marques and Pedro Sa even helped with my search.

I'd love to try the '52, '63, and '71 Golden Whites together.
Glenn Elliott

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by jdaw1 » 00:36 Tue 26 Mar 2013

Glenn E. wrote:Do my eyes deceive me, or does the placemat in the picture
Happily, Hansel and Gretel left a trail of breadcrumbs to follow.

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Re: JDAW goes to Portugal - Jan 2013

Post by AHB » 12:36 Tue 26 Mar 2013

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Sunday lunch was eaten around a large round table, giving plenty of space for everyone and their glasses ”“ and glasses were needed to accommodate the double magnums of red wine kindly brought by Henry Shotton and the five bottles of port, including one from Jorge Ramos. The Quinta do Vesuvio 2009 Douro DOC wine was very impressive ”“ soft and fruity, with a fantastic structure to give a wine which will last for years. The Chryseia 2009 Douro DOC was very different ”“ much more tannic and reserved; a more powerful wine than the Vesuvio but not as easy to drink at such a youthful stage.
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The ports came later. These were a Warre 1963, a Kopke São Luiz 1970, a Taylor 1970, a Taylor 1977 and a Fonseca Guimaraens 1991. All were impressive, but the Taylor 1970 was a clear winner of the port of the lunch vote (26 points), the Warre 1963 a clear second place (19 points) and the Fonseca Guimaraens 1991 just scraping third place (5 points). JDAW also took the opportunity for a little mischief. On a visit to the toilet he had spotted a familiar face at another table. The familiar face had not seen JDAW so a plan formed in his mind as he walked back to the table. Sitting down, he poured a glass of one of the ports and beckoned to a waiter. The waiter came over and JDAW asked him to take the glass to his ‟victim” with the compliments of the group. JDAW also hid the bottle under the table.

Moments later David Guimaraens appeared, glass in hand. He boomed a hearty greeting and enthusiastically shook JDAW’s hand. Then sniffing, swirling and sipping he sampled the port. When told what the port was, David Guimaraens was surprised at the youthfulness (he had estimated it to be from the late ‘80s or early ‘90s). He was also interested that this was the Kopke São Luiz, being unsure whether he had had this particular port before. With a few words of thanks, David had to return to his family, taking his glass with him.

And then lunch was over, a taxi was waiting for JDAW outside the cricket club to take him back to the airport and return him home to his eager wife and children. A few hours later and his trip was over ”“ but what an amazing collection of ports he had drunk through. Now it was back to the snow and cold of England. Hey ho!
Top Ports in 2019 (so far): Cockburn 1947 and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
2018 Ports of the year: São Leonardo 1927 White Port (Bottled 2018), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994

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