How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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Tasting notes for individual Ports, with an index sorted by vintage and alphabetically.
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ChaseG
Cheap Ruby
Posts: 11
Joined: 02:17 Mon 09 Sep 2019

How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by ChaseG » 01:45 Tue 20 Oct 2020

Hello all!
Over the last 12 months I've accumulated quite the collection of vintage port, a couple hundred bottles. I am struggling to best describe the notes like so many others seem to be able.

Example, I LOVE the taste of an 85 Taylor. I typically enjoy a 77 Grahams as well, however the bottle I'm drinking currently has a bit of a "sting" that is not too appealing. Its drinkable, just a little something that makes me not love it as much as usual. The bottle did have some seepage, so I'm wondering if that perhaps contributed to a taste not as good as others?

What is the best way to learn how to express the tastes better?Image

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ChaseG
Cheap Ruby
Posts: 11
Joined: 02:17 Mon 09 Sep 2019

Re: How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by ChaseG » 01:46 Tue 20 Oct 2020

Side note. It has been decanting for 48 hours. It seems to be tasting a little better as time goes on. But perhaps its because I'm just looking forward to that first sip each day.

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AHB
Fonseca 1963
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Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by AHB » 22:44 Tue 20 Oct 2020

Firstly, I want to say that what you have written about the 1977 Graham is great. You clearly say to your reader that there is something odd about the bottle; the comparison with 1985 Taylor is really useful since that’s a wine that a lot of Port lovers are familiar with. Please don’t feel that your tasting notes need to be the same as or similar to anyone else’s. We’re all different people who like different things and think in different ways — diversity of views, of opinions and of writing styles is absolutely encouraged on our forum.

Secondly, there is no substitute for being with others and sharing your bottle with them and their bottles with you. Once COVID is a little more under control and we’re able to get back together in person again, please do think about joining one of the tastings which get organised through The Port Forum. Most are informal, relaxed and opportunities to spend an evening chatting — or asking questions such as “Ooh! This is awful! What makes it smell so bad?” for that to act as a conversation about volatile acidity and how to pick it up when writing a tasting note.

Please don’t feel shy about putting your hand up to join a tasting. Everyone is welcome; we all started by plucking up courage and coming to our first tasting.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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AHB
Fonseca 1963
Posts: 12776
Joined: 13:41 Mon 25 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, UK

Re: How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by AHB » 22:48 Tue 20 Oct 2020

And, I quickly add, given where you are you might find that you are more likely to find tastings you can join being organised through www.fortheloveofport.com where most active members are in the US.

But do post on The Port Forum if you travel to the UK. Your visit would be enough of an excuse for us to organise a dinner and tasting.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

Glenn E.
Dalva Golden White Colheita 1952
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Joined: 22:27 Wed 09 Jul 2008
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Re: How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by Glenn E. » 23:16 Tue 20 Oct 2020

AHB wrote:
22:48 Tue 20 Oct 2020
Your visit would be enough of an excuse for us to organise a dinner and tasting.
He's not kidding. :lol: A visit by a fellow Port-lover constitutes an emergency, and appropriate steps will be taken.

Alex's advice on tasting notes is also spot-on. Firstly and most importantly, your tasting notes should make sense to you. Unless you are a professional wine writer, you are the primary audience for your own notes. They're to help you remember what you've tasted before, and perhaps help you decide what to buy when you're in need of something to drink.

And yes, do come join us at fortheloveofport.com as well. We don't organize as many gatherings as they do in London, but we do have a couple of sub-groups that regularly get together to drink Port.
Glenn Elliott

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
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Location: Los Angeles, Ca USA
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Re: How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by Andy Velebil » 05:08 Wed 21 Oct 2020

Don’t worry if you can’t nail down what the issue is with it. We all have those moments where we go “something odd with this bottle but I just can’t place it”. The important part is , as mentioned, you recognized there’s something off with it.

That said, ‘77 Graham’s VP is a bottle with a storied past. It was always very spirity and not very Graham’s like. It’s come together a bit better in recent years but it’s not a typical Graham’s. There’s bottle variation in these, like many 1977’s.

I can’t see where your based (Tapatalk doesn’t show it) but if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area give me shout out.

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JacobH
Dow 1980
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Re: How to describe tasting notes? 77 Grahams

Post by JacobH » 10:48 Wed 21 Oct 2020

Glenn E. wrote:
23:16 Tue 20 Oct 2020
Alex's advice on tasting notes is also spot-on. Firstly and most importantly, your tasting notes should make sense to you. Unless you are a professional wine writer, you are the primary audience for your own notes. They're to help you remember what you've tasted before, and perhaps help you decide what to buy when you're in need of something to drink.
I agree with all of this.

AHB is also right that there is nothing wrong with your note at all.

Over the last few years, I have tried to identify what I am interested in when I re-read my notes and try to be more disciplined in making sure I cover those points.

For me they are: Sight: Colour (centre / rim) — helpful for gauging maturity; Opaqueness — helpful for maturity of young vintage ports, also for cloudiness in some tanwies; Smell: Strength — does it knock you out or is it distant?; Defects — corked etc; Excessive alcohol — I don’t like spirity Ports; Aromas — fruit etc.; and Taste: Initial flavours — e.g. cherries, blackcurrants, dried oranges etc. etc.; Tannins — for gauging maturity; Acidity — ditto; Dryness — I prefer Ports that taste sweeter; Aftertaste flavours — often the initial flavours transform into different fruits; Length of Aftertaste — very important to me that good Port should have a very long aftertaste.

I also give a value judgment answering the question “is this a good Port?” in one of three ways: certainly; possibly; or no. I sometimes add a plus or minus modifier to that value judgment which, I suppose means I am effectively scoring the Port on a 9-point scale.
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