Buy 1997?

Anything to do with Port.
Post Reply
LGTrotter
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
Posts: 3703
Joined: 17:45 Fri 19 Oct 2012
Location: Somerset, UK

Buy 1997?

Post by LGTrotter » 22:48 Tue 18 Aug 2015

I have been looking around at port which represents good value for drinking in the years to come, probably more than ten years time and it is the 97 which catches my eye. However tasting notes on this forum seem a little underwhelmed by the 1997, I saw the horizontal was also discouraging in its review of the wines overall.

Is this the final word? Or can I hope that these ports will pull themselves together at some point in the future? I have noticed other vintages being lightly twitted by critical opinion in the past which I have then enjoyed in later years. Will this happen with the 97, or am I barking up the wrong tree and my cash be better spent elsewhere, bearing in mind that I can get nearly two bottles of 97 for every bottle of 94?

User avatar
christopherpfaff
Warre’s Warrior
Posts: 94
Joined: 11:07 Fri 16 Mar 2012
Location: Kassel - Germany
Contact:

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by christopherpfaff » 07:15 Wed 19 Aug 2015

Is this the final word?
From my point of view - no it isn´t.Time will tell, but I´m sure, that are many very good Ports from 1997. I recently enjoyed Taylor and Smith Woodhouse. E.g. this both have a better acid structure and are more austere than their examples of 1994. Of course they have not the power and the massive fruit structure, what makes 1994 very pleasant and always enjoyable, but for the long term the characteristics of 1997 looking also promising. If you can purchase 1997 VP for a good offer - buy them.
"An one litre bottle [of port] is the right size for two persons, if one person doesn´t drink." - Dirk Niepoort
--------
http://www.passion-port.de

DaveRL
Warre’s Traditional LBV
Posts: 371
Joined: 15:04 Tue 18 Mar 2014
Location: London

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by DaveRL » 11:38 Wed 19 Aug 2015

I think they need some time to develop. Not in a great place at the horizontal, but I think many will become if not great, at least good. Gould and Smith Woodhouse showed quite well - perhaps the big beasts were slumbering?

User avatar
John M
Fonseca LBV
Posts: 122
Joined: 18:45 Sat 31 Mar 2012
Location: USA

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by John M » 15:06 Wed 19 Aug 2015

DaveRL wrote:I think they need some time to develop. Not in a great place at the horizontal, but I think many will become if not great, at least good. Gould and Smith Woodhouse showed quite well - perhaps the big beasts were slumbering?
Methinks 1997 may be like 1980 & 1983....under the radar with a few stellar, some good, many average.

User avatar
djewesbury
Graham’s 1970
Posts: 8154
Joined: 20:01 Mon 31 Dec 2012
Location: Belfast
Contact:

Buy 1997?

Post by djewesbury » 16:30 Wed 19 Aug 2015

At £300 for 12 at BBX, the SW is reasonable - and can presumably be found cheaper elsewhere.
Daniel J.
delete.. delete.. *sigh*.. delete...

User avatar
AHB
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1962
Posts: 11947
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by AHB » 17:43 Wed 19 Aug 2015

I felt it was rather unfair on the ports to hold a horizontal of the 1997 vintage when they were 17 years old. There is good reason why the old adage is that you drink your port early or when it reaches the age of 21.

I don't drink much '97 port at the moment (see reason above) but I certainly think most shippers have got all the right components needed to develop into pretty good mature vintage port for the medium haul. I would buy at the right price and £300 per case on BBX is about the sort of price I'd consider attractive.
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
Posts: 2555
Joined: 22:16 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Los Angeles, Ca USA
Contact:

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:05 Wed 19 Aug 2015

AHB wrote:I felt it was rather unfair on the ports to hold a horizontal of the 1997 vintage when they were 17 years old. There is good reason why the old adage is that you drink your port early or when it reaches the age of 21.

I don't drink much '97 port at the moment (see reason above) but I certainly think most shippers have got all the right components needed to develop into pretty good mature vintage port for the medium haul. I would buy at the right price and £300 per case on BBX is about the sort of price I'd consider attractive.
I concur.

LGTrotter
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
Posts: 3703
Joined: 17:45 Fri 19 Oct 2012
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by LGTrotter » 02:18 Fri 21 Aug 2015

John M wrote:Methinks 1997 may be like 1980 & 1983....under the radar with a few stellar, some good, many average.
Yes, this was my hope, the 83 is a reasonable comparison. I just wonder if I can wait long enough for them to turn into the kind of wine I like. Which brings me to the other thought;
AHB wrote: vintage port for the medium haul.
How long is the "medium haul"? I thought the 97s had a reputation for being quite hard wines and we were going to have to wait a longish time for them to come round. In a way a quicker maturing vintage would suit me better, I like them a bit on the brown side.

User avatar
AHB
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1962
Posts: 11947
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by AHB » 10:42 Fri 21 Aug 2015

I wasn't at the 1997 horizontal but I am generally surprised at how forward these wines are. They're not well balanced, but they do seem to be maturing well. I'd give them another 2-3 years and then happily start drinking them. I suspect they will have a long 15-20 plateau but start to decline when in their 40s (hence medium haul ports).
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
Posts: 2555
Joined: 22:16 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Los Angeles, Ca USA
Contact:

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by Andy Velebil » 22:23 Fri 21 Aug 2015

IMO, there is a reason why in the past 9 years of going to Portugal I can recall only being served a 1997 VP from two producers, Vesuvio and Noval. I don't recall any others off the top of my head.

Nice Ports, but I would hazard a guess it was a vintage that was declared for other reasons. 1985, 1991/92, 1994, then if no 1997, 2000 would have been the next. That would have been a 6 year gap. After the issues of weak vintages of the 1980's, no major declaration after 1985 until 1991/92 (arguably weak for many producers in both vintages), and then 3 more years after 1994 and seeing that by 1999 two more not so great vintages (1998/1999) on the horizon they were keen to get a Classic Declaration out there.

User avatar
uncle tom
Dow 1980
Posts: 2943
Joined: 23:43 Wed 20 Jun 2007
Location: Near Saffron Walden, England

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by uncle tom » 13:07 Sat 22 Aug 2015

Whilst I agree with Alex that it was a little unfair to sample this vintage at the age of 17, it was also quite informative, and not in a good way.

IIRC, the impetus to run the horizontal was the even more premature offering of some '97s at the BBR port walk, which had shown some alarmingly developed wines, very much at odds with the earlier predictions for the vintage, which had indicated that it was likely to be a brute for the long haul, not unlike '66.

Whilst one has to make allowances for the maturation roller-coaster at that age, the horizontal showed many wines with a worrying degree of colour loss, and Noval's reputation for being the king of this vintage was seriously impugned - a duff bottle? - possibly, but it had the same unpleasant earthiness that spoils the N91..

Overall, my advice would be to hang fire on investing seriously in '97s until another horizontal is under our belts - perhaps in 2017 or 2018
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

LGTrotter
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
Posts: 3703
Joined: 17:45 Fri 19 Oct 2012
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by LGTrotter » 00:40 Sun 23 Aug 2015

So many men, so many opinions, as Terence says.

But if I can pick through the bones I think I have heard a couple of votes for 'they'll be fine', one for 'don't rush in' and one for 'they only did it to make up the numbers' with a rather surprising dash of 'they won't last' thrown in for good measure. I already have three and a bit cases of the 97, which for me is quite a substantial amount. The difficulty with waiting to see if they grow into better wines before buying is that the price will rise with the sentiment. And if it is a minor vintage then I have found a lot of pleasure in minor vintages. But I think on reflection I might just keep buying an odd dozen from the seventies and eighties when opportunity allows. Or not.

User avatar
DRT
Fonseca 1966
Posts: 15263
Joined: 23:51 Wed 20 Jun 2007
Location: Chesterfield, UK
Contact:

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by DRT » 10:24 Sun 23 Aug 2015

Owen,

What is your plan? Are you buying a moderate amount of VP to drink over the second half of your life or are you building a cellar that someone will inherit? If the former I think there is nothing to lose in buying a vintage like 1997. If you need to drink them a few years earlier than you might have originally expected there is no downside as you will have some relatively young mature port to enjoy. If they are going through an awkward phase and then shut down for two decades you will have some mature vintage ports to enjoy a bit later.

I haven't seen many (or any?) comments describing 1997 as a bad vintage. It simply seems to be one (of many) that doesn't currently fit with the hype that surrounded its release. I think the key is to buy examples with known qualities and drink them at the appropriate time.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

LGTrotter
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
Posts: 3703
Joined: 17:45 Fri 19 Oct 2012
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by LGTrotter » 11:54 Sun 23 Aug 2015

Derek,

The plan, such as it is, is vague and has two parts to it. One is to have a supply of decent port that I can drink now, bearing in mind the youngest vintage I enjoy drinking at the moment is the 85, and I have enough port to last for maybe ten years at the rate it is going and plan to buy odds and ends as they present themselves to top up stocks.

The question about the 97 relates to the second part of the plan which is to buy vintages from the nineties and maybe the early noughties by the case while they are still relatively plentiful and cheap for drinking in about ten to fifteen years time. I am hoping that I can get vintages from the nineties for about half what seems to be the going rate for the eighties/seventies and can therefore drink port of a similar age to those I currently drink for a smaller outlay now. If I get run over by a bus then someone else will have to drink it but it is not central to the plan.

How does that sound? All advice gladly accepted, or possibly ignored.

User avatar
DRT
Fonseca 1966
Posts: 15263
Joined: 23:51 Wed 20 Jun 2007
Location: Chesterfield, UK
Contact:

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by DRT » 12:50 Sun 23 Aug 2015

That sounds very similar to the plan I started out with and I think now have all that I will ever need, apart from the odd classic vintage for tastings etc.

I don't think you have anything to fear from buying into 1997 - I would simply advise that you stick to shippers whose '97s you can get contemporary information about at the time you buy them. Taking a punt on something you can't find a TN for would be reckless, especially as there are so many to choose from. Buying something that AHB has reviewed three times and said (in many more words) "wait" will be a fairly safe bet for either you or the bus driver.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

DaveRL
Warre’s Traditional LBV
Posts: 371
Joined: 15:04 Tue 18 Mar 2014
Location: London

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by DaveRL » 15:47 Sun 23 Aug 2015

Has anyone tried the Tesco 97? Might be worth knowing if it is a cellar defender or one to avoid before the inevitable Xmas sales start tempting me.

LGTrotter
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
Posts: 3703
Joined: 17:45 Fri 19 Oct 2012
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by LGTrotter » 17:51 Sun 23 Aug 2015

DaveRL wrote:Has anyone tried the Tesco 97? Might be worth knowing if it is a cellar defender or one to avoid before the inevitable Xmas sales start tempting me.
Not yet, but I have a feeling I shall before the year is out.
DRT wrote:Buying something that AHB has reviewed three times and said (in many more words) "wait" will be a fairly safe bet.
I tend to follow Alex's tasting notes as he seems to have similar likes to me. But if everybody starts doing it how long will it be before 'the AHB bounce' begins to take effect on pricing? The Parkerisation of port pricing is sure to follow. I think 100 Alex points has a certain ring to it...

User avatar
DRT
Fonseca 1966
Posts: 15263
Joined: 23:51 Wed 20 Jun 2007
Location: Chesterfield, UK
Contact:

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by DRT » 00:23 Mon 24 Aug 2015

LGTrotter wrote:how long will it be before 'the AHB bounce' begins to take effect on pricing? The Parkerisation of port pricing is sure to follow. I think 100 Alex points has a certain ring to it...
I can see the headline in Decanter now - "Parker awards Quinta da Revolta 2016 100pts and Bridgeman agrees. Uncle Tom seen upping his bids by 5/- per dozen!"
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

User avatar
AHB
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1962
Posts: 11947
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: Buy 1997?

Post by AHB » 13:51 Thu 27 Aug 2015

LGTrotter wrote:I think 100 Alex points has a certain ring to it...

That's only happened twice when I tasted / drank a port that blew me away. Both times I knew what I was drinking so you can argue that label bias or perhaps event bias (both occasions were in Portugal) was the only reason I gave a perfect score - but on both occasions I was left asking myself what could possibly improve on the port in my glass (apart from it having come out of an imperial rather than a 75cl bottle)?

The two wines are not hugely surprising:
  • Quinta do Noval 1931 - which was drunk at a tasting featuring Cockburn 1908, Graham 1942, Graham 1948, Noval 1927 (from magnum), Noval Nacional 1931, Taylor 1927, Warre 1922 and Warre 1958. And, for reference, my label bias must have been a bit skewed since I had the Nacional as the least impressive of all of those wines.
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional 1963 was drunk at dinner at Quinta do Noval as part of a line-up of "6 vintage ports to drink before you die" which also included Croft 1927, Croft 1945, Dow 1896, Fonseca 1948, Noval Nacional 1967 (as the after dinner port) and Taylor 1945. The two Crofts were astonishingly good, but the Nacional 1963 was just slightly better.
Only once have I given a newly released vintage port a score of 99, and that was the Quinta do Noval Nacional 2011 which was tasted at the Quinta in September 2014. I'm fairly confident that this is a decent port since Peter Symington was with us and he raised an eyebrow when tasting the port for the first time, and may even have said "Gosh". I like to think that I have been personally responsible for the increase in the market price of the 2011 Nacional from £255 on release to £1200 today (http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/noval ... +2011/1/uk).
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

Post Reply