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A weekend in Porto... continued

I recently spent a weekend in Porto with Douro winemaker Dirk Niepoort. A number of us were gathered to celebrate his 40th, and for most of us the wines we had over these three days represented the best part of a year's worth of drinking experiences all crammed into a weekend. I took notes on almost everything, and I'm reproducing them here for the sake of the record.  

Part 1, Friday can be found here. This is part 2, Saturday. [Part 3, Sunday lunch is here; part 4 Sunday evening is here.] We gathered at the headquarters of Dirk's distribution company, UVA, for some wine tasting. First up were some Rieslings from Markus Schneider, a young winemaker in the Pflaz. My notes from these are written up separately here. After this we were each poured seven different ports - we were going to taste components of the Niepoort 2003 blend, a really interesting experiment which I've also written up separately

After this, it was time for some lunch, which was al fresco at the Marizé Restaurant. Outside by the sea this was a lovely setting, as long as you ignored the refinery about a mile south along the coast. We had a lovely informal lunch washed down with some nice wines, which didn’t seem to suffer at all from being tasted outdoors from rather humble wine glasses. I enjoyed this immensely, especially the last three wines which were all superb. Luis Guitierrez had a small disaster, though, when his chair collapsed beneath him.

Muralhas de Monção Vinho Verde 2003
Fresh, crisp and clean with a slight spritz and subtle herby edge. High acidity makes this a brilliant food wine. Very good+ 86/100

Muros Antigos Alvarinho 2002 Monção Vinho Verde
Slightly spritzy, displaying lovely rounded fruit with a touch of herbiness. Quite rich and really nicely poised. Very good+ 89/100

Antonio Esteves Ferreira Alvarinho Soalheiro 2003
Fresh, crisp, fresh and limey. Lovely density. Fresh and minerally with good acidity. Very good+ 88/100

Poeira 2001 Douro
Wonderful nose is perfumed and spicy with red fruit and cherry notes. The palate is concentrated yet elegant with fine spicy structure and good acidity. Excellent 95/100

Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Riesling Auslese 1995 Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany
Lovely intense limey nose which is expressive and complex. The palate is explosive and rich with good acidity. This is brilliantly poised and has wonderfully fine acidity and structure. Excellent 95/100

Niepoort Garrafeira 1977
Dirk Niepoort says that if vintage Port is Bordeaux, then his Garrafeiras are more like Burgundy. This is a lovely, spicy intense wine full of complexity and showing great balance. Excellent 95/100

After lunch, no time for a snooze, but back to the UVA offices for a tasting of the wines from Austrian winery Schloss Gobelsburg, presented by Michael Moosbrugger (John Crook is pictured right sniffing a Grüner. This tasting is written up separately here.

It was late afternoon by the time we left, but a gap in proceedings allowed for a quick shut-eye before assembling for the grand evening dinner, held at the Bull and Bear restaurant. This was a very special multi-course event with a crowd of about 40 wine-trade associated people. The wines were quite stunning, too - most out of magnums or even double magnums. Dirk and his wife Dorli have just had a baby girl, Anna - her pram came in useful in transporting some of these large-sized bottles from the car to the restaurant, a scene of great comic value. The food was superb, and the wines were well chosen to match the many courses, and I doubt that my notes do them proper justice.

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese AP 15 1995 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
Lovely fresh limey nose is expressive, minerally and piercing. The palate shows lemony, grapefruity fruit withsome melony richness. Very precisely defined with minerally acidity. Very good/excellent 93/100

Deutz Blanc de Blancs 1993 Champagne (from double magnum)
Intense, fresh, slightly herby character, with nice toastiness. Tiny bit green but very nice indeed. Very good/excellent 91/100

Gerard Duplessis Chablis 1er Cru Monte de Tonnerre 1989 Burgundy, France (Magnum)
Lovely rounded nutty nose with some minerality. Palate is rounded, minerally and nutty. Very smooth with some evolution: classic and evolved. Very good/excellent 92/100

Michel Juillot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 1993 Burgundy, France (Magnum)
Very bready nose – baked bread and toast. The palate is smooth and nutty with a mineralic streak. Lots of oak but its nicely integrated and quite developed. Nice delineation of flavour. Very good/excellent 94/100

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 1996 Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (double magnum)
Very refined intense nose showing lovely definition: piercing acidity at one end and classy, tight vanilla oak notes at the other. Very taut refined palate with fresh, bright fruit and toasty oak. Minerally finish. Very good/excellent 91/100

Moscatel de Favaios 1900 Douro
Lovely fresh orangey, marmaladey nose. The palate is spicy and rich with powerful woody notes, some caramel and fudge, together with lovely acidity offsetting the sweetness. Very good/excellent 92/100

Domaine de Chevalier 1996 Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (double magnum)
Very expressive perfumed, cedary, minerally, chalky nose showing ripe blackcurrant fruits. The palate is classic, minerally, leafy-edged and savoury. Light and expressive, this is a terroir wine rather than a blockbuster. Very good/excellent 90/100

Château Angélus 1966 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (Magnum)
Lovely open, evolved nose showing notes of leather and herbs. The palate is smooth with savoury, spicy structure and smooth tannins. A complex old wine that is subtle and elegant. Very good/excellent 92/100

Château Lynch-Bages 1986 Pauillac (Magnum)
A bold, firm wine with a hint of undergrowth. Tight, slightly spicy herby nose with some tarry notes. The palate shows tight-knit spicy fruit with firm structure and lots of tannin. Less pleasurable than the 1988 at the moment, but bigger. Very good/excellent 91/100

Château Lynch-Bages 1988 Pauillac (Magnum)
Very rich, powerful nose of blackcurrant and herbs. Complex and alluring. The palate is rich and expressive with lovely herby, spicy black and red fruits. Drinking nicely now. Very good/excellent 93/100

Porta dos Cavaleiros Reserva Seleccionada 1974 Dão (Magnum)
Intense, spicy open nose with old leathery notes. The palate is firm, savoury and spicy, showing dusty tannic structure. Chewy and spicy, this is a good food wine. Vvery good+ 88/100

Vega Sicilia Único 1970 Ribera del Duero, Spain (Magnum)
Quite an evolved nose: distinctly herby and spicy. The palate is quite intense with high acid and herby, spicy fruit. This is a complex old wine: it’s a little challenging and tastes older than I thought it would (I’ve had this once before about five years ago). Very good/excellent 90/100

Vinícola do Vale do Dão Reserva 1975 Dão (Magnum)
Old wine nose. Very savoury and spicy on the palate but a bit dried out. Nicely savoury but too old and dried out. Good 74

Tapada de Coelheiros Garrafeira 1996 Alentejo, Portugal (Magnum)
A blend of Aragones and Cabernet Sauvignon. Good concentration of savoury, chewy, herby spicy red fruits with assertive tannins and acidity. There’s an earthiness on the finish. Structured. Very good+ 88/100

Château Climens 1985 Barsac-Sauternes (Magnum)
Lovely intense nose of fresh lemon and marmalade fruit – very bright. The palate is brilliantly balanced with superb weight and texture together with good acidity holding the sweetness in brilliant tension. Excellent 95/100

Fonseca Vintage Port 1970 (Magnum)
Very spicy with firm tannins and high acidity. Lively and complex with some herby complexity. Very good/excellent 93/100

Niepoort Party Port NV (2.15 l)
This is a 20 year old tawny that has been aged for 30 years in bottle. Originally the 'Party Port' was sold to Denmark in these unusual 2.15 litre bottles, but some of the bottles were left over and so they were filled with 20 year old tawny. Nutty, spicy nose leading to a soft, spicy palate with some raisiny richness and caramel and fudge notes. Unusual and nice. Very good/excellent 91/100

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Langhe GoldKapsel Fuder 9 1998 Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany (Magnum)
Wonderfully complex nose of lemon, lime and spice. The palate shows an explosive breadth with high acidity and spicy, melony fruit. Brilliantly defined and pure, with lots of expression. Nice balance between the sweetness and the acidity. Excellent 95/100  

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