Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

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AHB
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Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by AHB » 16:23 Fri 11 Mar 2011

A fun blind tasting last night, where we were looked after very well once more - and when I was reminded that if we want rib-eye on the bone we can order them in advance when we book the room!

It was a little confusing, with people dropping in, turning up late and leaving early, but all told there were 8 attendees who covered 12 bottles. The wines tasted were:
Graham 1980
Smith Woodhouse 1991
Vale Dona Maria 2003
Cavadina 1990
Colmaça 2003
Dow's Icon Reserve NV
Martinez 1970
Osborne 2005 LBV
Fonseca Guimaraens 1991 (from half bottle)
Croft 1982
Noval 1991

Of these 12 different ports, 8 were completely new to me. I can't remember when was the last time that I tried 8 new ports at an offline. Great fun!

I came to the conclusion that the 1991 ports are surprisingly forward and might be worth moving up the order on my drinking list. Apart from the corked Noval, these were all mature, secondary and very clearly ready for drinking. My WOTN was the Smith Woodhouse 1991 but the Martinez 1970 claimed the majority vote for that position.

The Dow's Icon Reserve was surprisingly good and generally well liked. The Colmaça was as tight as a duck's armpit and was just totally shut down and brutally tannic - who knows what that will turn out like? The Vale Dona Maria really impressed me and had a fabulous balance of sweet fruit and firm structure.

I do love these informal, blind, offlines.

Tom came up with a great idea for a future offline - a single blind offline where everyone participating knows which wines are being tasted but not which wine is in which glass. The challenge is then to match glass to wine and see how good we really are!

What a great idea!
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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JacobH
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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by JacobH » 11:57 Tue 15 Mar 2011

The other thing I particularly like about these tasting is how often we end up with a little theme emerging with (including a glass of Churchill 1991 from the bar) four 1991s and one 1990. Rather reinforced my view of that vintage, though, I’m afraid, with rather fast-maturing lacklustre Ports. Perfectly drinkable but rather underwhelming.

My favourite of the night was the Croft 1982. Packed full of toffee and burnt sugar, this is exactly the sort of Port I like and I must keep an eye out for some.

I enjoyed the two independent quinta Ports which Chris bought along. The Colmaça 2003 is drier and more austere than any Port I’ve tasted before; quite extraordinary. What really strikes me, thinking about it now, is the improvement in quality that we have seen over the last 20 years with single-quinta and independent Ports. The Roriz 1991 was pleasant, possibly a bit Douro-baked, and quite quick-maturing, whilst the Colmaça and Vale Dona Maria were both deep, robust wines, easily mistakable for major shipper’s products. I was reminded of tasting the Vesuvio releases where the oldest offerings were very much like the Roriz and the more recent ones like the two 2003s; I think it must be possible to produce better wines in more places in the Douro and in more years than before.
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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by jdaw1 » 23:36 Tue 15 Mar 2011

Please would those present post tasting notes.

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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by JacobH » 11:52 Wed 16 Mar 2011

May we have a 1991 Quinta da Roriz thread, please?

For the purposes of the accuracy of the database, should the Colmaça and Vale Dona Maria be renamed Quinta da Colmaça and Quinta Vale Dona Maria?
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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by jdaw1 » 12:05 Wed 16 Mar 2011

JacobH wrote:May we have a 1991 Quinta da Roriz thread, please?
You have requested Quinta da Roriz. AHB had already created a thread for the 1991 Quinta do Roriz. I have added links to 1991 Quinta de Roriz.

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RAYC
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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by RAYC » 16:25 Thu 24 Mar 2011

Enjoyable evening, the Martinez '70 was great and one to keep an eye out for at the right price, and I'm siding with Jacob on the Croft '82 - I thought this was a lovely port and the second '82 provided by WS1 in recent months that has punched far above the perceived weight of the vintage (the first, here).

The WOTN votes had these two out front by a country mile, with the Mz just nipping it. SW91 an honourable mention in third.

The '91s as a group are intriguing - personally I think there's a bit more pleasure to be had in the '92s but would agree with AHB's and Jacob's assesments that these are suprisingly mature now and offer some perfectly pleasant drinking. Plus, when widely available from £20 - £35, can represent great QPR (though none of the ports featured on the 91 line-up at this tasting matched the '91 de la Rosa tasted a couple of weeks earlier

On a personal note, the Graham '80 was a big disappointment. A good bottle can, in my opinion, be spectacular, and I was not in the least suprised to hear via comments below the line on a Malvedos blog article that Charles Symington rates it above the '77 and up with the '70. If anyone knows of a "tried and trusted" source for this wine with impeccable provenance, please feel free to pm me discreetly!
Rob C.

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RAYC
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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by RAYC » 18:38 Thu 24 Mar 2011

There was also a bet made, for a "serious bottle of port", between THRA and me.

THRA was convinced that the 1992 Niepoort was the tercentenary bottle.

I was convinced that the 1992 Niepoort was the bicentenary bottle.

Turns out that Niepoort has being going as an independent business since 1842 and this was their 150 yr "Jubilee" port. So we were both wrong (though, i must point out, one was more wrong than the other....).
Rob C.

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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by jdaw1 » 19:23 Thu 24 Mar 2011

The word wanted was ‟sesquicentennial”.

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RAYC
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Re: Thursday March 10th, Crusting Pipe, London

Post by RAYC » 19:38 Thu 24 Mar 2011

No doubt - tell that to Dirk!

See writing just below shoulder of Niepoort 1992 bottle.

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EDIT: clearer picture of bottle here
Rob C.

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