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Thread: Vintage Port

  1. #11
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    Thanks Gary, I stand corrected. Leslie and I do enjoy port a lot, but we typically buy just the standard ruby and tawney offerings from the different wineries, as we may not drink a bottle fast enough to risk purchasing an expensive vintage or well-aged product. I did have a 20yo Dow at Postrio's in San Francisco that I thought was outstanding.
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  2. #12
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    IIRC, vintage prots spend 2 years in barrels before hitting the bottle then sitting in the warehouse to age until considered ready to sell, though not neccesarily ready to drink, whereas tawnies spend their entire life in wood before being bottled ready to drink. Their is another harder to come by version called a colheita(sp?), it is a vintage dated tawny, sometimes considered the best of the ports, spending its enitre life in barrels, but culled from a single vintage-I guess you could call this the BIB of ports, when most tawnies would be more of a small batch style with a minimum age for the wine stated on the bottle, yet the possibility to mix in older stock to reach a desired profile. I believe that for whiskey drinkers who like some wood in the flavor profile it is worth the effort to search out this style of port. I have gotten some '63 colheita for a reasonable price in the past(<$100) though have seen stuff from the 30s costing considerable sums(>$500)

    Need to edit myself here: seems the age statement on tawnies is the weighted average of the wines inside the bottle(ie. if there is 50% 18yo and 50% 22yo then the age statement would be 20yo) seems a bit suspect to me, but that seems to be the way it works.
    Last edited by barturtle; 02-23-2006 at 10:34.
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  3. #13
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    Thanks, to Jeff and Timothy for these remarks. I checked in Jancis Robinson's Oxford Companion to Wine (quite an amazing book, currently being updated by Ms. Robinson) and indeed vintage port generally undergoes a couple of years or so barrel age. This is done I imagine to give the wine some structure but my main point was correct (I think) in that the aging in wood is relatively minimal for vintage port because its main character comes from the grapes. Whereas LBV, Tawny and the other major styles or variations of quality port (Colheita, Crusted, etc.) receive longer barrel age because the barrel effect is a more important part of their character. Vintage means one year, grapes of one very good year only are combined to produce a rich sweet wine that will last many years in bottle and improve through a slow maturation. The growers famously only "declare" some years, being years in which a hot summer produced a very good yield and quality of must for the wine. Interestingly, the Oxford Companion states that in some years, while the quality would justify it, the growers don't declare; this will often be when they judge that commercially the market won't accept another vintage port bottling. I'll have to persist with vintage port, but I have a suspicion that the quality of ruby has increased over the years and therefore the differences between a good ruby and a vintage port are not as great as they were.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-23-2006 at 13:47.

  4. #14
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    Some top Aussie labels.....

    Well I couldn't help but put my 2 cents into this subject, especially since I seen that some of you have a liking for Aussie port....

    I must admit that I was unaware of the differences between the variations in the product....ie. How 'Tawny' port is so classified, so thanks for the info above!!
    I have listed some Aussie brands that I can definately recommend in giving a try....
    - Brown Brothers
    - Penfolds
    - Galway Pipe
    - Seppelt
    - Orlando
    There are many other labels/brands available however I have stuck with the more well known brands.
    I must point out also that Australian wine is constantly moving up the 'ladder' in terms of quality and price comparison between some of the other world products. If you sampled some Australian wine say 5 - 10 years ago, the offerings as far as quality comparison against some of the well know labels was very poor, however some of the offerings available now can rival even some of the best Italian and Spanish wines.
    Cheers!!

    TK.(Troy)




  5. #15
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    Tony, what's the story on Australian whisky?

    Are there brands that compare to the Scots originals? We've asked this question before but even the Australian members (not in the trade I mean) seem not to have a lot of knowledge of this area.

    Are some made in a single malt fashion, for example? Is there craft distilling of whisky going on?

    Theoretically I don't see why a bourbon-type whiskey could not be made in Australia.

    Gary

  6. #16
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    Troy, I have to chime in with one of my favourite ports - Grant Burge 20yo Tawny Port (The other being Barros 10 & 20yo....but they aren't Australian)



    Gary,

    I don't profess to know a lot about Australian Whiskey. Jim Murray rates some of it highly in his 2006 Whiskey Bible.
    Apparently Tasmania is producing some of the better drams as it's climate is very similar to Scotland.
    www.bakeryhilldistillery.com.au has received much acclaim of late, although I haven't yet tried their products to verify this.

  7. #17
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    Thanks Cam, and any additional tips, from Tony or others, are welcome. I actually have the Murray guide 1 foot from where I am typing, I'll check that out, good suggestion!

    Gary

  8. #18
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    IT's TROY!!!

    Who's TONY.....

    ME TROY

    LOL

    TK.(Troy)




  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman
    ...The growers famously only "declare" some years, being years in which a hot summer produced a very good yield and quality of must for the wine. Interestingly, the Oxford Companion states that in some years, while the quality would justify it, the growers don't declare; this will often be when they judge that commercially the market won't accept another vintage port bottling...
    Gary, there ARE instances when individual port houses will declare a vintage not generally declared. For example, as I've read today's additions to this thread, I've gone to the 'fridge and poured a bit of some 1990 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port, from a year not generally declared, but from a family -- the Symingtons (Graham's, Dow's, Warre's) -- who know port.
    Quite remarkably, this ruby-ish port is still very fresh despite having been open now almost a year (I'm afraid I just forget about it most evenings). Port, of course, is brandied to keep it sweet, and that also helps to a degree make it long-lasting -- though I wouldn't push my luck to a year or more too often.
    Here's a link to a page which describes port styles in more detail:
    http://www.cockburns-usa.com/about_port_portstyles.html
    Tim

  10. #20
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    Thanks, Tim, the fact that you have kept your bottle of vintage port chilled all that time no doubt has assisted to maintain its quality.

    I would suggest, since you don't use much of it (and don't take this facetiously) that you add a few drops to the next bourbon/rye vatting you do in the glass. The result will likely be very good.

    Swirl hard before tasting.

    Gary

 

 

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