JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

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AHB
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 22:55 Sat 08 Oct 2016

Pah! What is a mere mile to someone in peak physical shape? JDAW wished he knew, but a kindly cab driver helped him out with the last 9/10ths of the mile needed to get back to the hotel. An hour spent showering, shaving and finding some clean clothes and a proper bow tie and he was ready for dinner. Dinner was in his favourite restaurant and he was very much looking forward to another visit.
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The cab dropped him off outside the restaurant entrance. As he approached, JDAW had a sudden sense of panic - which door was it he was supposed to knock on - left or right? The last thing he wanted to do was disturb a local family who had settled down for the night. He chose what he hoped was the correct door and knocked. He was lucky, the curtain was twitched back and a face stared at him briefly and then a smile appeared. The door was flung open and JDAW was hugged in greeting and whisked inside.

O Paparico had recently undergone some significant investment in a new and expanded kitchen which gives the chef and his team much more space than they had before. Dinner was amazing; an absolute feast of Portuguese cuisine at its best, washed down with some very fine wines and port. The wines started with a Petit Manseng 2015 from Sousa Lopes, then a Vertice sparkling wine from Gouveio, followed by an Alvarinho 2005 from Alselmo Mendes, next a Colares Chitas 2006, a 10 year old Reserva Sercial Madeira from Borges to be rounded off with several glasses of the 2011 vintage port from Viera de Sousa. A fabulous dinner, well up to the standards of the team at the restaurant.
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Satisfied, JDAW reluctantly departed from the restaurant and made his way back to his hotel. He was content with with the quality of his dream, what could possibly make it better. And he still hadn't opened his boxes...
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 21:27 Mon 10 Oct 2016

JDAW awoke feeling rather excited. Today he was meeting a friend who was arriving at the airport later in the day and then the pair of them were heading up to Pinhao by car, accompanied by several unopened boxes full of bottles. After a quick shower it was time for breakfast. Breakfast was the usual hotel fare of muesli, yoghurt and fresh fruit but JDAW had discovered how to make the muesli much more enjoyable than by simply pouring skimmed milk onto it. Instead of skimmed milk he found this worked much better:
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He wasn't due at the airport for some time so this was JDAW's opportunity to relax. The sun was already hot and the hill down to the quayside looked steep so JDAW decided that he would spend his time investigating the boxes - after all, he needed to make sure that nothing had been broken while being shipped.

Cautiously he opened the first box. Inside were a dozen bottles. He lifted the first - Warre Cavadinha 1995. "Hmm", he thought, "very pleasant." Next came a bottle of Dow 1985, a bottle of Ferreira 1985, a bottle of Gould Campbell 1985 and a bottle of Kopke 1985 colheita.

Pleased with what he found, JDAW continued rummaging in the bubble wrap and came out with some more bottles. This time he pulled out a collection of vintage ports from 1970, from Cockburn, Dow (2 of them), Fonseca, Graham, Niepoort and Warre. That finished the first box, so he moved on to the second - another dozen bottles. His eyes lit up in anticipation. What would he find this time.

He started with a lovely flight of ports from Sandeman, the vintages 1967, 1966, 1960 and 1955. These were followed by a bottle of Quinta do Noval 1964 colheita and 1963s from Croft, Gould Campbell and Warre. Next were three bottles of Croft 1960 and a bottle of Graham 1960.

It was at this point that JDAW realised one of his personality traits was showing through in his dream. JDAW knew that he liked things to be neat and orderly and that his dream had organised him into pulling the bottles out of the boxes in age and then alphabetical order (with the partial exception of the Sandeman flight). He wondered what he would be dreaming of next; clearly this was just one of those lovely dreams which would quickly fade when he woke up because no-one ever opened boxes like these, but for the moment he was determined to enjoy this dream to the best of his ability.

So he turned to the final box and looked at the last dozen bottles. He started by pulling out a bottle of Butler Nephew 1955. Next came a bottle of Quinta do Noval 1955. Then Croft 1945 followed by Dow 1945, next was a Taylor 1931, then Croft 1927, an Unknown 1924, Martinez 1922, Cockburn 1908, Dow 1896 and ...
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... a noise made JDAW open half an eye.

Someone a long way away seemed to be calling "Daddy, Daddy. I can't find my teddy Daddy. Come and help me Daddy."

JDAW mumbled back "He's on the floor where he always is. You can reach him. Just stretch a little." and he settled back down to find out what the final bottle would be.

He stretched out his hand and gently grasped the neck of the bottle and slowly pulled it out to reveal
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What on earth could this be? There was no identification on the bottle. How would he ever find out what this was?

But now it was time to pack, check out of his hotel and head over to the airport. Before he did he decided it would be only right and proper to greet his port chum properly so he chose two of the bottles he had unpacked and set them to one side. They would be double decanted before he left and drunk tonight at the hotel in Pinhao where they were staying.
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Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 23:16 Fri 14 Oct 2016

Annoyingly, although JDAW arrived on time at Francisco Sa Carneiro airport his friend was 90 minutes late. While waiting for the late flight to arrive he wandered around the airport, working out the average headcount per square metre of floor space compared to Heathrow Terminal 5. After what felt an endless wait, a familiar face emerged from the international arrivals exit and the two jumped into the waiting car and sped off to Pinhao, bottles safely stowed in the boot.

Unfortunately the delay in leaving the airport meant that by the time they reached Pinhao and dropped off their bags at the hotel, the restaurant they had planned to eat in was closed. Only one cafe was still open so in went JDAW and friend. They were sat at a small table for two and were given menus (in English! How Pinhao has changed.). Perusing the menu they both chose to have steak and chips.

The owner / waitress / cook came over and stubbed out her cigarette in the ash tray on the table and asked what they wanted. "Steak, medium-rare, with chips" they replied in unison. She shook her head. "Steak finished. What you want?"

They took another look at the menu, "Cabrito?". She shook her head, "No cabrito."

"Lamb?"

"Burger?"

"What have you got?"

"I bring you food." and she walked away to the kitchen, where she lit up another cigarette while she prepared their food. A few pans clattered and crashed together, the smell of stale oil spread through the restaurant before she returned to their table and deposited two bowls of what appeared to be (and tasted to be) fried fish with rice served in cold Heinz tomato soup. "Traditional Portuguese receipe." she stated, large kitchen knife in hand. "Very nice", agreed the pair.

Somewhat disappointed at the lack of cooked mammal for dinner, the pair later walked back up the hill to the the hotel where they were staying.
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Fortunately the evening was not yet over and JDAW produced a surprise, the two bottles he had decanted earlier in the day - which were now ready to be drunk. It took only a relatively short time before the bottles were empty, but by the time the port was gone the delays in travel were forgotten and the appaling dinner was forgiven. All was right again and the next day would be starting soon.
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Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 23:18 Fri 14 Oct 2016

Please do let me know if people are still reading these posts - radio silence is a bit off putting! A few words of encouragement would be welcomed if people are amused by JDAW's dreams.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by Andy Velebil » 06:56 Sat 15 Oct 2016

AHB wrote:Please do let me know if people are still reading these posts - radio silence is a bit off putting! A few words of encouragement would be welcomed if people are amused by JDAW's dreams.
Yes I am. JDAW is having a splendid trip, despite some minor issues which are to be expected I suppose. Keep them coming! He's also quite good with the camera too.

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by PhilW » 08:31 Sat 15 Oct 2016

Yes, still reading with interest, awaiting what promises to be one or more fabulous tastings with what are certainly some once in a lifetime (or more if you're very fortunate) wines such as the D1896 (plus one of my favourite ever wines, the Cr1927), so will be very interested to hear how they showed and tasted. Writing style is fun too, keep it up :)

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by LGTrotter » 18:27 Sat 15 Oct 2016

Yes Alex, we still love you and are reading avidly. Like Phil I am dying to hear how all these lovely old bottles turn out. I am hoping that the unidentified bottle which was last out of the box will turn out to be the last ever glass of the Dow '78 to be tasted. But how will you ever tell? That looks like a new cork to me...

Keep up the good work.

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 20:31 Sat 15 Oct 2016

LGTrotter wrote:That looks like a new cork to me...
I did ask JDAW to explain how such an old bottle in his dream happened to be stoppered with what appeared to be a new cork. He shrugged and said "Strange things happen in a dream. Perhaps it was a picture imagined to have been taken after the bottle had been opened and the original cork was too fragmented to be able to be used to stop the port splashing out."
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by PhilW » 21:02 Sat 15 Oct 2016

AHB wrote:
LGTrotter wrote:That looks like a new cork to me...
I did ask JDAW to explain how such an old bottle in his dream happened to be stoppered with what appeared to be a new cork. He shrugged and said "Strange things happen in a dream. Perhaps it was a picture imagined to have been taken after the bottle had been opened and the original cork was too fragmented to be able to be used to stop the port splashing out."
Clearly the same reason that he appears to have unpacked an empty bottle of Croft '45 from his dream box... but quick, move on to more detail of the tastings and wines themselves and no one will notice or say anything :)

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by PopulusTremula » 06:45 Sun 16 Oct 2016

My silence should not be interpreted as anything other than eager anticipation of the next instalment, awaited with bated breath.

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 12:39 Mon 17 Oct 2016

Saturday dawned bright with a blue sky and the hazy promise of fierce heat later in the day. JDAW started the day with a quick (very quick - it was effing freezing) dip in the pool before breakfasting on the terrace watching the rising sun slowly paint more and more hillside on the opposite side of the Pinhao Valley - the vineyards of Foz, he thought. Breakfast was simple, some bread, cheese and ham and no port; that had all been drunk last night.

Today was to be a leisurely day. A short taxi ride to lunch at a new restaurant which he had briefly been told about last year and was looking forward to trying. After lunch he was to catch the train into the Douro Superior where he was helping out a friend who was a grape farmer and needed an extra paid of hands to help with the harvest. A harvest which was surprisingly late this year, the heat in the summer had held the grapes back but the cool nights and hot dry days during September had really brought the grapes to perfect physiological maturity and now the late harvest was in full swing.

The taxi took him the 15 minute drive down to the mouth of the Tedo River and into Quinta do Tedo. This year was the first year that the Quinta had run a small restaurant and sitting on the terrace sipping Tedo port or grazing on cured meat, cheese and fruit was a very pleasant experience. JDAW decided really to try the restaurant next time he was actually in Portugal and not just dream about doing so.
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The wine list to accompany the light meal choice was a great opportunity to try a variety of Tedo's ports and wines. Feeling adventurous, JDAW decided to start his morning with a beverage made in the traditional style of Port, at least traditional in the way that Baron Forrester would approve of; a Port which had not been adulterated by being fortified. This was a glass of the 2011 Quinta do Tedo Savedra Douro DOC wine - absolutely splendid was his opinion.

This whetted his appetite for some of the finer things on offer, but rather than head straight into those he decided to pace himself a little and so first chose glasses of Tedo's Fine Tawny Reserve and of 10 and 20 year old tawny to sip side by side and to compare and contrast. He enjoyed them all but was surprised at how quickly they evaporated in the heat and he was left, once again, with empty glasses.

When he went back to the counter to order some of the vintage ports his thirst must have caught the attention of someone in particular for the person who served him his glasses of Tedo 1997, Tedo 2011 LBV and Tedo 2013 was none other than Vincent Bouchard. Having the opportunity to chat with the owner and winemaker at Quinta do Tedo was an experience that JDAW felt he would remember long after he woke up.
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Despite the youth of the ports they drank together, JDAW enjoyed the wines and his time at Tedo but all good things must come to an end. JDAW had to head back to Pinhao to catch the train up towards the Spanish border and couldn't be late since the next train was 2 hours later. He wished his host farewell and climbed into his taxi wondering what his next visit would be like.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by DRT » 19:10 Mon 17 Oct 2016

That restaurant sounds delightful. I must visit there the next time I am lucky enough to be in the Douro at harvest time :D
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by jdaw1 » 21:20 Mon 17 Oct 2016

AHB wrote:and sped off to Pinhao, bottles safely stowed in the boot.
If I self-report, if I confess to dreaming without proper accents, will I avoid being reported to the Crimes thread?
AHB wrote:the day with a quick (very quick - it was effing freezing) dip in the pool before breakfasting on the terrace
As a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, there is no cold with which Portugal can threaten me. And I do not swear in my dreams.
AHB wrote:Image
Just the great man himself? No pictures of his delightful family? Disappointing dreams.

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 18:26 Tue 18 Oct 2016

DRT wrote:That restaurant sounds delightful. I must visit there the next time I am lucky enough to be in the Douro at harvest time :D
I can't comment with first hand knowledge, I wasn't there. I can only report what JDAW dreamt and has recounted to me.
jdaw1 wrote:
AHB wrote:the day with a quick (very quick - it was effing freezing) dip in the pool before breakfasting on the terrace
As a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, there is no cold with which Portugal can threaten me. And I do not swear in my dreams.
Clarification is required. JDAW was not swearing when he said "effing". He was referring to the noise that most people make when entering very cold water, when they exhale explosively "efff"
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 20:59 Tue 18 Oct 2016

JDAW sat patiently at Pinhao station. He had washed his hands and used the facilities so he was ready for his long journey. He had admired the azuelos pictures with appropriate enthusiasm and was now starting to tire of waiting. Although he was used to being in Douro time, it was irritating that the modern Diurense trains on the network were so reliably off-time. To help the wait he stared at the Vintage House Hotel and imagined what it would have been like to have stayed there rather than at the (very comfortable) LBV House Hotel but he would never have been able to justify spending €500 per night for the one room that they had left available. He'd never noticed the link between their names before and wondered which had come first, which hotel name had been invented by whom.

A familiar noise rubbed against JDAW's semi-concious mind and he looked up. Somewhere in the distant recesses of his brain he registered that a DVD had been put on and that Thomas the Tank Engine was puffing across the screen. He turned around, and there was his train:
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He smiled happily and climbed on board. He needed to save his strength for the afternoon and evening. He had work to do to earn his supper tonight.

As he travelled he gazed out of the window. The view was as stunning as ever with the bright sun, blue river and baked hillsides holding their olive trees and vineyards. Some of the vines were just starting to turn to their autumnal tones but most were still verdant. The rhythmic sound of the train and the steady rocking motion soon put JDAW to sleep and he dozed happily as he travelled further east.

A shrill whistle woke him with a start and he looked out of the window. He had arrived!

Hurriedly he climbed down from his carriage and waved farewell to the driver and the fat controller. He turned to his friend and smiled a greeting. His friend grasped his extended hand and shook it vigorously. When their hands separated JDAW was surprised to find a pair of secateurs left behind and a large plastic box at his feet. Picking the box up he scrambled into the back of his friend's jeep and they drove away from the railway station and into the vineyards.

Following the winding road, they climbed higher and higher, heading for the vineyards which were ready to be picked. These were the high altitude white grapes. When they got to the top of the mountain JDAW got down from the jeep and walked over to join the other grape pickers. Working for a few minutes, JDAW noticed a strange smell. At first he wondered whether it was some form of Douro Deodourant. He sniffed again as one of his fellow workers walked past - it wasn't coming from anyone in particular, it seemed to be coming from all around. Looking up from his work, he realised that although the sun had set it wasn't yet dark and that the horizon was still brightly lit by the setting sun. But it wasn't the setting sun. So what was it?

He wandered up to the top of the hill and looked down on the other side of the mountain - fire! The neighbouring vineyard was on fire!!
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As he watched he could make out the firefighting team tackling the blaze, supported by water dropped from aircraft that flew close to the surface of the river, extending a scoop and returning to the fire. Quickly the blaze was brought back under control and doused, but not before JDAW's racing heart decided it was time to return to the bottom of the hill. He climbed into the jeep and looked round. None of the rest of the picking team were in sight so he started the engine and carefully - very carefully - drove back to the bottom of the hill. He was looking forward to dinner but knew that before he could eat (and, he hoped, drink) he had one more task to complete. As he approached the winery he could hear a loud voice calling in a steady rhythym "Um...dois...um...dois...". He had grapes to tread before dinner.
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It took four hours before JDAW was allowed to go. By that time he was exhausted and desperately thirsty. His friend took pity on him and took him up to the house where they sat on the terrace and admired the stars reflecting in the still surface of the river. The sky was incredibly clear and JDAW saw more of the Milky Way that evening than since he had been a child left alone in Woolworths. They ate well, consuming generous portions of cabrito and washing this down with bottles of table wine and proper wine. The proper wine being a tall bottle of Niepoort 1970, a bottle of Cockburn 1970 and a bottle of Croft 1960 with the wine of the night being the Cockburn 1970. JDAW smiled to himself as he went off to bed; "Cockburn 1970 can be a magnificent port when it is on song" he thought as he drifted off to sleep.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by Andy Velebil » 00:47 Wed 19 Oct 2016

Sounds like JDAW earned his supper and drink that day. Glad to hear the fire didn't do too much damage.


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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by LGTrotter » 20:24 Fri 04 Nov 2016

*nudge*

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 01:11 Sat 05 Nov 2016

I do apologise for the interruption but my days are currently filled by proof reading a book, looking at the ends of corks and trying to sort out my pension arrangements. As soon as I have any time to spare I will continue with the story.
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 22:03 Mon 16 Jan 2017

My life has slowed down a little and other things are now done, so I can return to JDAW's dream...

Sunday morning arrived. Exhausted by his physical labours JDAW slept in for a while enjoying the gentle smell of distant woodsmoke. It was when this changed to the smell of scambled eggs on hot buttered toast that he decided it was time to rise and have breakfast. As he dressed, he looked out of the window and thought that this really is one of the most beautiful parts of the world and how lucky people were to be able to visit. In a clean shirt and fresh jacket JDAW joined his host and some other guests / workers for breakfast.

Breakfast this morning included some delicious fig jam, made with figs from trees growing around the vineyards, served on fresh bread baked in the oven an hour ago and served with lashings of scrambled eggs. By the time JDAW had had enough eggs to satiate his workman's hunger there were some very worried looking hens scuttling off to find hiding places.

JDAW's plans today meant he had to catch a mid-morning train back to Pinhao. That gave him an hour or two to relax before he had to head back to the station. Since the sun was up and the day was rapidly warming he decided to go for a swim. The river was so blue and still that it was irresistable.
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After a couple of laps, JDAW felt his circulation and vigour had returned to normal and he had fully recovered from his last night's labours. While he allowed the heat to dry himself off he lazily threw a few lemons into the river and watched them slowly float downstream. Once dry JDAW returned to his room, dressed, packed and wandered down to the station.

This time he did not have to wait long as the 8am train was running two and a half hours late and arrived precisely when someone not used to working on Douro time might have expected to catch the 10.30am train. Settling comfortably into his seat and getting out a draft of one of the chapters from "The Book" JDAW started proof reading. The chapter was just the right length and as JDAW turned the last page he looked out of the window and saw Croft's Quinta da Roeda coming into view. He packed away his things and got off the train at Pinhao station. The cafe across the road was the venue for lunch with an American friend, and he saw his friend waving from the window. Sadly this was only a brief lunch together as JDAW's friend had other commitments later in the afternoon.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 22:55 Mon 16 Jan 2017

JDAW and his American friend finished lunch and JDAW walked him back to the station and saw him safely on the train back to Oporto. Glancing at his watch JDAW considered walking up the hill to the hotel but decided the effort was not worthwhile - his clothes were not so dusty to be worried. Instead he wandered over to the big house close to the station where he was due to join a group of quinta workers who were learning more about the way vintage port matures over the years. When he walked into the tasting room he was waved to a seat; there were a lot of people standing and chatting, but since they were chatting in Portuguese JDAW focused on watching the cellar master as he opened and poured the bottles.
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It took nearly an hour to open all the bottles they were tasting, but eventually it was finished and glasses were distributed. The line up had been very carefully chosen to show the power and depth of vintage Port and the near everlasting life these wines can provide if properly nurtured and cellared.
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From right to left, the line up was Quarles Harris 1980, a tregnum of Graham 1970, Dow 1963, Niepoort Garrafeira 1952, Cockburn 1947 White Vintage Port, Warre 1945 and a half bottle of Dow 1920. In addition the line up included Vesuvio 1994, Fonseca 1970, Sandeman 1960, 1931 Taylor Pinhao and 1927 Croft. This magnificent line up stimulated much discussion and debate.
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It was late in the evening when JDAW decided it was time to return to his hotel room and write up his copious tasting notes. Such a magnificent line up of ports deserved respect in the form of considered and detailed tasting notes. The ports were superb and some, such as the Cockburn 1947 white vintage port, JDAW had never seen before. And he was baffled by the way a half bottle of 94 year old port was still so alive and vibrant. But in JDAWs opinion, the best port of the evening was the amazingly fresh Quarles Harris 1980 which JDAW had guessed was a bottle of Dow 2007 it had appeared to be so young. What a great evening he had dreamt about. With a deep sigh he settled down to dream about a good night's sleep, lots of water to drink and an early start the next day.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by DRT » 01:17 Tue 17 Jan 2017

It is quite amazing.

Reading these detailed accounts of JDAW's exploits makes me feel like I was actually there! :D
"The first duty of Port is to be red"

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 23:16 Tue 17 Jan 2017

DRT wrote:
01:17 Tue 17 Jan 2017
It is quite amazing.

Reading these detailed accounts of JDAW's exploits makes me feel like I was actually there! :D
And I'm sure that JDAW feels the same.

There will be a short interlude before the next episode. PC updates this evening wiped out the time I had set aside to write about JDAW's dream of Monday and I am off drinking table wine tomorrow night. Keep an eye out on Thursday or Friday night...
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

Andy Velebil
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by Andy Velebil » 18:05 Wed 18 Jan 2017

Look forward to the next installment, I too feel as though I was there while reading it. Magnificent!

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AHB
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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by AHB » 23:55 Fri 20 Jan 2017

JDAW stretched lazily. It was early on Monday morning and he was not in a rush. He gently scratched the stubble he had been growing on his chin after having not shaved during his sojourn to the vineyards and watched the sun slowly move down the hill opposite his room. It was going to be another warm day - the forecast promised a peak temperature in the high twenties (centigrade). Breakfast was the same as yesterday, and the day before and consisted freshly baked (and rather tasty) bread rolls accompanied by hard boiled eggs, jam, salty ham and thin slices of cheese. There was nothing wrong with breakfast, but perhaps it was time to find a cafe for variety.

Speaking of variety. JDAW had spotted that the hotel had a small shop selling postcards, port related knick-knacks and an assortment of bottles of port. Having time to indulge in a small diversion before his taxi was due, JDAW asked for the key and let himself into the shop store room. Mooching round the wine shelves JDAW was amazed that anyone would be able to find anything. There seemed to be no order or structure to the way in which bottles were shoved into bins, or boxes stuffed onto shelves. JDAW manfully resisted the urge to help by reordering things so that the hotel owner would be able to find stock when a customer wanted to buy a wine listed in the catalogue. But he couldn't hold back from having a good look at each box, each case and each random bottle. JDAW found a few gems but suddenly realised his taxi would arrive in less than 30 minutes and he needed to shower and shave.
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He promised himself another visit, let himself out of the room and returned the key to the receptionist.

JDAW was feeling very lucky. By a fluke, he had been in the right place at the right time to be invited to visit Quinta do Noval as part of an organised tour, including a tasting of some of Noval's recent ports - and he had a Noval of his own that he was keen to share with other fans of their wines and ports. His taxi whisked him away from his hotel and towards that fabled vineyard. He was excited to have the chance to see the small plot of land where the ungrafted vines struggled to survive, producing tiny grapes in tiny quantities which could on the right occasion produce the mythical port that was never affordable - except when he had bought a parcel of 1987 Quinta do Noval Nacional so cheaply that it had been his house port in New York for a year or two. But that was then, a fortunate set of circumstances which would probably never be repeated.

His taxi turned left off the main road and onto the long drive winding across the hillside towards the Quinta. Shaded by table-grape vines growing on the pergola over the road, JDAW looked across the valley towards Quinta da Cavadinha and Quinta de Terra Feita. He really was in the heart of Port country. He could see the picking teams at work in some of the vineyards and could hear the sound of the sorting table getting louder as he approached the buildings at Noval. His taxi stopped at the back of the main house and his hostess came out to greet him. She directed him to the front of the house where the other guests were congregating and offered him a white port and tonic while he waited for everyone to arrive. He gratefully accepted as it was hot despite the clouds, he took his drink and wandered over to the seat under the iconic cedar tree and admired the view for a while.
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Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: JDAW dreams of Portugal - Harvest 2016

Post by jdaw1 » 21:35 Sat 21 Jan 2017

DRT wrote:
01:17 Tue 17 Jan 2017
Reading these detailed accounts of JDAW's exploits makes me feel like I was actually there! :D
Reading these detailed accounts makes me feel like AHB and DRT were actually there.

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