NV Gonzalez Byass Tawny

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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Will W.
Cockburn’s Special Reserve
Posts: 26
Joined: 14:33 Thu 11 Aug 2016

NV Gonzalez Byass Tawny

Post by Will W. » 22:59 Fri 09 Aug 2019

Careful readers of TFP may recall that your correspondent purchased recently the bottle in question in the mistaken belief that he was acquiring a 1960 colheita. It was quickly pointed out to the neophyte (i.e., the author of this tasting note), who had forgotten about the somewhat unique symbol found on all Gonzalez Byass bottles, that what he had acquired – whatever it was - was not a colheita. ‘Twas a rookie mistake and, British social gentility being what it is, nobody was blunt enough to characterise (at least online) the error for what it was, that is, that of a dumbass. Or so the kids would say.

Opened on 05 August 2019 - out of morbid curiosity, if nothing else – things got off to a poor start. The plastic top of the t-stopper came away from the cork; once the latter had been removed using a Durand, and the contents put into a decanter for a touch of air, the bottle stink was so ferocious that your correspondent and Her Ladyship, the latter having joined the metaphorical ride with her usual good humour, were convinced that the bottle was corked. In the event, the bottle stink blew off after a good thirty minutes and, about two hours after that, the tasting commenced, once little Lord Fauntleroy had been shown to his bed.

As the t-stopper and the absence of a label on the bottle suggested, what was on offer was a tawny of indeterminate age, most likely bottled in the 1970s. Or so the history of the firm, along with the old-style selo, seemed to suggest. The appearance of the wine was not at all unpleasant – clear and redolent of a twenty-year-old tawny, evincing a slightly-yellow rim. The nose was likewise pleasant, imparting as it did quite pronounced earth and mineral tones, together reminding one of a young vintage port, with a touch of lemongrass thrown in. On entry, one was confronted with gentle flavours of zest, spice, honey and even ginger. Her Ladyship opined further that a hint of loquat was trying to break through; your correspondent – who came of age in climes characterised by appallingly-cold weather – had never heard tell of such a thing. This fact occasioned a flurry of iPhone googling, ultimately compounding your correspondent’s humiliation vis-à-vis this particular bottle of port. At any rate, not to digress further: the mid-palate revealed unmistakably the simplicity of the wine, the body of which was very thin. However, the modest finish was agreeable enough, the dominant characteristic thereof being that of black pepper. The port was very balanced at the two-hour mark, the tannins and aguardiente both being well integrated - though when tried again later, four hours after decanting, the acidity had disappeared, rendering the port almost undrinkable. All in all, this particular bottle was well worth the tenner which had been handed over, if only for the lesson in humility.

87 points (at its peak)

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