Jammy Evolution

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DaveRL
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Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 11:13 Wed 19 Aug 2015

I'm not keen on excessively jammy or minty qualities in wines. I wonder, though, whether these dominant flavour profiles in youth may be less relevant on maturity. Has anyone any experience or thoughts on how such wines (or indeed other potentially undesirable youthful profiles) might evolve?

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djewesbury
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by djewesbury » 14:10 Wed 19 Aug 2015

Good question. Are there any records that we can turn to that are both reliable and meaningful (rather than just 'a wonderful vintage, the best for years, buy it now!') ?

Do any others have stories of wines which are mature and well balanced now but which were too jammy in their youth? Of course, winemaking styles have changed and fruitiness is more to the fore generally these days, even in drier or more acid wines.
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by Andy Velebil » 15:26 Wed 19 Aug 2015

By it's nature most young Ruby Ports are going to slightly jammy, which should be balanced by other things. Minty, eucalyptus, and similar flavors are quite common in young VP's and LBV's and mostly dissipate as they age and morph into their secondary characteristics. Of course, there are exceptions on both side but that is speaking generally.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 20:19 Wed 19 Aug 2015

Thanks. So wines with "decoration" you don't currently like are OK for the long term as long as the underlying structure is in place. I am beginning to understand some of the complexities of rating young ports for the future!

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:04 Wed 19 Aug 2015

DaveRL wrote:Thanks. So wines with "decoration" you don't currently like are OK for the long term as long as the underlying structure is in place. I am beginning to understand some of the complexities of rating young ports for the future!
Understanding any young wine is just something that comes with time and experience. The more you can taste them young, preferably with someone experienced that can share what to look for, the better off you are. The first thing I look for is acidity. Tannins come second, and then overall body/structure. Often young top end wines don't drink all that pleasurably but that's what usually makes them last a long time.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by LGTrotter » 23:53 Wed 19 Aug 2015

Andy Velebil wrote:Often young top end wines don't drink all that pleasurably but that's what usually makes them last a long time.
That is my view as well. Will none speak up for the idea that nasty tasting young wines grow up into nasty tasting old wines, one of Parker's axioms?

Jam flavours make me think of poorer quality wines, even bad storage, I find that young wines though fruity should have a crispness to the fruit, the exception I might make are for the 03s, which though jammy now I think will be great wines in the future. Mint is something I find less usually in young wines, Martinez is one I often mintiness in.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by AW77 » 00:28 Thu 20 Aug 2015

DaveRL wrote:I'm not keen on excessively jammy or minty qualities in wines.
Do you also mean excessively sweet by "jammy" or simply excessively fruity? In my limited experience a port tastes less sweet the older it gets. Does anyone know why? (I guess the sugar level is still the same).
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by djewesbury » 09:07 Thu 20 Aug 2015

I think of mint when I think of Vesuvio; also Quevedo. But I like this characteristic.
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 09:36 Thu 20 Aug 2015

LGTrotter wrote:Jam flavours make me think of poorer quality wines, even bad storage, I find that young wines though fruity should have a crispness to the fruit, the exception I might make are for the 03s, which though jammy now I think will be great wines in the future.
Poor storage, yes. Also perhaps grapes picked late when over ripe, or maybe (guessing) due to some imperfect grape handling/wine making procedures? Some new world reds are jammy through chasing a big bold alcoholic style, which I also don't really like.
AW77 wrote:Do you also mean excessively sweet by "jammy" or simply excessively fruity? In my limited experience a port tastes less sweet the older it gets. Does anyone know why? (I guess the sugar level is still the same).
It isn't the sweetness, but more where the fruit lacks definition, slightly cooked, bit mushy, an over ripe quality. I like fruity, but it needs a bit of punch to give it life.

Maybe jammy becomes apparent sometimes where acidity fails to balance, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem as long as there was enough maturity for when the fruit recedes?

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 09:52 Thu 20 Aug 2015

Andy Velebil wrote:Understanding any young wine is just something that comes with time and experience. The more you can taste them young, preferably with someone experienced that can share what to look for, the better off you are. The first thing I look for is acidity. Tannins come second, and then overall body/structure. Often young top end wines don't drink all that pleasurably but that's what usually makes them last a long time.
I haven't tried many very young. I should try more. Helps to understand what I am looking for! :)

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by LGTrotter » 12:24 Thu 20 Aug 2015

DaveRL wrote:
Andy Velebil wrote:Understanding any young wine is just something that comes with time and experience. The more you can taste them young, preferably with someone experienced that can share what to look for, the better off you are. The first thing I look for is acidity. Tannins come second, and then overall body/structure. Often young top end wines don't drink all that pleasurably but that's what usually makes them last a long time.
I haven't tried many very young. I should try more. Helps to understand what I am looking for! :)
It is very difficult to judge young wines, it is not something I have done enough, but I don't quite see the point. Young port changes so much during the forty year journey to maturity that even good judges are caught out. Particularly in lesser vintages where the tendency seems to be to underrate them and conversely to overrate good vintages. My opinion only you understand.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by AHB » 21:16 Sun 23 Aug 2015

To me a wine is jammy when there is not enough acidity and / or tannin to balance out the sugar in the fruit. This can come about from the condition of the grapes (too ripe, not cool at night so no chance to build acidity - think of a blackberry that almost squashes as you pick it) or from lack of availability of grapes / field blends with high levels of acidity (Sousao is the classic grape for this, I think).

As a jammy wine gets older, the fruit will fade so the balance will change but my belief and limited experience is that a port jammy in its youth will develop into a mature port that lacks acidity and freshness and so comes across as lacking focus or flabby.
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Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 22:35 Sun 23 Aug 2015

AHB wrote:To me a wine is jammy when there is not enough acidity and / or tannin to balance out the sugar in the fruit. This can come about from the condition of the grapes (too ripe, not cool at night so no chance to build acidity - think of a blackberry that almost squashes as you pick it) or from lack of availability of grapes / field blends with high levels of acidity (Sousao is the classic grape for this, I think).

As a jammy wine gets older, the fruit will fade so the balance will change but my belief and limited experience is that a port jammy in its youth will develop into a mature port that lacks acidity and freshness and so comes across as lacking focus or flabby.
This seams to make a great deal of sense. I wondered about a possible lack of acidity being a problem, which as you write might very well mean problems for a good wine on maturity. Thanks. Something indeed to ponder.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by LGTrotter » 23:28 Sun 23 Aug 2015

Whilst I would not presume to disagree with Alex (which means of course that I am about to) I think that there is something more to jammy port than a preponderance of fruit. From my own experience I remember the 85s being overwhelmingly fruity wines from the outset and although much debated I don't think there is much doubt that they are, for the most part, very good wines. I remember reading/hearing that the 63s were very fruit driven and remarkably easy to drink in their early years. And for all the talk of jamminess in the 03s they are so good that I am tempted to break my 'nothing from the 21st century rule and buy a few. But maybe I have misunderstood the point Alex was making.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by AHB » 13:22 Thu 27 Aug 2015

LGTrotter wrote:But maybe I have misunderstood the point Alex was making.
You might have done. Jammy port, to my mind, does not arise from a preponderance of fruit but from a preponderance of overly sweet fruit (or overly ripe fruit) that is not balanced by adequate acidity.

You can have jammy fruit (eat a spoonful of blackcurrant jam or strawberry jam) but this is not a bad thing if balanced by acidity or tannins (mix some lemon juice into your spoonful of strawberry jam before you eat it).
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djewesbury
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by djewesbury » 03:01 Fri 28 Aug 2015

Strawberry jam without lemon juice is a bad thing?
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by jdaw1 » 10:15 Fri 28 Aug 2015

[url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=4870#p4870]Here[/url], re [url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=9750]a tasting on 3rd April 2004[/url], jdaw1 wrote:The best port I ever had was a Noval 1963 (yes, really), bottled by Queens’ College Cambridge. My last of these was drunk in 2004 (against the duff N31), and it was stuffed with fruit and length. One drinker complained of “too much damson jam”.
I like jam. Dense fruit, sweet, and yummy. What’s wrong with jam?

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 11:32 Fri 28 Aug 2015

I suppose "jammy" here is not clearly defined (my fault), and ranges from quite lightly cooked with low sugar levels (fruity and acidic and good in wine) to overly sweet and stewed (less good in wine). Both good on toast. :D

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by LGTrotter » 16:37 Fri 28 Aug 2015

DaveRL wrote:I suppose "jammy" here is not clearly defined (my fault), and ranges from quite lightly cooked with low sugar levels (fruity and acidic and good in wine) to overly sweet and stewed (less good in wine). Both good on toast. :D
I don't think you should give in so easily, I think you have defined the character of the fruit you dislike rather well;
DaveRL wrote:It isn't the sweetness, but more where the fruit lacks definition, slightly cooked, bit mushy, an over ripe quality. I like fruity, but it needs a bit of punch to give it life.
And this definition is what I think you meant. And what I would say to those jam supporters out there is that the acidity and tannins can balance the wine overall but if there is that initial cooked quality to the fruit (jam being mainly cooked fruit) then the acidity, tannin and alcohol can do what it wants but the fruit still tastes out of focus, and I think would remain so throughout the life of the port.

Mint is something I don't feel I understand the origin of and remains a mystery to me...

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by jdaw1 » 18:07 Fri 28 Aug 2015

To me to would seem more natural to describe this wanted characteristic as ‘stewed’ rather than ‘jammy’.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by DaveRL » 20:23 Fri 28 Aug 2015

jdaw1 wrote:To me to would seem more natural to describe this wanted characteristic as ‘stewed’ rather than ‘jammy’.
I think jammy and stewed overlap. I think they are not the same.

Jam. Take fruit. Add sugar (and pectin, if necessary). Cook quite quickly at jamming temp (104 deg C) until sets on a cold plate. Short cooking time can result in quite fresh fruit flavours but sweet. Cook too long and it gets stewed.

Stewed fruit. Take fruit and (less, but usually some) sugar. Cook at a lower temp, but perhaps for longer than jam. Usually left less sweet (hence seems more acidic), to balance sweet crumble, cream etc. The stewed flavours increases on cooking time, and gradually results in less fresh fruit character. Flavour profile generally different to jam, but overlaps.

Structure is important for longer term. Jam implies not enough balancing acidity/tannins for the sweetness hence not enough structure when the fruit goes (thank you). Stewed is different, and also not good, but for different reasons (thank you again).

Very very minty (I like a bit of mint, eucalyptus etc, but was wary if it overpowered everything else) is probably not a problem.

Now, what about rubber band smells, hot or cold - how could these evolve?

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by djewesbury » 15:48 Sat 29 Aug 2015

Mint presumably comes from stems etc included in the lagar?
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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by LGTrotter » 23:29 Sat 29 Aug 2015

djewesbury wrote:Mint presumably comes from stems etc included in the lagar?
Do you think so? As I have said I do not know what may cause this but I associate it with odd wines and particular producers. I have found it too rarely to notice any pattern, beyond a few examples from Martinez. If this is as a result of a production technique then it would makes sense. But it might equally be a character found in shippers, or in an individual year.

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by LGTrotter » 18:01 Tue 01 Sep 2015

Garnet, but deeper and redder than the 1955 Cockburn. There is some floral aroma, also cinnamon, and surprisingly, menthol (at least to me, as I associate that with very young wines). In the mouth, there is even more tangy deep fruit than the 1955 Cockburn. But this is a little too syrupy. This carries the finish on for a while, but reduces the overall enjoyment. 91 points.
this quote was culled from a tasting note of the 55 Martinez on :ftlop2014: (with thanks and acknowledgement to Eric), and shows (as the author says) that mintiness is not just a thing in young wines. The Martinez 55 is a bit of an oddity though, I think it has been suggested it had some Baga/Jeripoga in it. Does this have a minty twang to it?

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Re: Jammy Evolution

Post by Andy Velebil » 19:13 Tue 01 Sep 2015

Not sure on the mint from stems thing, but I know it can be influenced by what grows near the grape vines. Eucalyptus trees and mint plants growing very close to vines will impart a minty/eucalyptus flavor into the wine. Elyse (Napa) has a wine where this is an issue and they have embraced it as part of the wine.

You can get smoke taint from wildfire smoke that settles onto the grapes during certain parts of their growing cycle. It was a big issue in Napa back in 2008 and may be an issue this year as well with all the fires California has had.

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