Portwine tasting of the 1970s decade

During Port Wine Day, on the 10th of September, I was invited to this masterclass. The subject was Portwine from the 1970s decade. The tasting was conducted by the highly acclaimed Technical Director from IVDP Mr. Bento Amaral. The 1970s was a decade with only few declared Vintage Port vintages. 1970, 75 and 77. Normally we only have 3 in a decade, so this set the decade in the “normal” category. We had the pleasure of tasting very different types of Port, so to declare an overall winner would not be fair. We had classic Vintage Port and Colheitas, as expected. The fun came in with a Golden White Tawny and an exceptional Garrafeira. So we ended up tasting 16 different bottles in four categories.

DSC_0963We were given very good impressions on the weather in the different vintages, but I did not note that down. Let’s say that except for 70, 75 and 77 the weather was too cold, too wet and just not good enough. A decade where the good wines will come from the good winemaker. Heaven was not on the port producers team then. Taken the difficult decade in consideration, IVDP had done a tremendous job finding interesting Portwines for us to taste. Thank you to IVDP for the oorganisation of this tasting.

Here are my notes from the tasting,

DSC_09651970 Sandeman, Vintage Port, MG – 1790 established. Nuts, almonds, milk chocolate. Fresh acidity and nice red fruit. Elegant style in the glass. Strange, unexpected, indian spices. Cinnamon and sweet basil. Medium persistence with good intensity. Falling a little short in the end, but well made wine.

1970 Graham’s, Vintage Port – more power, pebbery notes and dark balsamico. Dried tomatoes, Balanced sweetness and very juicy. The acidity gives pleasure and freshness. A combination of fresh blackberries sweet tobacco and again the balsamic notes. A lot of wood, like cedar. More body, but lacking elegance.

1970 Ramos Pinto, Vintage Port – pines, spice and dark brown fruit. Figs and some nice raisins. Sweet and metallic and not really charming. Hard and a bit more heavy, not elegant. Alcohol too dominant, and makes the wine hard in the finish.

DSC_09661971 Dalva, Golden White Colheita, bottled 2015 – only current release from 1971. No VP produced this year. Golden nectar with notes of almonds and sweet nuts. Very nice flowers and an extreme creamy texture. Freshness growing up and building complexity. The oak is well beatifull integrated. Clean acidity that keeps this hanging for a great high five! I love this, because I love the freshness. Amazing finish that just keep on rolling.

1972 Graham’s, Single Harvest, Colheita, bottled 2015 – completely clean and very red fruit, high intensity and high acidity. A little hard on the woody character, but smooting out to more chocolate aromas. Orange peel and spicy cinnamon notes coming in from the side. Adding comllexity and this just develops into a more complex and lovely wine. The intensity, and the power, is working alongside the elegance in this wine. A great showing.

1973 is not declared, only 2 Colheitas, but not commercially available at the moment. As this is the year of the writer; I’m disappointed.

1974 Barros, Colheita, bottled 2015 – alcohol and sweet citrus peel on the nose. Light color, that also gives a light intensity on the nose. Aromas of tropical fruit; pineapple and banana. Some spices and then leathery notes and tobacco. Clean fruit and low acidity, easy to drink and finish of with some toffee and caramel. You can find more caramel if the Port is matured in the warmer Douro, instead of the colder Gaia/Porto, which will give more orange peel.

1974 Quevedo, Colheita, bottled in 2013 – very light color, because Quevedo used to harvest higher on the mountains. Vinificated in the same way as their Vintage Port. This has matured in the valley. Nose is very oxidized and has notes of heavy black tobacco. Rustic with burnt caramel on the palate. A little bit clumsy and not that elegant, but with high intensity. Interesting and a very good developing finish.

DSC_09681975 Ferreira, Vintage Port – old classy wine. Starts with a bit of bret, but that blows of. Showing intens deep fruit character and good balance between sweetness and acidity. Stands strong, with a nice persistence. Will maybe not develop for many years, but is very good now. A little hard tannins. A very nice wine, when it gets the time to wake up.

DSC_09671975 Dalva, Colheita, bottled 2015 – very fresh style where several citrusfruits play in. Mandarin, lime and peach. This is intensity and balance, but in the fresh elegant way. Not with great mouthfeel, just sweet and elegant.

1976 Pocas, Colheita, bottled 2014 – expressive nose with sweet coconut and vanilla. Flowers and spices coming up. Precise and very clear fruit. The acidity is clear and intens. The wine kind of gets a bit narrow on the palate. Short and a little burnt, not that good.

1976 Krohn, Colheita – complex nose, here it’s more than just fruit. Here is tobacco and the nice dark chocolate. So balanced and still very big, with wood in your tongue. Fruit powers forward and cleans away the woody character. Good body and very persistent in all ways. A fantastic Colheita. Still developing on the finish, comes roling with the combination of fresh fruit and dried spices. Love it!

DSC_09701977 Rozes, Vintage Port – off notes, a little corked…

1977 Niepoort, Garrafeira, 1982 decanted to demi johns, bottled 2007 – closed on the nose, but then it comes around. Intense fruit with red fruit notes. Very high intensity that comes smacking down your alley. Very elegant on the palate and then it just opens up with all kinds of red fruit and complex spices. Here you will find figs along slightly cooked strawberries and rhubarb. Extreme wine, that just keeps growing. Wow, this is as good as I expected. This is a reference point for the Garrafeira style of Port.

DSC_09711978 Quinta do Noval, Vintage Port – MG – wow, this is charming right out of the glass. So fruity and precise. Creamy structure with sweet sappy fruit. Elements in balance, where the pebber mix with the dark fruit. A bottle that made a lasting impression. Must say that this showed the good combination of matured Vintage Port, where the fruit was still alive.

1978 Kopke, Colheita – classic Colheita style. Nuts and almonds, transferring to sweet dried fruit. Figs and abricot. Not very intens, but nice and fresh style. Comes up a little short, after that amazing Noval 78. Holder en god finesse og renhed, men mangler lidt dybde. Alcohol is persistent, but fruit fades away.

1979 Messias, Vintage Port – dark brown leather color. Unclear. Old dades and figs. Oxidated notes, lack of intensity.

Overall a very interesting tasting, that showed huge diversity in the wines of this decade.

I was invited to participate in Port Wine Day, and this tasting, by the IVDP (Portwine institute). Thank you.

If you want to read more about the different styles in Portwine, please read my Guide to Portwine here in Danish.