firstly apologies that it took so long for me to write a review for the 1980 horicontal in Leverkusen. Special thank you to Rob who despite suffering from a bad cold helped to arrange the place mates/tasting sheets, decanting and pouring the ports. Furthermore big thanks to Axel for transporting and opening the ports and to Julian for providing the placemats.
With regards to the tasting itself I was very happy that there was no corked bt and all ports showed beautifully!
In addition for the tasting all ports stood up in Axels cellar for approximately 6 weeks before the tasting. There were all opened early in the morning of the tasting (~7:00 AM GMT 2nd of March) and then gently transported to the Bayercasino. All ports were transported to Axel's cellar one year in advance except for the Ramos Pinto. Due to various experiences with 1980s vintage ports Axel and I decided to decant several vintage ports for a couple of hours before pouring into the glasses. Due to shortage of decanters we could only do this for Dow, Niepoort, Warre, Grahams, Quarles Harris, Taylor, Sandemann and Smith Woodhouse. These were decanted at ~10:00 AM and poured ~2:00 PM. All the ports were poured into the glasses beetween 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM.
IMHO the vintage ports from 1980 we had in this tasting can be put into two categories, one category being by far too young for consumption and another being on their peak or even slightly over it and should be drunk.
1980 vintage ports to keep: Dow, Warre, Grahams, Taylor, Ramos Pinto, Niepoort, Quarles Harris, Gould Campell, Smith Woodhouse, Calem da Foz and Sandeman.
1980 vintage ports which should be drunk: Nacional, Fonseca, Offley, Ferreira, Borges, Messias, Real Companhia Velha, Delaforce da Corte and Croft da Roeda.
Interestingly a couple of ports from the "to keep" section seem to be closed or very restrained even after extensive decanting e.g. Grahams, Smith Woodhouse and Quarles Harris. From the ports in the "should drunk section" the Delaforce da Corte and the Offley suprised me most. Good ports! Fonseca (good bt!) and Nacional were as expected a bit disappointing. Despite not really bad ports the price tag moves them into a "toxic bracket".
I remember bringing one of the two bts of Borges 1980 I purchased two years ago to an offline which showed not very good at all. After this experience I was a bit worried for this tasting but the bt for the tasting was actually not bad at all. The three least performing ports were in chronologcal order Messias, Real Companhia Velha and the Borges.
The best port for me of the tasting was Dow. Brilliant stuff! As a suprise second was Ramos Pinto. This is very, very good vintage port indeed!
If someone wants to open these days e.g. a Warre, Taylor etc. please open and decant them at least for 6 hours before consumption. Magnums can be easily consumed over days if patience is existent
With regards to sourcing the most interesting bt of the tasting was Calem da Foz which I reimported from Japan (via ship in the appropiate time). The bt was perfectly stored in Japan and showed very similar to bts puchased by Axel and me in Portugal (based on Axels verdict). The Nacional was from a trustworthy source in Switzerland (perfect storage).
The most difficult ports to source were Ramos Pinto, Ferreira and Sandeman. Thanks a lot to Joao Machete for providing the 1980 Ramos Pinto from their cellars.
For dinner we had a a magnum of white (2007 Weissburgunder, Weingut Allram) and red wine (2003 Cuvee X, Weingut Knipser) which also both were very good.