First my thanks again to all for the ports and the organisation, particularly Mike and Simon for the decanting. Service and food were also very good, credit to the B&F.
(Ian, I saw you had left your notes behind, so grabbed them and will forward images for you.)
It was an interesting evening, and the bare statistics which can be drawn from the voting could certainly lead to some erroneous conclusions. In addition to what has already been mentioned above, I would note the following:
- Overall, I was hoping to put to rest my slight suspicion of the 80s being a weak decade for port, but have not done so yet. There are certainly some good ports, and some which will still improve, but at the moment few stars when compared with 70 or 77 a decade ago.
- Most of the wines rated in the "good" range for me, with only a couple making "very good", none falling as far as "ok" ignoring the faulty ones, so overall quite a level field.
- Some ports did not show up to scratch for me: The D83 was heavily corked (and sadly the replacement bottle which Mike kindly opened was the worst VA-affected bottle I've come across - so bad I smelled but did not taste it), and the W85 had just a hint of TCA on it, I thought. The F83 I thought showed poorly, but then I have a higher respect for this wine than most - perhaps I've just been lucky previously with an excellent batch. The F85 was good, but not as good as it can be.
- G85 was a surprise to me as star of the night (it was my WOTN, as well as overall winner).
- Warre was "good" across the board. As noted by Julian, and the same was true base on my own ratings, the Warre was the best of the 83s, the worst of the 85s, but did not have any "star" ports which were high enough to make it into the top 3 for me - and indeed, aside from Alex, nobody else assigned more than one point to Warre, despite most people seeming to feel that the set of Warre ports were a good showing and many comments on the good quality/price ratio the shipper offers.
- Taylor was also "good" or "very good" and for me was the clear "shipper of the night" - a slight surprise for me given my usual flavour profile preferences.