1994; Where's the value?

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richmills
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1994; Where's the value?

Post by richmills » 08:58 Wed 12 Oct 2016

I've decided that '94 is probably going to be the vintage I'll be wanting to have a decent amount of port available to drink in the future (say from around 15-20 years time), and so I've decided to build up a little bit of stock in my cellar now.

I already have a few Fonseca that I managed to pick up at a reasonable price, and a smattering of Grahams, Taylor and Vesuvio. But I'm now wondering what to get to add to the collection.

I figure I have enough Fonseca. The prices of the Taylor are ridiculous so no more of that required. Grahams isn't cheap either and I'm not convinced it's going to be among the best of the vintage (although it often pulls through in the end, so maybe I'm wrong). Vesuvio is also quite expensive, although I'm holding out and hoping to be able to get some more at a decent price eventually.

So my question is, if you were going to buy some 94 for long term cellaring, which producers do you think are showing the best value for money right now? I was thinking maybe Dow, and possibly I should look harder for some more Grahams, but I'm just not sure. What do the panel think?

Cheers, Rich.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by LGTrotter » 19:53 Wed 12 Oct 2016

Where indeed! In a different vintage in all probability.

Smith Woodhouse springs to mind, but this has been creeping up in price over the last few years. I have heard good things of the Martinez too. Like you I am confused by the Graham, I am a bit doubtful of it but hope it will pull through. I also agree with your view of the Taylor. Going out on a limb I also rather fancied the Cockburn a few years back, but there has been a mountain of reviews to refute this. Coming back from my outlier suggestions both the Dow and Warre will be good, but not for ten more years at least.

I generally go for a bit of this and a bit of that, usually driven by what's cheap. Not pretty, I know but it seems to have worked out as well as my attempts at crystal ball gazing with young ports.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by AHB » 21:03 Wed 12 Oct 2016

As is usually the case, I agree with Owen. In my experience Warre produces a style of port which is under-appreciated and which, when mature, is elegant and superbly refined. Warre 1994 would certainly be one of my tips for value for money.

Alongside that I would include Martinez; this seems to be one of the surprises of the vintage and is a great wine at a modest price. Cockburn 1994 I find hugely variable and would avoid. (Damn you Owen, why am I simply echoing what you say yet again?)

Delaforce I have found to be consistently good (this was the last vintage made by a member of the Delaforce family - Nick Delaforce made this one, he now being the port maker at Niepoort); Dow took a while to settle down but is certainly up there with the top players. The regular Noval is expensive but superb; the Nacional is out of this world. Ramos Pinto is a dark horse but is not easy to find in the UK, Smith Woodhouse is much better than the Gould Campbell or Quarles Harris in my opinion and if you can ever find the Warre 1994 bottle matured LBV (look at Wine Searcher) this is such good value for money for medium term (20-40 years) drinking that not to mention it would be remiss.
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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by JB vintage » 23:40 Wed 12 Oct 2016

In addition to the brands you mention, the following houses has consistently been performing quite well:
Gould Campbel
Dow
Martinez
Ferreira
Quarles Harris
Eira Velha
Ware
Smith Woodhouse

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by PhilW » 06:57 Thu 13 Oct 2016

I would add Warre, then perhaps some Dow, then definitely some more Graham. I am a keen fan of the Warre style which adds some bias, but agree with AHB's comments on the Warre '94 being both good and perhaps one of the best VFM of that year. The Graham I have had several times and always found to be very good, perhaps drinking/maturing slightly earlier than some of the other big names.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by PopulusTremula » 14:24 Thu 13 Oct 2016

In addition to the sound advice above I would add Offley Boa Vista 1994, a port which I found over delivered when compared to price.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by RonnieRoots » 23:24 Thu 13 Oct 2016

Another vote for Dow and Warre - they are both very fine.
As your question is about ports for long term cellaring, I wouldn't recommend Martinez. Although it is a lovely port (I was lucky enough to buy a case cheap and drank quite a few over the years), I don't think it has the structure to make really old bones. It's more one to drink now and in the coming 10 years.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by richmills » 10:49 Fri 14 Oct 2016

Thanks all. Some Warres and Dow ordered and I'll keep my eye out for any bargain priced Grahams and Vesuvio I think. Now I just have to wait patiently for 10-20 years, better hope those 85s come good in the meantime :)

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by LGTrotter » 12:40 Fri 14 Oct 2016

richmills wrote: Vesuvio
Not yet mentioned, probably as it is one of the more expensive 94s, but good value if compared to the Taylor and Fonseca.
RonnieRoots wrote:As your question is about ports for long term cellaring, I wouldn't recommend Martinez. Although it is a lovely port (I was lucky enough to buy a case cheap and drank quite a few over the years), I don't think it has the structure to make really old bones. It's more one to drink now and in the coming 10 years.
I have found with older Marinez that it often feels like it won't last, but it generally does. Although I do not have the wisdom that comes from drinking a case of the 94, which is always the best way to find out about a port :D .

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by DaveRL » 21:16 Fri 14 Oct 2016

PopulusTremula wrote:In addition to the sound advice above I would add Offley Boa Vista 1994, a port which I found over delivered when compared to price.
+1 Great value.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by uncle tom » 02:03 Sat 15 Oct 2016

Thiis thread only serves to remind me how little '94 I've drunk in recent years.

A decade ago I would pop the odd one from time to time, but then concluded it was not very rewarding or informative to open bottles under 18 years old. 18 then morphed to 21 and then 24, each time leaving the '94s just out of range..

But my drinking habits can't defy time forever - maybe I'll re--discover this thread in five years time and be able to make a proper contribution. :D
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by Andy Velebil » 06:59 Sat 15 Oct 2016

uncle tom wrote:Thiis thread only serves to remind me how little '94 I've drunk in recent years.

A decade ago I would pop the odd one from time to time, but then concluded it was not very rewarding or informative to open bottles under 18 years old. 18 then morphed to 21 and then 24, each time leaving the '94s just out of range..

But my drinking habits can't defy time forever - maybe I'll re--discover this thread in five years time and be able to make a proper contribution. :D
I too rarely drink them at the moment, and haven't for some years. Like you, it's just hard when they still have such a long way to go to peak and in the past few years the funky phase many have been in just hasn't been appealing to waste them when they aren't showing their best.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by richmills » 12:07 Sun 16 Oct 2016

uncle tom wrote:Thiis thread only serves to remind me how little '94 I've drunk in recent years.

A decade ago I would pop the odd one from time to time, but then concluded it was not very rewarding or informative to open bottles under 18 years old. 18 then morphed to 21 and then 24, each time leaving the '94s just out of range..
Yes, exactly this. I've only been drinking vintage port for about 6 years and when I started I thought 20-30 year old port was great, but I've now realised that actually I like my vintage port to be 40-50 years old and since I only pop a handful of bottles a year anything younger seems like a waste. So I'm concentrating on drinking 66s, 70s and 77s for now, but trying to build up a stock of 85s and 94s for the future.

To be honest I've never tried anything older than a 66 so maybe I actually like my port even older, but given the prices I don't think I want to find out that I really like Taylor '45 because I'd fear for my bank balance and mortgage :)

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by Alex M » 19:51 Sun 16 Oct 2016

Looking through some the old tasting notes on the site, Croft appear to have delivered a solid effort in 1994.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by RonnieRoots » 02:36 Mon 17 Oct 2016

LGTrotter wrote:
RonnieRoots wrote:As your question is about ports for long term cellaring, I wouldn't recommend Martinez. Although it is a lovely port (I was lucky enough to buy a case cheap and drank quite a few over the years), I don't think it has the structure to make really old bones. It's more one to drink now and in the coming 10 years.
I have found with older Marinez that it often feels like it won't last, but it generally does. Although I do not have the wisdom that comes from drinking a case of the 94, which is always the best way to find out about a port :D .
You may well be right. I remember 1967 and 1970 Martinez to be rather enjoyable a couple of years ago, but then again, I've never been able to taste them when they were younger, so wouldn't know how their ageing pattern compares to 1994. I should probable hold one or two bottles back to check in 20 years time :wink:

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by trishthom » 11:18 Sun 10 Dec 2017

I have 6 bottles of grahams 1994 vintage port for sale. Would anyone be interested in making me an offer?

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by uncle tom » 11:25 Sun 10 Dec 2017

I have 6 bottles of grahams 1994 vintage port for sale. Would anyone be interested in making me an offer?
Probably, but they will need to know roughly where you live and how the bottles have been stored.

There is also a separate section titled 'Selling port'' which will get your enquiry better seen..
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by CranBurgundy » 04:26 Mon 30 Apr 2018

Interesting to read the strategy for cellaring Port in this thread. I'm sitting on a case of '85 Graham's VP, a half case of '86 Graham's Malvedos VP, and a half case of 2003 Warre's LBV, while drinking what little '66, and '70 I have left. There's various Tawny and '92 Warre's LBV to fill in the gaps. Glad to know I'm somewhat following along the lines that those in the know have drawn for their own drinking. :wink:
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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by AHB » 12:40 Mon 30 Apr 2018

CranBurgundy wrote:
04:26 Mon 30 Apr 2018
Interesting to read the strategy for cellaring Port in this thread. I'm sitting on a case of '85 Graham's VP, a half case of '86 Graham's Malvedos VP, and a half case of 2003 Warre's LBV, while drinking what little '66, and '70 I have left. There's various Tawny and '92 Warre's LBV to fill in the gaps. Glad to know I'm somewhat following along the lines that those in the know have drawn for their own drinking. :wink:
Those Warre bottle matured LBVs and similar ones from other producers are offering a brilliant alternative to vintage port. They cellar well, they mature beautifully but slightly more quickly and they are remarkable value for money. They may not make for good drinking when they are 100 years old, but they are pretty damned delicious at 30-40. I have a fair few stashed away for just that sort of age of drinking.
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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by uncle tom » 14:07 Mon 30 Apr 2018

Those Warre bottle matured LBVs and similar ones from other producers are offering a brilliant alternative to vintage port. They cellar well, they mature beautifully but slightly more quickly and they are remarkable value for money. They may not make for good drinking when they are 100 years old, but they are pretty damned delicious at 30-40.
They can also show very well in otherwise poor years, such as 1981
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by JB vintage » 19:47 Mon 30 Apr 2018

Just to keep in mind when buying 1994: this is a year that is not at all, as you might think, generally good. The best producers perform very well, but there are a lot of producers that do not deliver good quality. Top 10 or so are good, the rest is not, in my experience.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by uncle tom » 08:06 Tue 01 May 2018

Just to keep in mind when buying 1994: this is a year that is not at all, as you might think, generally good.
Just about every vintage has its lemons, however a lot of wines that are perceived to be poor at that age come right when they turn 40. The '75 vintage was noted for weak performances from some of the biggest names; yet has seen a remarkable turnaround over the last decade. So If you've popped a disappointing '94, tuck the rest away and forget about them for a few years..
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by Andy Velebil » 13:22 Tue 01 May 2018

uncle tom wrote:
08:06 Tue 01 May 2018
Just to keep in mind when buying 1994: this is a year that is not at all, as you might think, generally good.
Just about every vintage has its lemons, however a lot of wines that are perceived to be poor at that age come right when they turn 40. The '75 vintage was noted for weak performances from some of the biggest names; yet has seen a remarkable turnaround over the last decade. So If you've popped a disappointing '94, tuck the rest away and forget about them for a few years..
I agree. 1994 is very much like 1970. The viticulture year was so good it was hard to make a bad one. Sure some are better than others, but even the "lesser" ones are generally still very good. The only issue that a small few suffer from is VA. But the underlying Port is still sound, so they aren't so good as a result of later issue and not the main ingredient, so to speak.

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by DaveRL » 19:12 Tue 01 May 2018

JB vintage wrote:
19:47 Mon 30 Apr 2018
Just to keep in mind when buying 1994: this is a year that is not at all, as you might think, generally good. The best producers perform very well, but there are a lot of producers that do not deliver good quality. Top 10 or so are good, the rest is not, in my experience.
Which have you found good, and which have not shown so well?

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Re: 1994; Where's the value?

Post by JB vintage » 17:10 Fri 04 May 2018

DaveRL wrote:
19:12 Tue 01 May 2018
JB vintage wrote:
19:47 Mon 30 Apr 2018
Just to keep in mind when buying 1994: this is a year that is not at all, as you might think, generally good. The best producers perform very well, but there are a lot of producers that do not deliver good quality. Top 10 or so are good, the rest is not, in my experience.
Which have you found good, and which have not shown so well?
Best was Taylor and then
Dow, GC, Grahams,
and slightly below that: Barros, Calem, Fonseca, Martinez, Q do Noval, SW and Warre.

That's the top 11 of the 50 brands we have had of the 1994 vintage.

See http://www.vintageport.se/vintage.php?s ... ntage=1994 for individual scores.

Many are not up to par.

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