It has been eight years since Adrian Bridge, Managing Director of the Fladgate Partnership (including Taylor) and Paul Symington, Managing Director of Symington Family Estates (including Graham) last presented a tasting together. The last one was organised by The Wine Society at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall and I recall wanting to be a fly on the wall at the time. This tasting was organised by Bonhams and I was asked to moderate at the event – not that much moderation was needed!
Vintage Port Notes October 2010
Quinta do Noval is perhaps the most emblematic estate in the Douro. Since the property changed hands in 1993, Christian Seely has been, in his own words, ‘putting things right’. He is candid about the past. From 1920 until the late 1960s under the ownership of Luís Vasconcelos Porto the property was subject to ‘very good vineyard management’ but it suffered in the 1970s and 80s and this is reflected in the quality of the wines.
I have never tasted a wine from this vintage before - at least I don't think that I have, 1896 being the closet that I can find in my notes. Michael Broadbent who goes back much futher than I do describes 1897 as 'very good' but it had to take a back seat coming 'hard on the heal's of the 'heavily marketed 1896. 1897 coincided with Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee but only seven shippers declared a vintage. Apparently there was a shortage of spirit following the 1896 vintage and Sandeman fortified their wine with Scotch Whisky!
It’s been quite a week for tasting Port with two 19th century wines that I hadn’t tasted before (see below and next posting). This tawny port ‘masterclass’ led by the Fladgate Partnership’s MD Adrian Bridge was a useful vehicle to demystify the origin and blending of an aged tawny Port. Adrian started by explaining that wine is put aside for 10 and 20 year old tawny every year whereas the wine for 30 and 40 year olds is set aside every 3 or 4 years.