Port Forum: Blind Tasting of Vintage Ports (and 1952 Colheita)

For some reason it has taken me over a year to post these notes form a tasting that I undertook at the end of the day after the Big Fortified Tasting in London. The wines were tasted blind and my palate was more than a  bit jaded at the time so make allowance for this in the notes I am posting here. There was also a high indidence of faulty wines.

I am very grateful to member of the Port Forum for inviting me to this tasting. The wines are listed in the order they were submitted.

At the end of the tasting, Johnny Symington presnted Graham's 1952 Colheita.  

Noval 1965 Crusted

Apparently 1/3 of this wine is make from 1962 Nacional: mid-deep brick red centre. thin browning rim; lifted, strange TCP aromas, mouthballs and slighty musty; soft, rich and very sweet with a strange edge to it, some grip remaining leading to a rather dry finish. An oddball, very hard to give a mark to. 

Sandeman 1966 ****

Mid –deep youthful hue, touch of brown on the rim; lovely, open, floral perfume, scented, petals; still firm, fresh and tight knit, very pure berry fruit, retaining richness and depth. Complete   17

Warre 1966 ****

Mid-deep youthful colour, pinkish rim; fine, fragant, again very pure, youthful berry fruit; rich and round with firm tannic backbone lasting right the way through to the finish. Very good indeed. 18

Warre 1963

Mid-deep centre, browning round the rim; rustic aromas, cigar box character with lovely pure fruit underlying; a certain boxiness about the flavour, possibly slightly corked, quite rich with dark chocolate concentration, firm and well structured with tannins dominating on the finish. No mark awarded. 

Dow 1960  ****

Mid-deep centre, thin browning rim; ripe, sweet an opulent in style both on the nose and palate, plenty of berry fruit, rich with plenty of depth and structure remaining. A real surprise as I though that this wine would be tiring by now. 17.5

Niepoort 1977 ****

Mid-deep colour, thin browning rim; barley sugar nose, very opulent and open; soft. sweet and succulent initially with good firm tannic backbone mid palate and on the finish, rich sweetness lingering.  17

Quinta do Noval 1975

Good colour, mid-deep centre with a browning rim; funky, volatile nose, volatility dominates fruit throughout, some sweetness mid-palate, but the wine falls away fast. 8

Sandeman 1963 

Quite pale, brick red with a pink rim; flat, baked and oxidized on the nose, leathery, dry with a burnt finish. Clearly a bad bottle. No mark

Dow 1960 ****  

Another Dow 1960 submitted to this blind tasting: very good, mid-deep colour, still quite youthful; lovely firm, tight knit aromas with more to give; rich opulent, dense fruit, big and well structured, deep, dense and succulent on the finish. Another very pleasant surprise and better, if anything than, the pervious sample. 18         

Graham 1952 Colheita **** / *****

Deep amber mahogany colour; lifted liquorice-like aaromas, very rich and concentrated, sweet and intense, still very fresh with crystalised and candied fruit, retaining just a vestige of tannic grip, verging on unctuous, rich but zesty oragae and lime marmalade finish. A very fine old colheita, beautifully kept. Just under 6 pipes in total, bottled for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.   18.5 

Location: The Bung Hole, London


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