I attended the most fabulous dinner tonight at the The Banqueting House in Whitehall to celebrate 60 Years of the Institute of Master's of Wine. We began by drinking Bollinger from magnums in the undercroft (the drinking den of James I) then climbed the stairs to dine below a ceiling painted by Rubens. It was all rather magnificent including the wines: among the line up were Chateau Margaux 1999, Ridge Monte Bello 1990, Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron 1988 and Cockburn’s 1955 Vintage Port. There were some amusing speeches (and some less so) as well as spirited speech from Sarah Morphew Stephen; the first lady Master of Wine to pass the examination back in 1976. Her first experience of the wine trade was in Portugal with Ramos Pinto (having been turned down by the Symington family because she was a woman) and she speaks Portuguese so we have long been kindred spirits. Anyway this entry in my blog / Port notes is going to turn into a rather ungrateful rant, not because of sexism in the wine trade but because of the size of wine glasses. From the Bollinger to a delicious 1989 Vendage Tardive Gewurztraminer from Humbrecht, we drank from copious, high quality glasses (they may have been Riedel). But when the Port was served it came in a small, thick thimble-sized liqueur glass that might be suitable for a glass of Baileys in a pub but not for a venerable and, as it turned out, very beautiful vintage Port. When will even the best of institutions learn to treat good Port like the wine that it is rather than a liqueur which it isn’t?
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty