1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

What happened?
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

For the record, the Martinez and Val da Figueira were double-decanted at 19.30 the night before the tasting. Neither appeared faulty at the time.
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Charles, Tony - when did you decant the Vesuvio and Smith Woodhouse?
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Last night's tasting definitely brought a smile to my face. My experience with the 1997 vintage has not been particularly good over the years. When we held our last horizontal in 2014 I found the wines to have an earthiness to the fruit that I disliked and to be surprisingly approachable.

Last night they showed so differently. There was a consistent freshness to the wines, red fruit and high acidity giving a lovely balance. Still showing generous tannins, the tannins are fine-grained and very ripe combining with the fruit and acidity to provide a very nice mouthfeel. Many of the wines are still youthful, with the primary fruit just starting to develop some secondary nuances - at the beginning of their first drinking plateau. None of the bottles consumed yesterday caused me any doubt of their ability to drink very well, or better than today, for the next 20-30 years if cellared well. I will be starting to open and slowly drink my stocks of 1997 very soon.
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by CPR 1 »

Alex Bridgeman wrote: 10:40 Wed 25 May 2022 Charles, Tony - when did you decant the Vesuvio and Smith Woodhouse?
The Vesuvio was decanted about 18:30 the night before
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by winesecretary »

First, thanks to nac for arranging with his characteristic thoroughness and also to all of those providing wines.

Second, this was really quite a good tasting, only one of the wines was possibly faulty (Noval Silval) and only three others perhaps a bit tired (Burmester, Osbourne, Sandeman Vau). Everything else - and that's 14 of 18 wines - got points. Without checking, I think only the 1955 horizontal of recent years has achieved a higher proportion than that.

So: most of the wines we tasted I would not be unhappy to own. However: I do not feel that there were any wines that were really wonderful, in the sense that a glass of Fonseca 1985 or Vesuvio 1992 makes my heart sing. So while I will be buying, modestly, to up my very limited stocks of this vintage it will be so that I have an interesting representative range to hand, of a vintage that is now starting to be something of a pleasure to drink, rather than because I fell in love.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by PhilW »

winesecretary wrote: 17:51 Wed 25 May 2022 First, thanks to nac for arranging with his characteristic thoroughness and also to all of those providing wines.
Agreed.
winesecretary wrote: 17:51 Wed 25 May 2022 Second, this was really quite a good tasting, only one of the wines was possibly faulty (Noval Silval) and only three others perhaps a bit tired (Burmester, Osbourne, Sandeman Vau). Everything else - and that's 14 of 18 wines - got points.
Now here I feel I must step in and respectfully point out that the Martinez only received points because you gave it some, and everyone else in the room thought it was faulty, hence the uproar when you gave it a point! :o) (also I didn't note a fault with the Silval, albeit softer and clearly junior to the Noval).

However, Mz aside I do agree that the wines showed well and indeed, for me at least, higher than my expectations. The Dow received general acclaim as the groups WOTN, having received their highest points from 9/14 attendees. Noval was a clear second place, then Warre just a whisker ahead of Gould Campbell, Vesuvio and Graham.
winesecretary wrote: 17:51 Wed 25 May 2022 So: most of the wines we tasted I would not be unhappy to own. However: I do not feel that there were any wines that were really wonderful, in the sense that a glass of Fonseca 1985 or Vesuvio 1992 makes my heart sing. So while I will be buying, modestly, to up my very limited stocks of this vintage it will be so that I have an interesting representative range to hand, of a vintage that is now starting to be something of a pleasure to drink, rather than because I fell in love.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, although there did seem to be some degree of homogeneity; however the wines are really only just starting to enter their drinking window - I would personally suggest leaving for at least another 5-10 years - seeming to follow an ongoing pattern of slower-maturing wines for the last forty years or so compared to prior to that. I think the '97s will show favourably in the longer term.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by winesecretary »

@ PhilW - I must be becoming even deafer than I thought, I didn't hear the uproar...
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by jdaw1 »

Alex Bridgeman wrote: 10:49 Wed 25 May 2022 Last night's tasting definitely brought a smile to my face. My experience with the 1997 vintage has not been particularly good over the years. When we held our last horizontal in 2014 I found the wines to have an earthiness to the fruit that I disliked and to be surprisingly approachable.

Last night they showed so differently. There was a consistent freshness to the wines, red fruit and high acidity giving a lovely balance. Still showing generous tannins, the tannins are fine-grained and very ripe combining with the fruit and acidity to provide a very nice mouthfeel. Many of the wines are still youthful, with the primary fruit just starting to develop some secondary nuances - at the beginning of their first drinking plateau. None of the bottles consumed yesterday caused me any doubt of their ability to drink very well, or better than today, for the next 20-30 years if cellared well.
This is an excellent summary. The dirtiness of the 2014 tasting has gone. red fruit, good balance, mid+ weight. This is not a top-rank Vintage for the ages. But it is a properly declared good year that will give pleasure for some decades.

The pictures of the glasses might be difficult to parse, because the grey Titles printed so faintly as to be absent. PNGs of the placemats might help:
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Mike J. W. »

I thought I had seen the score sheet previously, but I can't locate it now. Was it removed?
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by winesecretary »

Can I also add that the circa-45-year-old Exhibition Ale which Tom brought along was absolutely delicious, rich, savoury and full of life and interest, and would have rated at least an HM had it been an option.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Glenn E. »

For reference in an easier-to-read format, here are the Ports that received points:

1. Dow
2. Noval
3. Warre
4. Gould Campbell
5. Vesuvio
6. Graham
7. Fonseca
8. (tie) Smith Woodhouse
8. (tie) Quarles Harris
10. Croft Quinta da Roeda
11. Ramos Pinto
12. (tie) Taylor
12. (tie) Martinez
12. (tie) Quinta de Val da Figueira
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Mike J. W. »

Thanks jdaw1 & Glenn E. I'm not surprised the Dow won since I've heard its very good, but the disparity between that and the runner ups is pretty amazing.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Mike J. W. wrote: 20:13 Sat 02 Jul 2022 Thanks jdaw1 & Glenn E. I'm not surprised the Dow won since I've heard its very good, but the disparity between that and the runner ups is pretty amazing.
The scoring system of (roughly) where each person gives 3 points to their favourite Port, 2 to the next and 1 point to their 3rd most liked wine does tend to stretch out the scores if there is one wine which is consistently considered by the group as one of the top two wines being drunk.

I rather like it for that reason. It stretches out those small score differences between a really, really good wine and something which is merely a really good wine.
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Glenn E. »

The 3-2-1 system does a good job of determining which Port was the group's overall favorite, but it doesn't do a very good job at all of ordering the rest of the Ports beyond the top 3. In this case W, GC, V, and G were half point steps apart which is fairly insignificant. A fully ordered ranking system does a better job of ordering the entire tasting, but is more difficult to do (for each attendee on the night while potentially inebriated) and more difficult to tally (for the person adding things up later). In both cases (3-2-1 and fully ordered), allowing tasters to alter the points awarded without exceeding the total allotted to them gives a better relative reading of the tasting.

Note that there were 14 tasters in attendance, yet the Dow only received 19.5 points out of a possible 42. So it wasn't universally thought to be the best, or even the second best, but was still easily the favorite Port on the night for the group as a whole.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by flash_uk »

Glenn E. wrote: 00:02 Thu 07 Jul 2022…yet the Dow only received 19.5 points out of a possible 42. So it wasn't universally thought to be the best…
I’m not sure the 3,2,1 system is implying anything about the best port, rather it is simply highlighting the direction of the preferences of the people who tasted those bottles at the tasting.

Dow wasn’t universally thought to be the best, because some tasters thought it wasn’t. That’s got nothing to do with the scoring system though, has it?

It was substantially thought to be the best though…
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Glenn E. »

That's just it... because of the way the 3-2-1 system works, I think it only looks like it was substantially thought to be the best. 3-2-1 gives out a lot of zeros when there are 14 Ports. The reality is that the Dow only received 19.5 points, which is an average of somewhere between 2nd place and 3rd place. It was definitely the most liked Port on the evening, but I don't think you can read anything into the point gaps unless you also factor in the number of tasters.

Which is to say that the Dow's 19.5 points was only 7 points better than the Noval's 12.5 points, which is only half a place when there are 14 tasters. Point-wise it looks like it was a decisive victory, but the reality is that was only (on average) rated half a place higher than the Noval at roughly 2.5th place vs 3rd place. The gap is even slimmer between the Noval and the next 4 ranging from 8.5 to 7.

The comparison isn't exact, of course, but to me it's like the Dow was rated 18.5/20 points and the Noval was rated 18/20. Sure, 18.5 is better, but it's not dramatically better.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by PhilW »

I agree that our 6pt system (noting that in addition to 3-2-1 we allow assignment of points any way you like subject to max 3pt for any one wine, and minimum resolution of half-points) works well to provide an indication of the generally preferred wine; and indeed, that is what we are asking it to do, and is probably why we settled on this method, but that It certainly doesn't seem to make sense to try and infer much further from it, definitely not in terms of any actual non-relative measure such as point scale ratings.

Different people use the 6pt assignment in different ways; some will *always* assign 3-2-1, even if they have sat there trying to decide which of two wines should be 1st and 2nd as they might be so close yet miles ahead of the rest; others will decide to give those wines 2pts each, and perhaps give 1pt to a couple of others they thought were the best of the rest, etc; this makes averaging, and much statistical analysis meaningless.

Overall it just gives us a guide to the most-preferred wine of those present; and by seeing if there is any common agreement on which of the wines are selected (by totalling), a guide as to which were more commonly favoured; it says little about those not scored. On some evenings where all the wines are a similar level, all wines may get some points; on other nights where a few stand out there may be several wines which were decent but get no points (noting Julian's "Honorable Mention" could be used to provide an indication here, though I'm personally happy that the voting does what is intended, i.e. to provide indication of any common agreement on the best wines present, rather than trying to make it provide indication of quality of all; for that you'd need an agreed scale, and all voting on all wines on the same scale (noting that even a full ranking would not provide this)).

As to this specific tasting, in terms of the voting, I think we can note the following:
- totalling points gives: Dow (19.5), Noval (12.5) ahead of the rest by a margin, then W, GC, V, G, then another gap, and others.
- counting which wines received the top points from each voter (which may be more than one per voter): Dow(8), N/W/GC (4), G(3)
- counting which wines received *any* points from a voter: D(11), N(8), W/G(6), GC(5), V(4)
I think it's fair to say the Dow was a clear winner, by all metrics.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Doggett »

PhilW wrote: 09:33 Fri 08 Jul 2022 I agree that our 6pt system (noting that in addition to 3-2-1 we allow assignment of points any way you like subject to max 3pt for any one wine, and minimum resolution of half-points) works well to provide an indication of the generally preferred wine; and indeed, that is what we are asking it to do, and is probably why we settled on this method, but that It certainly doesn't seem to make sense to try and infer much further from it, definitely not in terms of any actual non-relative measure such as point scale ratings.

Different people use the 6pt assignment in different ways; some will *always* assign 3-2-1, even if they have sat there trying to decide which of two wines should be 1st and 2nd as they might be so close yet miles ahead of the rest; others will decide to give those wines 2pts each, and perhaps give 1pt to a couple of others they thought were the best of the rest, etc; this makes averaging, and much statistical analysis meaningless.

Overall it just gives us a guide to the most-preferred wine of those present; and by seeing if there is any common agreement on which of the wines are selected (by totalling), a guide as to which were more commonly favoured; it says little about those not scored. On some evenings where all the wines are a similar level, all wines may get some points; on other nights where a few stand out there may be several wines which were decent but get no points (noting Julian's "Honorable Mention" could be used to provide an indication here, though I'm personally happy that the voting does what is intended, i.e. to provide indication of any common agreement on the best wines present, rather than trying to make it provide indication of quality of all; for that you'd need an agreed scale, and all voting on all wines on the same scale (noting that even a full ranking would not provide this)).

As to this specific tasting, in terms of the voting, I think we can note the following:
- totalling points gives: Dow (19.5), Noval (12.5) ahead of the rest by a margin, then W, GC, V, G, then another gap, and others.
- counting which wines received the top points from each voter (which may be more than one per voter): Dow(8), N/W/GC (4), G(3)
- counting which wines received *any* points from a voter: D(11), N(8), W/G(6), GC(5), V(4)
I think it's fair to say the Dow was a clear winner, by all metrics.

…what Phil said! 😀🍷👍
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