Harvey's 1897

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! This wine, bottled in Bristol by Harveys was served blind at dinner following the Taylor - Graham comparative tasting. Despite the august company present at dinner not one person was close to guessing the correct year, all of us putting it well into the twentieth century. My guess for what it's worth was 1934. There is no record of who produced this wine for Harveys.

Harvey's 1897 ****

Pale amber-tawny colour; high-toned, lifted but still susrprisingly fresh with a rather lovely tea leaf character on the nose, not maderised despite its age; still sweet and fresh on the palate, delicate, verging on fragile with a dry finish and a candied citrus tang. A touch of mustiness on the finish perhaps but lovely and still very drinkable. 18  

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