Quinta do Noval 2013 Vintage Port

Don’t you just love eccentric declarations? We’re talking Vintage Port here. It used to be so solemn and predictable: three declarations a decade, from the very best years, agreed in a gentlemanly fashion over a long lunch at the Factory House (or, at least, that’s how it seems from the outside). Now Quinta do Noval [...]

Video: Cockburn's Port Bicentenary Tasting

Here’s a film from the recent Cockburn’s Port Bicentenary tasting, held in London. It involved a range of Ports from Cockburn’s glory days to the present day, including a couple of rare pre-phylloxera bottles. The Symingtons purchased Cockburn’s in 2006 and their aim is to restore this Port house – which for a long time [...]

Kopke Colheita Ports back to 1941

Colheitas are single vintage Tawny Ports (that is, Ports that have been aged for a long time in large oak barrels, rather than bottled after a few years and aged in bottle), and Kopke are specialists with this style of Port. They have good stocks of old Colheitas which they bottle on order, and the [...]

Some more pictures from the road

Some more pictures from the road. I’m now back from the quick Spain and Portugal trip, but I thought I’d share these. First of all, a couple of pictures from the brief stop in Ribeiro, the region inland from Rias Baixas that is a hot spot for the Treixadura grape variety.

Next, a shot of the [...]

The wine boats of the Douro river

This is a great film. It’s titled ‘The wine boats of the Douro river’, and it represents a very different Douro than that of today, shot in 1923. This was before the Douro was dammed in the late 1960s/early 1970s with five different dams, which converted it from a sometimes rather wild river into the [...]

Two from Portugal: Vale Meão 2005 and Casa de Mouraz Elfa 2010

Portugal is a wonderful wine country, and one that I’ll be focusing on a bit this year, after having let it suffer mild neglect at my hands. Here are two lovely wines. One, a leading Douro red with almost a decade’s bottle age, and the other a distinctive field blend from Dão.

Casa de Mouraz Elfa [...]

Sandeman Vau Vintage Port 2003

I remember the excitement of discovering that Oddbins were selling the 1997 version of this wine for just £5 for a half bottle back in 2001. This was in the early days of wineanorak, and I recall drinking quite a few of these. Now the 2003 vintage (a very good one for Port) is being [...]

Altano Organic Douro Red 2012, a brilliant bargain

This is a brilliant bargain! It’s a grown-up, proper Douro red for less than a tenner. The Symingtons are the largest organic farmer in the Douro with 126 hectares of organic vines (clearly, there is some way to go in a region with around 36 000 hectares – the chief problem is weed control on [...]

Wine & Culinary forum: the Primum Familiae Vini tasting

The Primum Familiae Vini are an association of top European wine domaines, and we were treated to a tasting of some of their wines, presented by Christophe Brunet, wine ambassador of the PVF and Fiona Beckett, food and wine journalist. They were providing the chat, with Fiona’s brief being suggesting suitable pairings for the wines. [...]

Some remarkable older wines: 1937 Noval Colheita, 1975 Deutz and a 1919 Sherry

Three nice older bottles opened at the Gonzalez Byass 10th anniversary dinner last week:

Champagne Deutz Blanc de Noir 1975 France (magnum)
This Pinot Noir comes from Grand Cru Aÿ, and the wine was resting on lees for 37 years before bottling in 2012. A yellow colour, this has a taut citrus nose with subtle pear and [...]