2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

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John Owlett
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2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by John Owlett » 17:01 Wed 15 Jun 2016

Good afternoon everyone.

My daughter and her husband had a baby girl last year, to much rejoicing all round.

The tradition is that a proud grandfather should buy a pipe of port to lay down for baby Juno's 21st birthday. Not a tradition I can follow, I fear; but for each of her cousins (born in 2000 and 2004) I have bought a dozen QVVV ... and want to do something similar for Juno.

So, my question is: What was the 2015 season like in the Douro? Are there likely to be declared vintages from the major Port houses?

The reason for asking now -- eleven months ahead -- is that, if there is little chance of a declaration, I can buy a dozen good claret from the current offering as a backup plan.

Later,

John

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by LGTrotter » 18:29 Wed 15 Jun 2016

There is always the Graham 'Port bond'. I believe you are guaranteed something, either Malvedos or straight Graham vintage. But as you say there is always claret. The pricing of the en primeur doesn't look compelling at present, so you have time to choose. I hear both burgundy and the northern Rhone are worth a punt in 2015. And I still think a case of champagne would be more use on a 21st birthday than port.

So there's my advice; Graham port bond, half a case of Chave Hermitage, Rousseau's Clos de Beze, half a dozen Palmer and a case of Dom in magnums. Simples.

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by Andy Velebil » 20:40 Wed 15 Jun 2016

The vibe around 2015 for Port is very high. While still a bit early to know, pretty confident 2015 will be declared and you'll have your choice of a whole lot of top end Vintage Ports to buy.

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by PhilW » 23:37 Wed 15 Jun 2016

I think you can be fairly confident of a declaration from many, whether or not deemed a "general" declaration.

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by John Owlett » 21:46 Thu 16 Jun 2016

Thank you, everyone.

If there is a likelihood of declarations next April, I shall wait until then ... hopefully for a matching dozen of QVVV.

The Port Forum has lived up to its reputations: both for knowledge of conditions in the Douro vineyards ... and for tempting me sorely by suggesting other options, expensive options, of wines that I didn't previously know. :?

Dom Perignon I know, as does Juno. At a family celebration of her uncle's 40th birthday, I dipped a finger in my glass of Dom and ran it round her lips to give her a taste. She immediately stretched out both hands to try to take hold of the glass.

That's my girl!

Chateau Palmer I also know: in fact it was Palmer, or perhaps Leoville Las Cases, that I had in mind for a backup claret plan.

But I don't, or perhaps didn't, know Rousseau; and the Northern Rhone is a bit of a mystery to me. Recommending Clos de Beze and Hermitage to me is a bit like offering China White to a heroin addict. :?

Perhaps I should explore these options sometime ...

John

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by AHB » 12:52 Mon 20 Jun 2016

John Owlett wrote:Thank you, everyone.

If there is a likelihood of declarations next April, I shall wait until then ... hopefully for a matching dozen of QVVV.

The Port Forum has lived up to its reputations: both for knowledge of conditions in the Douro vineyards ... and for tempting me sorely by suggesting other options, expensive options, of wines that I didn't previously know. :?

Dom Perignon I know, as does Juno. At a family celebration of her uncle's 40th birthday, I dipped a finger in my glass of Dom and ran it round her lips to give her a taste. She immediately stretched out both hands to try to take hold of the glass.

That's my girl!

Chateau Palmer I also know: in fact it was Palmer, or perhaps Leoville Las Cases, that I had in mind for a backup claret plan.

But I don't, or perhaps didn't, know Rousseau; and the Northern Rhone is a bit of a mystery to me. Recommending Clos de Beze and Hermitage to me is a bit like offering China White to a heroin addict. :?

Perhaps I should explore these options sometime ...

John
No. Resist the temptations. This is the port forum. We talk about port. Unfortified wines are simply wines that were made by mistake when the winemaker forgot to add the brandy 3-4 days into the fermentation. They are to be used for cooking and not drinking.

Your grand-daughter will be much happier with either QVVV or perhaps a couple of cases of Vesuvio if there is no QVVV. Unlike Owen's suggestion, these will last her well beyond her 21st birthday as she will not have developed a taste for port by the time she is 21 and so won't be tempted to pop all her bottles on the day of her birthday when she runs out. My motto is "Champagne is gone by twenty-two but good port will last you through and through". Buy her port and not any of that watery stuff that Owen advises.

PS - I just made my motto up but I might adopt it for the future.
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

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by jdaw1 » 16:19 Mon 20 Jun 2016

AHB wrote:My motto is "Champagne is gone by twenty-two but good port will last you through and through".
Simon, André 1919, Wines & Spirits, includes comment on the merits of various vintages. I extract those about Champagne.
André Simon wrote:1884. … It was a very good year in Champagne, but 1884 Champagne has long since ceased to be palatable and obtainable.

1892. … Champagne was very fine in that year, but now too old.

1893. … and Champagnes are now past their best …

1900. A very good year all round. Champagnes now at their best or past their best. …

1904 Champagnes very good and now at their best. …

1906. Champagnes good and now at their best. …

1907. Champagnes, a few good Cuvées, now at their best. …
So ALS seems to have Champagne becoming ‘past its best’ at about 19 years old.

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by John Owlett » 16:35 Tue 21 Jun 2016

Thank you again.
AHB wrote:No. Resist the temptations. This is the port forum. We talk about port.
Suitably emphatic and Hemingway-like. In fact, knowing the Port Forum, it could well be a quote from a Hemingway novel that I don't recognize. :?

Accepting Alex's advice, I shall ask a follow-up question about QVVV. Will it be ready to drink at age 21? I fear that the answer may be, "Probably not." Comments I have seen about earlier vintages suggest that it is a fine Port, but one which will need a deal of cellar time.

Given that QVVV comes in three-bottle cases, I had wondered whether to "offer" to keep some of the cases in Grandad's cellar, disgorging them at age 24, 27 and 30. This would increase the chances of the wine's being consumed at a measured pace and increasing maturity ... at the risk of inter-generational conflict.

Alternatively, if QVVV, unlike my grand-daughter, will probably still be in its teenage sulk, should I buy a second case of faster maturing port for age 21 and keep the vin de garde for age 25? And, if so, which would be the best choice? Particularly for the vintage 2004 grandson?
Unlike Owen's suggestion, these will last her well beyond her 21st birthday as she will not have developed a taste for port by the time she is 21 and so won't be tempted to pop all her bottles on the day of her birthday when she runs out.
Owen's post comprised two paragraphs: one contained serious comments about some types of wine; the other, written in Meerkat English, seemed more light-hearted. Certainly, the sort of Dom Perignon -- the P3 -- that is sold as suitable for drinking 30 years after the vintage

http://www.bbr.com/products-936420-1970 ... erignon-p3

is sufficiently rarified that a dozen magnums would cost as much as a pipe of port. :shock:

Later,

John

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by LGTrotter » 20:32 Tue 21 Jun 2016

And I forgot to say congratulations. A lovely conundrum to solve.

The QVVV has no chance of being at it's best at 21. Champagne on the other hand... I would just buy magnums of the regular brew rather than these recently disgorged things, they seem to need drinking rapidly. And if we were to look at the Champagne vintages which were drinking well now then the 95 and 96 seem to be still going strong at 21. And Chateau Palmer will be just getting into its stride at 21. Ask Alex, he only drinks claret from the eighties or earlier. But then the number of 21 year olds who appreciate old claret are very few. Juno will be the exception though, having already proved her palate by reaching for the Dom.

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by AHB » 15:50 Wed 22 Jun 2016

John Owlett wrote:Thank you again.
Actually, thank you. It's been quiet on the forum recently so thank you for giving us an enquiry we can get stuck into and use as an excuse to gently ridicule each other.
John Owlett wrote:Will it be ready to drink at age 21?
A good and relevant question. The first vintage of VVV was 1995, so now at the age when you would considering giving it to a grandchild. Sadly, I have yet to taste it and so can't comment on whether it will be "ready". My expectation is that it would be perfectly drinkable (the 2000 was very enjoyable when I last tasted it 5 years ago) but would have everything it needed to continue to improve for another 30 years. I don't think it will "need" more cellar time but I do think it would benefit from it.
John Owlett wrote:Given that QVVV comes in three-bottle cases, I had wondered whether to "offer" to keep some of the cases in Grandad's cellar, disgorging them at age 24, 27 and 30.
An interesting idea. My grandparents were the people who got me hooked on vintage port. On my 21st birthday they produced a bottle of Taylor 1963 (my birth year) which was opened, decanted and served at the end of the meal. When I expressed appreciation of the bottle and how much I had enjoyed it, the news was broken to me that they had actually bought a case of Taylor 1963 to give to me as a 21st birthday present - but only if I had enjoyed the bottle. If I had been indifferent or disliked it, I am told that the case would have stayed in their cellar and the angels would have taken their share over the next few years until it had all "evaporated". Since I had enjoyed it and been interested in the story behind it, I was given the unopened case a few weeks later - my grandparents having had the foresight to have kept 13 bottles for my 21st birthday.

I do like the idea of late release port, but there is something about the romance of owning a case of port from your birth year and having the responsibility of choosing when to open each precious bottle and who will appreciate it enough to be there to share each one. On the whole, if I was the recipient I would prefer to receive all 12 even though I might then ask granddad to store 9 of them for me for a few years.

Perhaps it might be worth investing in an extra bottle of the selected port. A Baker's Dozen allows you to do what my grandparents did for me all those years ago.
John Owlett wrote:...should I buy a second case of faster maturing port for age 21 and keep the vin de garde for age 25? And, if so, which would be the best choice? Particularly for the vintage 2004 grandson?
An alternative and perhaps better idea - what could be a better idea than more port? I often buy some Skeffington port to use as a cellar defender, this tends to be the fun blend produced by TFP from lotes not used in the main Fonseca, Taylor and Croft blends. It's not made every vintage but if 2015 is the quality that is rumoured then I would expect to see some. It is often used as the own label blend by some wine merchants (Davy's, Tanners) and is very approachable when young.

What would I suggest from 2004 as a cellar defender? Noval and Vesuvio are too serious a wine to suggest; Bomfim has disappointed me too often; Carvalhas is good but impossible to find. On the whole, I'd suggest the Malvedos 2004. This is the latest vintage to be released and has 10 years of cellar age in Vila Nova de Gaia. The last few times I've tried it (the most recent being last month) I was very impressed. It can be drunk with pleasure right now, but will happily last another 9-14 years.
John Owlett wrote:Owen's post comprised two paragraphs: one contained serious comments about some types of wine; the other, written in Meerkat English, seemed more light-hearted. Certainly, the sort of Dom Perignon -- the P3 -- that is sold as suitable for drinking 30 years after the vintage
Owen's suggestions are good ones - just don't tell him I said so in case he gets big-headed. Good claret from your birth year is a pleasure; good vintage Champagne will last you for many years, putting on weight and getting plumper as time goes by.
LGTrotter wrote:And I forgot to say congratulations.
So did I! Congratulations on becoming a grandfather again.
LGTrotter wrote:Champagne on the other hand... I would just buy magnums of the regular brew...
Good point, it's quicker to fill the bath when you use magnums rather than having to fiddle around with bottles. Wholly unsuited to drinking though unless you are sharing.
LGTrotter wrote:And if we were to look at the Champagne vintages which were drinking well now then the 95 and 96 seem to be still going strong at 21.
1996 is drinking fairly well at the moment and is the current Dom vintage at our house on the rare occasion we open a bottle and I hear good things about the 2004 vintage of Dom. However, when I look at my tasting notes I seem to prefer the fresher flavours of Champagne from the vintages of 2002-2005. For me and my taste, I think Champagne hits its peak at around 11-16.
LGTrotter wrote:And Chateau Palmer will be just getting into its stride at 21. Ask Alex, he only drinks claret from the eighties or earlier.
Not strictly true. When friends are kind enough to offer to open bottles from the nineties or noughties I am polite enough to accept with good grace - I hope with grace good enough that they would never know how wrong it was to open such treasures before they reach the age of 25. I have even drunk Palmer from the 2008 vintage would you believe! But give me a choice and I'll open my eighties claret in preference to my nineties. I have no seventies stock left and I'm drinking and replacing eighties stock rather than seventies.
LGTrotter wrote:But then the number of 21 year olds who appreciate old claret are very few.
So true. Even my 22 year old daughter is only now starting to appreciate red wine and I haven't yet dared to try her on a decent bottle of mature claret. We are approaching that time though - and she firmly believes that she will drink and appreciate red wine before she does port. But she is keen to make sure that I don't sell the port collection just yet, just in case she does discover a taste for the sweet nectar...
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

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by John Owlett » 18:00 Thu 23 Jun 2016

AHB wrote:... an enquiry we can get stuck into and use as an excuse to gently ridicule each other.
More welcome comments from your getting stuck into the enquiry, and entertainment from your gentle ridicule.
AHB wrote:What would I suggest from 2004 as a cellar defender? Noval and Vesuvio are too serious a wine to suggest; Bomfim has disappointed me too often; Carvalhas is good but impossible to find. On the whole, I'd suggest the Malvedos 2004.
That's interesting. I had thought of Vesuvio as a suitable second port, and feared that a traditional SQVP might have started to fade by age 25.

Am I kidding myself as usual?
AHB wrote:I hear good things about the 2004 vintage of Dom.
I can confirm the good things you have heard about 2004 Dom. But I much prefer 2002 Dom, and it seems to cost little more at the moment.
AHB wrote:
LGTrotter wrote:But then the number of 21 year olds who appreciate old claret are very few.
So true. Even my 22 year old daughter is only now starting to appreciate red wine and I haven't yet dared to try her on a decent bottle of mature claret.
The Pussycat and I have tried to bring our family up acclimatized to drinking modest amounts of wine with meals ... in the hope that wine will remain a Friend and never become a Master. One can never be certain how this will work out -- our older son married a girl from Somerset, and they bottle several hectolitres of cider each year.

The vintage 2000 grand-daughter was introduced to small glasses of claret about ten years ago, when Berrys' sold off its 1999 Angelus; she still prefers claret to Burgundy or Barolo (which should please Alex). At about the age of 12, she started being allowed a small glass of port, and has already developed a taste for it.

The vintage 2004 grandson is allowed some Champagne with the rest of the family (and as much sparkling white grape juice as he wishes), so he has a taste for fine Champagne (which should please Owen) ... though he has expressed no opinion on the 2002 versus 2004 debate.

Later,

John

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Re: 2015 prospects -- Port for Juno

Post by LGTrotter » 02:16 Tue 28 Jun 2016

John Owlett wrote: ... though he has expressed no opinion on the 2002 versus 2004 debate.
The 2002 for me by a mile. But with the caveat that I really rate the 98s now and they remind me of the 04.

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