For anyone nearing a fiftieth birthday, I have the sad news that 1968 was no great shakes as a vintage. According to Michael Broadbent, Bordeaux was ‘atrocious’, Burgundy and the Rhone were ‘poor’ (the Hospices de Beaune auction was cancelled) and Champagne doesn’t even get a mention. Port, Madeira (or perhaps California) are just about the only places where 1968 was not a write-off. In the Douro conditions were far from ideal. A late spring flowering was followed by a hot, dry summer then heavy rain fell just before harvest led to some rot.