1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

What happened?
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Alex Bridgeman
Constantino 1927
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

For the record, the Martinez and Val da Figueira were double-decanted at 19.30 the night before the tasting. Neither appeared faulty at the time.
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Charles, Tony - when did you decant the Vesuvio and Smith Woodhouse?
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Last night's tasting definitely brought a smile to my face. My experience with the 1997 vintage has not been particularly good over the years. When we held our last horizontal in 2014 I found the wines to have an earthiness to the fruit that I disliked and to be surprisingly approachable.

Last night they showed so differently. There was a consistent freshness to the wines, red fruit and high acidity giving a lovely balance. Still showing generous tannins, the tannins are fine-grained and very ripe combining with the fruit and acidity to provide a very nice mouthfeel. Many of the wines are still youthful, with the primary fruit just starting to develop some secondary nuances - at the beginning of their first drinking plateau. None of the bottles consumed yesterday caused me any doubt of their ability to drink very well, or better than today, for the next 20-30 years if cellared well. I will be starting to open and slowly drink my stocks of 1997 very soon.
Top Ports in 2021: Niepoort Garrafeira 1931; Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Cockburn 1969 Single Harvest Tawny

Top Port in 2022 so far: the most stunning bottle of Quinta do Noval Nacional 1931. I have never drunk such a wonderful bottle of Port.
CPR 1
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by CPR 1 »

Alex Bridgeman wrote: 10:40 Wed 25 May 2022 Charles, Tony - when did you decant the Vesuvio and Smith Woodhouse?
The Vesuvio was decanted about 18:30 the night before
winesecretary
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by winesecretary »

First, thanks to nac for arranging with his characteristic thoroughness and also to all of those providing wines.

Second, this was really quite a good tasting, only one of the wines was possibly faulty (Noval Silval) and only three others perhaps a bit tired (Burmester, Osbourne, Sandeman Vau). Everything else - and that's 14 of 18 wines - got points. Without checking, I think only the 1955 horizontal of recent years has achieved a higher proportion than that.

So: most of the wines we tasted I would not be unhappy to own. However: I do not feel that there were any wines that were really wonderful, in the sense that a glass of Fonseca 1985 or Vesuvio 1992 makes my heart sing. So while I will be buying, modestly, to up my very limited stocks of this vintage it will be so that I have an interesting representative range to hand, of a vintage that is now starting to be something of a pleasure to drink, rather than because I fell in love.
PhilW
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by PhilW »

winesecretary wrote: 17:51 Wed 25 May 2022 First, thanks to nac for arranging with his characteristic thoroughness and also to all of those providing wines.
Agreed.
winesecretary wrote: 17:51 Wed 25 May 2022 Second, this was really quite a good tasting, only one of the wines was possibly faulty (Noval Silval) and only three others perhaps a bit tired (Burmester, Osbourne, Sandeman Vau). Everything else - and that's 14 of 18 wines - got points.
Now here I feel I must step in and respectfully point out that the Martinez only received points because you gave it some, and everyone else in the room thought it was faulty, hence the uproar when you gave it a point! :o) (also I didn't note a fault with the Silval, albeit softer and clearly junior to the Noval).

However, Mz aside I do agree that the wines showed well and indeed, for me at least, higher than my expectations. The Dow received general acclaim as the groups WOTN, having received their highest points from 9/14 attendees. Noval was a clear second place, then Warre just a whisker ahead of Gould Campbell, Vesuvio and Graham.
winesecretary wrote: 17:51 Wed 25 May 2022 So: most of the wines we tasted I would not be unhappy to own. However: I do not feel that there were any wines that were really wonderful, in the sense that a glass of Fonseca 1985 or Vesuvio 1992 makes my heart sing. So while I will be buying, modestly, to up my very limited stocks of this vintage it will be so that I have an interesting representative range to hand, of a vintage that is now starting to be something of a pleasure to drink, rather than because I fell in love.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, although there did seem to be some degree of homogeneity; however the wines are really only just starting to enter their drinking window - I would personally suggest leaving for at least another 5-10 years - seeming to follow an ongoing pattern of slower-maturing wines for the last forty years or so compared to prior to that. I think the '97s will show favourably in the longer term.
winesecretary
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by winesecretary »

@ PhilW - I must be becoming even deafer than I thought, I didn't hear the uproar...
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jdaw1
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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jdaw1
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

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jdaw1
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by jdaw1 »

Alex Bridgeman wrote: 10:49 Wed 25 May 2022 Last night's tasting definitely brought a smile to my face. My experience with the 1997 vintage has not been particularly good over the years. When we held our last horizontal in 2014 I found the wines to have an earthiness to the fruit that I disliked and to be surprisingly approachable.

Last night they showed so differently. There was a consistent freshness to the wines, red fruit and high acidity giving a lovely balance. Still showing generous tannins, the tannins are fine-grained and very ripe combining with the fruit and acidity to provide a very nice mouthfeel. Many of the wines are still youthful, with the primary fruit just starting to develop some secondary nuances - at the beginning of their first drinking plateau. None of the bottles consumed yesterday caused me any doubt of their ability to drink very well, or better than today, for the next 20-30 years if cellared well.
This is an excellent summary. The dirtiness of the 2014 tasting has gone. red fruit, good balance, mid+ weight. This is not a top-rank Vintage for the ages. But it is a properly declared good year that will give pleasure for some decades.

The pictures of the glasses might be difficult to parse, because the grey Titles printed so faintly as to be absent. PNGs of the placemats might help:
ImageImage
Mike J. W.
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by Mike J. W. »

I thought I had seen the score sheet previously, but I can't locate it now. Was it removed?
winesecretary
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Re: 1997s, B&F, Tue 24 May 2022

Post by winesecretary »

Can I also add that the circa-45-year-old Exhibition Ale which Tom brought along was absolutely delicious, rich, savoury and full of life and interest, and would have rated at least an HM had it been an option.
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