Returning from my 54th consecutive day of toil in 2013, i was delighted to discover a care package containing three samples of 77 port (Dow, Graham, Warre) had been delivered courtesy AHB. Labels indicate that these were opened on Thursday, meaning a 48-60 hour decant.
Making use of coloured headbands, these ports were decanted unsighted into three glasses for a semi-blind tasting.
all quite similar in colour, none obviously corked on the nose...none particularly spiritous...so no immediate way of picking the Dow and Graham.
Port 1 - Orange headband: Some age to nose, though still lovely and fresh red fruit. Initial impact on palate is sweet but - if critical - slightly hollow and flat, though flavour builds thereafter with a citric mid-palate bite leading to a long cough mixture finish full of pleasant heat. This is good port. Combination of heat and sweetness make me think Graham.
Port 2 - Blue headband: smells like mature port, hint of sweet strawberry fields makes me think Warre. Really very inviting. mid-weight, with flavoursome red liquorice and cranberry dryness and at finish (actually...is this Dow?). Disappears a bit at end, though in a way that invites another sip. Glass soon emptied. Not as strong overall as Port 1, but the nose was beautiful. Warre / Dow.
Port 3 - white headband: similar to Port 2....both in nose and flavour - same dryness - but this seems somewhat bigger with much more complexity and persistence at the finish, lovely peppery aftertaste that leaves a long tingling in the tongue and cheeks. Yum. WOTN. Blind i could imagine guessing this as Taylor.
Port 1: revealed to be Graham
Port 2: revelaed to be Warre
Port 3: revealed to be Dow
Conclusions: I'd be more than happy to have any of these in my cellar - particularly the Dow if it could reliably taste like this! I didn't get the feeling with any of these that they need a massive amount of extra time. That said, i'm sure they'll continue to drink well for two or three decades.
Very many thanks to AHB!