I have never been a great vintage port drinker, and despite my gruff manly appearance you may be surprised to learn that when I am not fighting pre-menstrual tigers or arm wrestling crocodiles, I am happiest found with a glass of very cold white wine, misty eyed in front of Sleepless in Seattle. But this is not to say I don’t hugely respect it as a wine and feel it has been dealt some rather poor cards in recent years. How many times have we heard it blamed for a sore head in the morning when it seems its only crime was the ability to block out the memory of how much one drunk before it…..? It is the vinous equivalent of “Mr Creosotes Waaafer thin mint”.
Port has been has been part of the British way of life since the Methuen treaty of 1703 and I imagine many of the great historic decisions have been made under its influence; Where Wellington sent in the Cavalry at Waterloo with a glass of Grahams, I imagine Blair sipped a glass of Pinot Grigio on Cliff Richard’s Yacht. But it is currently in transition and while modern lifestyles often don’t sit as well with a glass of Port as they do with a crisp glass of white, it still has a very important place and is rightly revered as one of the worlds great wines and should be part of every serious cellar. Far from being a wine that needs to be put down for your grandchildren.
Vintage port should be enjoyed throughout its long life, from a few years after release right though until its autumn years 40+ years later. One could compare it to Tom Jones, but in reality, unlike port …he is just an embarrassment
Johnny Symington, one of Port’s most famous names kindly visited us last week to taste his 2007 Vintage. The Symington Family has been part of the Douro’s landscape for 350 years and they own some of the great port shippers, including Graham, Dow, Warre and Quinta De Vesuvio. Their Influence on this great region is unsurpassed and it was a great honour to meet and host Johnny at our offices.
The 2007 is an outstanding vintage. It does not have the sheer power of the 2003 and 2000 vintages, but its elegance, symmetry and pure fruit will allow it to be enjoyed a little earlier than its predecessors. He is rightly very proud of this vintage and we were equally impressed. Characteristically of a great vintage, each shipper showed their unique style beautifully. Yields were tiny, for example Grahams will only ship 900 cases to the UK this year. By my calculation that is 0.0018 bottles for every man, woman and child.
Myself, I am going to buy a case of Dow, burn all my Meg Ryan films and open a bottle in front of the Dirty Dozen.
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Quinta do Vesuvio
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