Dutch Summer Ofline - 1977 Horizontal

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Dutch Summer Ofline - 1977 Horizontal

Post by RonnieRoots » 23:51 Fri 04 Jul 2008

What a great way to make up for the lack of port LadyR and I suffered the last few months. A tasting of 11 1977 Vintage Ports, and a couple of others, together with the Dutch contignent and three of the Brits. Many thanks to Joost for hosting this event and for all of his organisational efforts. And also many thanks to Euan Mackay, Coralia Tavares and Miguel Corte-Real, who graciously supplied us with a bottle of the Cockburn 1977. A special and rare treat.

It was an extremely educational and fun tasting. My main impression of 1977 is that it's an inconsistant vintage, with more than average bottle variation. Furthermore, Uncle Tom's theory of the "Peter Pan" vintage (the ports are growing old without growing up) seems to be true for a number of the ports. Many of the ports are losing colour and fruit rapidly, while the tannin structure is still fierce. That said, there are several beautiful ports to be found and the stars of the vintage are simply gorgeous.

On to the ports (notes in order of tasting):

Fairly light in colour, sort of transparant red with some bricking around the edges. Delicate, sweet strawberry on the nose, with not much else going on. On the palate, light, with again strawberry, cranberries, blackcurrant and liquorice. Slightly spirity with a dry, rather empty finish. And just when you think it ends rather dull, it hits you with a lovely, full finish. A good port, if a little light, and overly aged. My guess: Delaforce. 86 points, disappointing for Taylor.

Gould Campbell
Still fairly dark in colour, but otherwise pretty much corked. A big shame, because the underlying quality is very good. Dark and brooding, and showing young still. A trick with clingfilm helped somewhat but could’t eliminate the cork taint completely. I guessed Dow, but should have known better given AHB’s experiences. NR

Quite light in colour with a brown streak. Sweet strawberry nose. Candied. A sweet and round mouthfeel, with some spices (nutmeg, cinnamon), sweet strawberries and raspberries. It gains body on the spicy and lovely (if slightly spirity) finish. This is drinking beautifully now. My guess: Niepoort (because of the strawberries). 91 points.

Again quite light in colour, but it just shows slightly younger than the Graham. Mostly coffee and tobacco on the rather spirity nose. The palate is dominated by secondary flavours. Brown sugar, orange peel and other citric flavours, black pepper. Racy and beautifully layered. But completely secondary and in need of drinking now. After I learned this was Dow, I was very surprised, as previous bottles had been very dark and young. Another guess for Delaforce, but wrong again. 92 points now, but drink soon.

Another light port, but this shows some beautiful red tones next to a slightly brown bricking. The nose is fresh, but not alcoholic. Spciy, with tobacco and cedar. Incredibly thick mouthfeel, sweet, with strawberries, some subtle darker fruit and dark spices. Complex and lovely, with a warm, if slightly hollow finish. A joy to drink. My guess: Niepoort. 94 points.

Cockburn’s (not officially declared)
Light colour with a reddish core. Some caramel on the nose. Dark, maybe somewhat tarry and silty nose, with some light red fruit. Very elegant (but a bit on the light side) in the mouth, with a spicy backbone. Coffee, caramel and a touch of tar on the finish. The port grows to be somewhat darker after a while in the glass. The finish is definitely the most interesting and keeps on building for a long while. Lovely port, that could have been declared with pride. This bottle was not blind for me, so no guess. 90 points.

Offley Boa Vista
Light and brown in colour. Barnyardy and cheesy on the nose, with a taste of brown sugar and caramel. Overall very old and tired. Yet another guess for Delaforce and wrong again. 84 points.

Somewhat dark core, but overal light in colour, turning to brown. A lovely fresh and perfumed nose, that also shows cocoa and coffee. A delicate taste, precious and young, with a lovely balance. Dark fruit, and chocolate are prominent, but it’s elegantly layered and rather complex. I like this a lot. My guess: Warre. 93 points.

Very light in colour. Hot and spirity on the nose. Cabbage. Taste of light strawberries. Sweetish but very hot. Thick mouthfeel, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on. Not bad for drinking, but not really special too. Could be that it needed more time in the decanter to get rid of the heat though. My guess: Delaforce. 86 points.

Smith Woodhouse
Dark, beautiful colour. A very interesting nose with aniseed, mint and eucalyptus. Wow, this tastes young. Lovely young fruit, dark and fresh with a delicasy and balance to dream of. But, on the finish it turns dry and tannic, which raises some concerns over its ability to age graciously. My guess: Smith Woodhouse. 94 points.

Somewhat lighter than the Smith Woodhouse, but still one of the darker of the bunch. On the nose, some floral notes, fresh and light, with some sweet red fruit and a touch of fresh chilipepper. Medium sweet and round, with a great balance. Very delicate and elegant, with lovely dark fruit flavours (blackcurrant, brambles). The palate keeps on building in the mouth. Very complex, and the best of the evening for me. My guess. Fonseca. 96 points.

Next to these, we tasted two Loire whites, one 2005 Margaux, one Champagne, two bottles of 1997 Passadouro VP and one bottle of 1994 Skeffington VP. Impressions of these two ports will be posted in due time.

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Post by AHB » 00:06 Sat 05 Jul 2008

I must echo Ronnie's words, Joost and Sandra acted as the perfect hosts and put up with some very loud and drunk port-heads until far too late at night for a 7 week old baby.

It was a real pleasure to get to meet more of the port lovers around the world who I have not met before. The food that Ronnie and Lady Roots prepared was delicious and many of the ports really made up the occasion. I took my usual notes and will post them when I have a few extra minutes, but my favourite was the Fonseca and with the Niepoort close behind.

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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Post by Lady Roots » 00:13 Sat 05 Jul 2008

Here're my 2 cents. I've only made TN's of the VP 77's

Taylor ‘77
Light rosehip colour with orange hue. Very alcholic nose, lacking in floral and fruity notes. Taste is thin, empty and pale, mainly hot with hint of liquorice. Finish kicks in after quite some time, but besides some coffee tones, not much is going on.
This port has aged without developing any tones that shows maturation, hopefully it’s an off-bottle.
85 pts

Gould Campbell ‘77
Dark red to almost purple colour, with lots of dark fruit in the nose and taste. Strong tannin structure in balance with dark fruit. Unfortunately, this port was corked, but its relative young flavours, balance and elegacy shows it’s good aging potential. A big surprise, but undrinkable now.
No score

Graham’s ‘77
Light in colour with hues of orange and pink. First impression on the nose and taste is ripe strawberries and candied sweets. Concentration of flavours and body is mainly on the finish, where it shows subtle tones of leather and tobacco with a nice spicy backbone. Overall, a very delicate, smooth, easy drinking port, without being simple and too sweet . One needs to put some effort to distinguish its different subtle layers, but will be rewarded.
91 pts

Dow’s ‘77
Very secondary port, maybe more matured than expected. Light brown in colour, with nose of citrus, rosehip, tobacco and some alcohol giving it a slightly too hot start. On the palette, tones of brown sugar, orange peel and fresh almonds alternate each other making it a fresh, almost tawny-like, port. Very smooth with silky tannins.
93 pts

Niepoort ‘77
Rusty brown-red colour, extremely thick when poored in the glass, almost like syrup. Strong tones of cooked veggies almost going to barnyard smell, but quickly taken over by fresh notes of citrus, cedar, tobacco, leather and liquorice, with a good bitterness in the finish. This is a big, thick bodied, mouthfilling port, hence very smooth with silky tannins and relatively fresh. Simply delicious.
95 pts

Cockburn ‘77
Light brown colour, silty nose with some strawberries, and overall relatively fresh and light. There’s more in the taste than expected from the nose, though it takes time to take off. Slightly one dimensional taste, with some sweetness combined with coffee and tar tones. Its spicy backbone makes it interesting. The aftertaste is most promising, with lots of layers and long lasting dry finish. Very pleasant and delicious port, ready to drink now.
91 pts

Offley Boa Vista ‘77
Light brown-red colour. Overwhelming sulfur smell, closest to running cheese or rotten cabbage. Behind the sulfur there are some hints of dust, smookey flesh and brown sugar. No more... Just loose components that don’t come together. Tired port. Maybe extreme bottle stink?
83 pts

Delaforce ‘77
Dark brown-red and much more youthful than former ports. Powerful smell of coffee and cacao with dark cherries. Bith harsh in taste, balanced structure of dark sweet fruit and creamy chocolate with firm tannins. Bit hot on finish, but deliciously ‘young’ port. Can age some more.
92 pts

Warre ‘77
Very light brown with orange hue. Hot on the nose with some cabbage smell. Thick glycerol taste, with bit of liquorice and spicy notes. Too easy, simple and fat... not much going on.
85 pts

Smith Woodhouse ‘77
Dark red to purple colour. Powerful aromas of ‘young’ port with tones of dark fruit (mainly blackberry), mint and anicy. Beefy, firm tannins and lots of ripe cherries in the taste with hints of chocolate and eucaliptus. Great balance and structure (though questionable if the tannins are not too strong for the fruit to let it age some more decades), lots of layers and very young in character. Surprise of the night!
94 pts

Fonseca ‘77
Dark red to purple, but slightly lighter than Smith Woodhouse. Intense fresh flavours with floral tones and star anicy on top of dark fruitmix and liquorice. Slight cooked veggie smell, but not disturbing. Young and concentrated in taste; firm tannins with dark fruit and some dark coffee tones. Very powerful, yet balanced, elegant and complete. This port smacks you in the face... and will continue to develop over time.

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Post by RonnieRoots » 08:59 Sat 05 Jul 2008

Of course, pictures were made, but they will be posted after we return from holiday, somewhere late July.

The bottle of the Cockburn had one of the coolest labels I've ever seen, stating the "not officialy declared" and something along the lines of "private reserve". We have pictures of that as well, but I know Joost made some too. Maybe he can post them when he finds the time.

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Post by Joost » 08:41 Mon 07 Jul 2008

Thank you all for being there...

It took some days to recover :? but now everything is back to normal again. My 8-week old son (Abel) knows now he is not the 'loudest person on earth' :) anymore, so since wednesday he is just sweet and quiet. Or maybe it was the 'Fonseca 77' aftertaste he had in his milk! Hopefully 2008 will be a good year for VP...

We enjoyed it very much having you all here. For me it was the first time tasting so many aged VP's next to each other. Except for a very large line-up with VP's of 2000, I usually only taste one or two VP's a night...

It was great, unless it started not really that way with the 'far from optimal' Taylor's and Corked Cambell. Most of the others were drinking really well, with the Fonseca as real undiscussed winner... Followed on a distance by Niepoort and than closely followed by Smith Woodhouse, Dow, Delaforce and (the usually disappointing) Graham.

Is there a place to upload pictures or an address to mail them to? I am totally not used to post pictures on the internet.

And Tom, how was your "24 bottle" flight?


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Post by uncle tom » 14:34 Thu 17 Jul 2008

I have just realised that I have omitted to post on this thread.. :roll:

A big thankyou to Joost for his excellent hospitality, and his interesting pre-match warm-up of mystery whites, one of which had me completely fooled!

A big thankyou also to the culinary department, for an excellent supper!
And Tom, how was your "24 bottle" flight?
They were checked in at 42Kg, yet despite being 2kg over my Star Alliance double baggage allowance, there was no charge made. Alex very kindly shipped a further six in his luggage.

As tends to be the way when you plan these things, we assumed that as my flight was about an hour ahead of Alex's, I would be ready and waiting in the car when Alex emerged from T5

In the event, a modest flight delay, followed by a baggage delay, followed by an absurdly long wait for the Purple Parking shuttle bus, and then horrid traffic around Heathrow, left Alex working his way through several Sudoku's at the T5 set down stand. Despite that, he was still in good humour when I finally got there..!

I am enromously grateful for the use of Joost's sack barrow; without which getting those cases through the expanse of Utrecht station would have been a real struggle.

And then there was the port..!

It was a real treat to have an encounter with the rare Cockburn '77, and the others all went down well as there was precious little left at the close of play...

What did strike me though was how the wines of this vintage are rapidly aging, with most showing much paler and older than my previous recollections.

There have been alarm bells sounding about the longevity of the '77's (or lack of it..) for a few years now, and this event clearly showed the concerns to be justified, with only the Gould Campbell bucking the trend to any degree.

Very much a vintage for current drinking..

I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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Post by Rubby » 14:42 Sat 19 Jul 2008

A bit late (sorry for that) but I would like to thank everyone for this great evening!
I had a wonderful time with more VP's than I could dream of, delicious diner and good company.
It was great meeting you all.
Thanks again!

:D 88)
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Post by RonnieRoots » 08:45 Mon 28 Jul 2008

AHB, and others who made notes, please do post them in the TN section when you have the time. I know that AHB and I had some quite contrary views on some of the ports, it's always good to have those side by side.

This tasting really did make up for the lack of port enjoyment that we get here. I think I'll be able to manage for a while now until we hit the Dutch or British side next time. :)

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Post by RonnieRoots » 11:47 Mon 28 Jul 2008

So finally: pictures!

Here, I will just post the pictures of the evening as a whole. Pictures, related to individual ports will be posted in the relevant TN threads.

A part of the line-up. This looks impressive already!

Even more impressive: the complete line-up (only the Skeffington 1994 is missing from the picture).

Uncle Tom is showing how nice his shirt matches the cloth.

A toast to a great evening!

And another one!

Uncle Tom and KillerB showing their other cheek to LadyR.

Uncle Tom showing how much he likes the Cockburn.

After which he needs some sleep.

LadyR and Alex B. are very happy about the effect of clingfilm on the corked GC.

You know too much port has been consumed if people try to imitate Radiohead. Guilty for giving a newborn the trauma of his life, from left to right: Joost, StevieCage, KillerB.

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Re: Dutch Summer Ofline - 1977 Horizontal

Post by DRT » 00:16 Wed 06 Aug 2008

It looks like Tom is trying to steal my crown :shock: - I make the current score DRT 3:2 Uncle Tom
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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