Graham 55, Fonseca 66, Dow 63, Cockburn 63, Warre 77, RP85

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Graham 55, Fonseca 66, Dow 63, Cockburn 63, Warre 77, RP85

Post by jdaw1 » 02:33 Wed 18 Jul 2007

Taken by Amtrak to Boston’s South Station on Saturday 14th July 2007, I was collected by Sean C. and Moses Botbol and taken to the home of the former. They had decanted Graham 1955, Fonseca 1966, Warre 1977, there was a half bottle of Ramos Pinto 1985, and I had brought Cockburn 1963 and Dow 1963, as well as a pair of vintage-1999 Partagas Lusitanias. Neither a horizontal, nor a vertical, nor a diagonal: just an evening of drinking vintage port and smoking cigars.

But before that their guest started complaining. We cannot do such an evening with two glasses each, occasionally rinsing them to switch beverage! My host (SC) was marched off to Crate and Barrel, wherein he purchased two dozen of their small wine glasses. Via a pizza, we returned to wash and use the new glasses.

Readers will understand my pausing to admire the fridge-size humidor, and—even better—the wine-fridge full of pre-Great War bottles. Very fine.

So, to the notes taken between 7pm and 8½pm-ish.

Graham 1955
From the fine cellars of Sean C., and decanted at 13:30. A perfect colour, lightly brown at the edge and the centre a glorious red. Mixed berries to the nose, no one that I could separately distinguish. To the palate very soft—perfectly aged—and very long. Again mixed berries, and very very long. A great port, and one of the best few I have sampled this year. UncleTomScore = 9-8.

Fonseca 1966
Also from the collection of Sean C., and also decanted at 13:30. Brown-red at centre, perhaps brick-red, though noticeably paler than the G55. Despite being eleven years younger, it looks half a decade older (which probably says more about the Graham). The nose revealed different things at different times to different people, I initially finding white chocolate, then MB locating—to general agreement—caramel, and SC—with MB concurring—maple. The palate was like the nose (white chocolate again for me), though with a slight roughness, which might perhaps have been imperfect decanting. UncleTomScore = 7-6.

Dow 1963
Both the Dow and the Cockburn were part of a mixed lot of port bought by jdaw1 at auction in New York in December 2005, and were decanted at about 5pm. Slightly cloudy, and paler than the previous two bottles; red-brown. Huge alcohol nose, behind the ethanol being lychee. The mouthfeel very heavy, smooth and viscous, with a taste—perhaps the finishing taste—being banana! The finish alas short-to-medium in length, and lacking in weight (“thin†, said somebody). UncleTomScore = 6-5.

Cockburn 1963
Part of the same mixed lot as the Dow, bought 1½ years previously by jdaw1. Decanted at about 5pm. Pale, brown throughout, and slightly cloudy. To the nose brown sugar, “musty† said MB. Maybe lightly-cooked sugar. (Madeira? Oxidisation? Maybe.) The same to taste: maraschino cherry (agreeing with my opinion after the Cockburn vertical held in March 2007), and predominantly sugar. Disappointing: UncleTomScore = 4-4.

Warre 1977
From the Boston collection of Moses Botbol, and decanted at 11:00. Pink! The colour was pink. And the nose of spearmint, with SC—who is presumably more expert in this matter than me—saying “Wrigley†. In the mouth lightly sugary, a mint ending, and good length. Great value for $70! UncleTomScore = 6-6 (though in a head-to-head now, everybody preferred the Dow 1963).

Ramos Pinto 1985
Moses Botbol had opened this bottle a week previously, put half of it into a half-bottle which had been stored in his wine fridge (hence the absence of bottle from picture). Dark purple: not black, but with much more blue and dark than a simple red. The nose slightly off: cheddar, or a Burgundy-style cheese nose, and alcohol. To taste peppery, viscous, heavy, though a short ending. Nothing like as good a bottle as that consumed in March 2007, nor that enjoyed in June 2007. A week is too long a decanting time.

Later in the evening I was given a Montecristo A: a very fine cigar, extremely smooth, and long (9½″). A great smoke, but I think that my preference is for something a little shorter with more bite.

Individual TN threads: 1955 Graham; 1966 Fonseca; 1963 Dow; 1963 Cockburn; 1977 Warre; 1985 Ramos Pinto.
Last edited by jdaw1 on 03:33 Tue 24 Jul 2007, edited 6 times in total.

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Frederick Blais
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Post by Frederick Blais » 03:33 Wed 18 Jul 2007

Nice notes and it is interesting to see those old bottles alongside the color of the Port.

Anyone thinks that the Fonseca was probably not a pristine bottle? I've always read that this wine was still very young with more to say as years are coming.

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Post by mosesbotbol » 15:41 Thu 19 Jul 2007

Frederick Blais wrote: Anyone thinks that the Fonseca was probably not a pristine bottle? I've always read that this wine was still very young with more to say as years are coming.
The '66 Fonseca was at it's prime. It was overshadowed by the '55 Grahams and out performed both 63's.

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Post by Conky » 10:02 Fri 20 Jul 2007

Great read. And I like the style of photographs. Even though different cameras may produce slightly different shades, if you take them like you did, it is easier to see the comparitive colours on the night.
Sounds like you had some Special Port in excellent condition.


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Post by StevieCage » 19:09 Fri 20 Jul 2007

Great notes, and I especially like the pictures of those expertly tonged bottles! 88)

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