Saturday 9 April 2005, Sixth Avenue, in the company of ODM, AJRH, APPW and SRG. A boys’ evening before a wedding. We started with excellent steak and kidney pie, the rhubarb crumble and custard being delayed until after we had tasted Noval 1945, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1985; Nacional 1966; Dow 1963; and Fonseca 1963 (placemats).
Noval 1945: decanted just before. Cloudy, sharp. ODM “acetone”. Too old. AJRH: “most Ports fade; this one has gone bitter”. Ten minutes later the foulness cleared, showing a little honey, but unambiguously faded.
Noval 1960: fine, sweet, and honied, soft, though lacking fruit. Past its prime.
Nacional 1966: my favourite. Spice, fire and strength. Still somewhat closed (another five years?). Long long long. Truly excellent.
Noval 1966: lighter than the Nacional, but fine. ODM found celery. Perhaps too light to be great.
Noval 1963: light, feminine, lacking fruit. Some of the N60’s honey, but not a patch on the (alas deceased) Queens’ bottling.
Fonseca 1963: magnificent. Rich and long, though without the spice of the Nacional 1966. Second favourite.
Dow 1963: memorably described by APPW as “soft furnishings offset with minimalism”. For me candy (marzipan?) in nose, and pear-drop ketones.
Noval 1970: dry to tongue and taste.
Noval 1985: not liked by me. Plasticky smell.
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