A first Smith Woodhouse 1966 ?

Smith Woodhouse 1966  ****

I can't recall the last time I tasted this wine. In fact looking through my newly computerised wine tasting data base I cannot find any any reference to Smith Woodhouse 1966 which suggests that I have never tasted the wine before: mid-deep brick red with a tawny rim; fine, focused and perfumed with the spirit showing through but still quite fresh; quite big, spicy yet elegant, milk chocolate (rather than the classic dark chocolate) concentration, still with a firrm core, quite sweet, almost crystalised in style but just starting to dry out on the finish. Another lovely wine from a lovely vintage.  17.5

Addendum: this wine was bottled by the Wine Society at Stevenage following its move from London in 1965. It was customary to roll the pipe up and down the yard immediately before bottling to 'rouse the wine'. According to Mark Buckenham who now looks after the Society's Port purchases and used to manage the Society's bottling, this served to 'spread the lees' so that every bottle received its share for the sediment in the cask. By no means all UK bottlers did this and it would be interesting to know what effect this had on the wine (The Wine Society's bottling of Vintage Port is consistently good, often better than than Oporto bottling).  There would be two pipes of each wine and the sight of Johnny Hider and Fred Wooley rolling the casks up and down the yard in front of the Society's cellars were met with looks of astonishment from passers by on the dual carridgeway of the new industrial estate. The wine would then be bottled by hand, be hand corked and sealed by Fred Wooley who carried a paint can of wax.    

Location: The Wine Society, Stevenage, Herts.

Scoring

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