Beware the Ides of March - Tuesday 15th March, London

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Alex Bridgeman
Constantino 1927
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Beware the Ides of March - Tuesday 15th March, London

Post by Alex Bridgeman » 13:12 Sat 19 Mar 2011

On Tuesday 15th March JGH, DRT and I met at El Vino in Fleet Street. Being the first to arrive, I got to choose which of the ports from the El Vino list would be the one served blind to the others. I chose, it was opened and decanted for me.

In addition, I brought a sample bottle of something with me.

So, two challenges were placed before my fellow drinkers. These were:
(1) Is the sample bottle port? Or Port? Or something else? If it is Port, what is it?
(2) What is the vintage port purchased from El Vino (clue: it was not the same as purchased on the last visit)?

The thinking in answer to challenge (1) went along these lines:
*It's pale brown in colour, smells like a tawny or colheita
*It doesn't smell weird, so it's probably Port
*Is it Graham 1961 colheita (with the hope clear in his eyes)?
and when I shook my head, this was followed with
*Is it Dow 1965 colheita?
meanwhile JGH had talked himself out of his initial thought that this was a tawny port and decided it was a vintage Port that was "very old"...but wouldn't commit to the age at which a Port becomes "very old".

It was a sample of Taylor 20 year old tawny that was bottled in 1978 so had had the benefit of 32 years of bottle aging. When DRT put something similar under my nose a few months ago, it confused me utterly because of the mix of barrel aging and bottle aging. I think DRT and JGH both acquitted themselves very respectably.

The vintage Port purchased from El Vino was a rich and dark red. Having been decanted for only an hour when we started drinking, it was quite closed on the nose and showed some heat on the finish, both of which improved with more time in the glass. After sipping, slurping and making appreciative noises the guesses were pretty consistent with DRT guessing Graham 1985 (or perhaps Taylor 1992) and JGH guessing Warre 1985 (or perhaps Warre 1991). It was one of the last two bottles of Fonseca 1970 that were left in El Vino's cellar, where they had lain since being shipped and was in wonderful condition. It didn't really come into its full glory until about 36 hours after it had been decanted.

The other bottle is now in my cellar.
Top Ports in 2020: Croft 1945, Niepoort Garrafeira 1940 and Lamelas 4 Geracoes
Top Ports in 2021 (mid August): Niepoort Bioma 2017, Quevedo 1970 White Colheita

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Fonseca 1966
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Re: Beware the Ides of March - Tuesday 15th March, London

Post by DRT » 01:30 Sun 20 Mar 2011

This was a splendid afternoon/evening. Many thanks are due to Mr B, who was, as ever, generous to a fault.

This long established tradition is one that we have a duty to maintain.

"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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Dow 1980
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Re: Beware the Ides of March - Tuesday 15th March, London

Post by JacobH » 17:24 Tue 22 Mar 2011

Thank you very much for the great generosity. (Though, had AHB not added the helpful ‟clue” that it wasn’t the Fonseca 1977, I think we would have guessed that and been far more respectable!). I’m glad the Fonseca opened up in the end; looking back, I think the lack of decanting time when I tried it was probably quite notable.

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