Warre’s Vintage Port, 1985 (#feelsoold)

I’ve already established that I’ve been drinking port for over a decade and a half and have a few ‘drinking buddies’ with whom I’ve enjoyed exquisite wines with when we were in our twenties. Vintages like ’63, ’66, ’70, ’77 and the (then) exceptionally young 1985 were the wines we were drinking reasonably regularly, and anything that started with ‘nineteen ninety’ would never cross our lips. Sadly these friends live in the south of England, so drinking with them has become less frequent, so to stop the inevitable gout setting in from drinking too much port, I’ve found a few folk that I can enjoy a glass of wine with from time to time.

I have a few friends who live locally who enjoy the odd glass of port or two and one of them kindly gave me some decanted Warre’s 1985 for me to try today that he had opened to celebrate his birthday. Aside from the fact that he offered to share this wine with me, which is very touching, I realised it would be a lovely opportunity to try this wine now that it has had a few more years to mature, and mature it has. A blackcurrant aroma comes off first, with some dried fig and a little bit of tobacco.The palate is well balanced with dried berries and cocoa, a little bit of alcohol coming through but it is nicely blended in with the fruit. On the finish there is sweet tobacco and a menthol flavour too cleaning up the palate. 90pts

Now the part I’ve omitted is that when tasting this wine, I realised that this wine will celebrate its 32nd birthday this year, and the person who had opened it is only just 19 years old. He was born in 1998, a year after a vintage I still won’t touch as it is ‘too young’. Then, overthinking as I do, I realised that for this guy just setting out on his wine journey, sampling this Warre’s 1985 is the equivalent of a 1963 or 1966 vintage to me in my early twenties. I feel so old….

#feelsoold #winewastasty

Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny Port

IMG_5646.jpgA fancy bottle, looking very much like something that would normally contain whisky, a glass stopper, a little gold badge on the bottle and the iconic cloaked man on on the label. A lot of marketing money has gone into the Sandeman’s brand which, apart from the bulk made port you’d normally find in supermarkets, has been suspiciously absent in a lot of wine merchants in the UK.

Now that Liberty Wines has got the job of distributing it, Offley and a range of Sogrape’s wines, expect that to change, but is this highly stylised wine worth the £35 – £40 you’d expect to pay?

Dear God yes! It is a lovely wine with a multitude of dried fruit – raisins, prunes, candied peel, apricots – leaping out of the glass with a note of marzipan as well. A deliciously smooth palate, again those fruits, but with very well integrated alcohol, a noticeable sweetness, but with some cigar smoke on the finish and the tiniest bit of stewed rhubarb. This is a super 20 year old tawny and I’m sure I’ll revisit it again very soon. 92pts

Niepoort Crusted Port

BOTTLED 2012

Wow! A delightful aroma coming out of cherry, smoke and thyme… maybe some rosemary too. The palate is gentle, well integrated alcohol, firm tannin, and the alcohol comes out a little too, but really nice and dark. Sure, it needs some time to mature, but it is very drinkable now if you like a big port. 90pts (February 2017)

Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port, 2012

BOTTLED 2016

Warm jammy brambles with some chocolate and chilli pepper aromas (strangely) and some fresh cherry on the nose. The palate has a nice spice up front, a lot of tannin – soft, but very firm – and then the alcohol I remember from Niepoort’s LBV comes out. A lot of savoury flavours on the end, with a warm spice coming out. Nice. 88pts (February 2017)

Niepoort Ruby Dum Port

Cherry, lots of cherry coming off the nose. There is a jammy element coming out with some warm honey as well. The palate is quite thick with some big tannin, moderate alcohol and then a lot of spice coming off. Nice and juicy, well made, but I think a tiny bit clumsy on the midpalate before it cleans itself up and finished off well. 87pts (February 2017)

Niepoort The Senior Tawny Port

Strawberry red core with a brick colour around the rim, and the wine has an orange marmalade aroma up front, polished wood with some cinnamon pastry. The palate has more dried fruit up front, then a lovely brandy flavour coming out. Very soft, with little prickles of alcohol coming through, it is a super wine that offers great value for money. 90pts (February 2017)