jamie goode's wine blog: Passionate about Port

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Passionate about Port

Normal tasting has resumed. I can smell again. Perhaps not perfectly, but then who smells perfectly all the time? Our physiological apparatus likely changes daily in subtle ways without us realising it. Tonight's tipple is a Single Quinta Vintage Port. It's Cockburn's Quinta dos Canais 1998, which is a good wine from a dodgy year. the Quinta is in the Douro Superior (it's pictured above, from my July visit to the Douro) and although Cockburn's purchased it relatively recently (1989), it forms the heart of their vintage Ports.

I like Port a good deal. It's quite hard to learn to taste Port well (in this respect, it's a bit like Champagne - you need to practice lots, which is no hard task). The key is not to be fooled by the fruit or the sweetness, but to look a little deeper, to the structure (at least when you are evaluating serious wines) .

This one shows good concentration, lots of fruit, and a lovely spicy tannic structure. There's nice definition and freshness to the fruit, with a fair bit of spicy complexity. It's rich and quite tarry, showing some evolution. It descends towards a fudgey, spicy, almost raisiny richness on the finish. I reckon this is a reasonably serious wine, but one that needs to be drunk sooner rather than later. It's quite perfumed, and for this reason I'd recommend it as a wine that will give lots of pleasure, but only if it's drunk relatively soon (in the next three years - my wild prediction is that beyond this it will descend into soft, spicy anonymity). I'd score it 92/100 for current drinking.

In comparison with the Noval Unfiltered LBV 2000, which has been open a few days, this shows more ooomph and richness (by a whisker), but the Noval has a lifted, floral aromatic character and fruit freshness that this wine lacks.

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