The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

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jdaw1
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The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by jdaw1 » 03:51 Fri 12 Jun 2009

By email DRT wrote:Please post because I can't...

An excellent evening at AHB's with some great wines. The Cockburn 27 and Fonseca 48 were superb and the Taylor 63 not far behind.

What a fantastic idea for an offline this was. Well done and thanks to Alex.

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benread
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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by benread » 13:50 Fri 12 Jun 2009

Now my head is clearing a little....!

The catering was superb - a whole filet of beef on the BBQ served with chips (french fries for those West of the North Atlantic!). The cheese selection was a triumph as well.

As to the port, I managed to correctly guess just 2 of the wines correctly - and all I was required to do was guess the decade! The big surprise for me was how similar the wines were in terms of colour. There was very little variation, which was unusual given the 53 year age spread. From memory, my favourite was the Fonseca 1948 but I will review my notes later.

One feature I did enjoy, was the historical stories attached to the year. There could be a future theme in that. Bring a blind bottle and tell its historical story. eg, when these grapes were growing...; when this was first bottled...; when this wine was 10 years old...

Thank you to Alex for hosting.
Ben
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JacobH
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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by JacobH » 12:03 Sat 13 Jun 2009

Many thanks to Alex for inviting us to his house and providing some excellent food, cheese and Port.

The following were consumed blind. As usual, I monumentally failed at guessing anything but I think I was always within a half-century!

Fonseca Bin 27
Taylor 1963
Fonseca 1948
Warre 1958
Warre 1970
Ferreira 1960
Ferreira 1963
Cockburn 1927
Quinta do Noval 1931

My favourite was the Cockburn followed, perhaps controversially, by the Warre ’70 (I believe Alex said that he would have ‟poured it down the drain” had he being the only person drinking it!). Despite leaking, all of the bottles were entirely drinkable; another testimony to the resilience of Port. I think my worst guess was thinking that the Fonseca ’48 was a Warre ’70 (not realising that I’d just drink some) which shows just how slow-to-mature this wine is. As I think Alex bought it as a Fonseca 1958, he should be very pleased :)
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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by AHB » 12:17 Sat 13 Jun 2009

I'll post a more full review later, but it was a fun evening and one where I appreciated everyone mucking in to help organise it - I provided most of the food, but others cooked (or gathered leaves of their choice from the garden).

Thanks to Jacob for his delicious home-made treacle tart. I managed to sneak it into the fridge and conveniently forget about it, so it was breakfast this morning and was extremely tasty.

Just a slight correction to a couple of points raised above - it was the Warre 1958 I was slating and the Fonseca was sold to me as "unknown, believed Warre 1958".
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2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by jdaw1 » 12:49 Sat 13 Jun 2009

You covered a range: bin 27 to N31! Did anybody’s ranking have those two in the cost-efficient order?

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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by JacobH » 21:45 Sat 13 Jun 2009

jdaw1 wrote:You covered a range: bin 27 to N31! Did anybody’s ranking have those two in the cost-efficient order?
Unfortunately, we drank the Bin 27 sighted so we weren’t able to decide that it was better than all the others and switch to online poker as a use of our disposable incomes!That said, as someone who hasn’t tried it before, it seemed markedly better than most Rubies (and their Terra Prima organic reserve).
AHB wrote:Thanks to Jacob for his delicious home-made treacle tart. I managed to sneak it into the fridge and conveniently forget about it, so it was breakfast this morning and was extremely tasty.
Alex is too polite a host to comment that the tart was pretty much destroyed by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers!though I do admire his ability to eat such a thing for breakfast! :shock:
AHB wrote:Just a slight correction to a couple of points raised above - it was the Warre 1958 I was slating and the Fonseca was sold to me as "unknown, believed Warre 1958".
Ah, sorrry. I think those two comments were rather late in the evening! As I think I mentioned at the time, if you’re ever about to pour a Warre ’58 down the drain, perhaps enquire if anyone around here might be willing to relieve you of it ;)
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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by AHB » 00:07 Sun 14 Jun 2009

The wines we had on offer on June 11th were all chosen to be opened because they were leaking at some time in their life and were now ullaged - thus needing to be drunk sooner rather than later. All were tasted blind, with the only clues being offered to people being that the wines were from the 70s (1 bottle), 60s (3 bottles), 50s (2 bottles), 30s (1 bottle) and 20s (1 bottle). The challenge was to match the bottles to the decades.

As it turned out, one of the bottles was from the 40s, not the 50s as expected.

Derek managed 3 out of 7 right, Simon 2 out of 7, Ben 2 out of 7, Tom 1 out of 7 , Jacob 1 out of 7 and I managed a very respectable 2 out of 6.

The bottles were:
Quinta do Noval 1931
Cockburn 1927
Ferreira 1963
Ferreira 1960
Warre 1970
Warre 1958
Fonseca 1948
Taylor 1963

Wine of the night was Cockburn 1927 (4 first place votes), followed by the Fonseca 1948 (1 first place and 3 second place votes). Worst wine of the night was shared between the Ferreira 1960 and the Warre 1958, each with two votes but, as Simon put it, "They were all lovely" and there was a general consensus that none of these wines would be a disappointment if they were opened for a quiet evening's drinking.

It was a great evening and a good chance to catch up with folks after not having drunk any port older than 2 years for what seems like an age.
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2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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SushiNorth
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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by SushiNorth » 15:08 Mon 15 Jun 2009

Is there any feeling, based on this tasting, that ullage below neck level takes a significant toll on port?
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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by uncle tom » 23:47 Mon 15 Jun 2009

Is there any feeling, based on this tasting, that ullage below neck level takes a significant toll on port?
Not really, the best wine of last Xmas's bash had a low shoulder level and the bottle was physically cracked; but I would agree that the risk of a bottle being a disappointment increases with ullage.

~~~

My thanks to Alex for hosting this event again; and to his cat, whose friendly attentions assured that I was up early enough to ensure that much of the washing up was attended to before others had surfaced - however, I do find that washing up in someone else's home is strangely enjoyable!

My apologies also if I was not the life and soul of the party, as blocked sinuses and a roaring tinnitus diminished my senses that night..

..occupational hazard I suppose..!

Tom
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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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by AHB » 11:27 Tue 16 Jun 2009

SushiNorth wrote:Is there any feeling, based on this tasting, that ullage below neck level takes a significant toll on port?
My view is that it certainly does change the nature of the port. What could / should be a fairly young and fruity port can become a faded and elegant port - still extremely enjoyable but one which is very different when compared to the contents of a full bottle. The Noval '31 we tasted last week is probably a fine example of this happening - that was perfectly pleasant but was only a shadow of the legend which we know the wine can be.
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2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: The Leakers, Wokingham, Thursday 11 June 2009

Post by Ghandih » 22:11 Wed 17 Jun 2009

Dear all,

As ever, a rather tardy note from me, to echo the round of thanks to Alex for a fab evening, wonderful ports, cheeses and a triffic barbecue too. I have a few photos but no idea how to upload them - any advice would be appreciated (assuming you'd like to see, for instance, how we got the best bit of a cow on the barbecue in one piece).

The ports had two notable things in common, which would not be expected from such a range of ages. Firstly, as Ben commented, they had a remarkable consistency of colour, with the youngsters (if we can call a port only a year younger than me a youngster) a similar pale brown to the more expected colour of their aged cousins. The other thing was the lack of much fruitiness. I'm a big fan of the knock-out fruit punch of a Fonseca or Taylor, but they bore the same sweet caramel features of the old Cockburn. A couple of the ports had a bit of a stale aroma, but none tasted at all unpleasant. You'd have been perfectly happy to drink any of them, and I was more than delighted to tuck into all of them!!

As mentioned, it was a blind tasting, and I take great pride in having correctly identified a 63 and a 58, though I got the shippers wrong. What is a tiddly bit less impressive is my call on the Cockburn 27, which I put down as a Taylor 70. We didn't compare predictions in total, but I'm fairly happy that no-one was wronger than me. :) If I have a defence, it is that I refer the gentle reader to the previous paragraph, and the fact that none of the ports looked or tasted young, and the 27 was the one I had left to assign when I only had a 70 left with which to match it. I did guess that the 31 was a 27, so that was quite good, wasn't it? No, you're not going to let me off that mistake, are you?

The prediction thing was quite fun, and I'm sort of happy to know that everyone else was as pants as me, more or less. I suspect that that was more because it was hard to tell, than because I'm up there with Derek and Alex and Tom as tasting masters, but I can pretend.

Here's what might be most interesting - the things I'll remember from the evening:
1. Leaky port seems to lose its fruitiness and dark colour, and drift more towards caramelly brownness;
2. Leaky port is (on the basis of this tasting) generally a very pleasant drink, but not necessarily the one you might expect;
3. If you're barbecuing a fillet steak, why not do it in one piece and keep the tenderness in, until you cut it to serve?;
4. Old Croft typically has a flavour of mandarins (case in point - the Warre 58: "oh yes, definitely oranges - that's a Croft" said the experts!);
5. Taylor ports should be recognised by a flavour of violets, and Vargellas is foreign-speak for violets (never knew that!).

I remembered these last two points because I'm trying really hard to get the hang of the characteristic notes of the different shippers (hence my separate urge to organise a 'who is the best shipper' tasting). I wonder whether I might try to convene an informal get together to sample the quintessence of the shippers - so, for example, if Taylor is demonstrated by violets, who has some Taylor ports from a particular case where they've already had more than one bottle and they each particularly showed violetiness? If this may be a runner, I'm sure someone will help me by budding this off into another train.

Finally, for those of us who love our cheeses, what a delight to have Waterloo and Wigmore on the same plate! And What Trouble did I get in the next evening from the missus, for not taking her a little bit of each back?! After a couple of defeats in the last two face-offs, I think the Waterloo had it at Alex's, with a fantastic colour and consistency of rich custard, and a deep flavour of wonderful soft cheese. There were some other lovely cheeses there too, but the Waterloo was King.

Right, enough from me, surely. Alex, thank-you again. Everyone, I hope to see you soon.


Ghandih
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