A very enjoyable and interesting evening - many thanks to Tony for organising and his generosity in supplying the Nacional for inclusion, and the tawnies to finish the evening very pleasantly. Most ports showed well, some with some surprising similarities, and several with significant variation through the evening. Individual tasting notes to follow, but some general comments and comparisons:
- a number of ports showing a common "candy" element to the taste; JDAW suggested maraschino cherries which I could not disagree with except that in a couple of cases there was little of the cherry present.
- the English-bottled TV67 (BBR 1969) vs Oporto-bottled TV67 (1970) was interesting, particularly in that most people felt strongly either one way or the other, yet the view of the table was pretty much an even split; I preferred the BBR-bottling which showed a little fruit, while the Oporto-bottled seemed to be lacking, though did have a classic Taylor profile.
- several ports seemed to vary considerably across the evening; notably:
(i) the CrR; this started superbly, would have been in my top three on first pass through the wines, but later had dropped to the middle order.
(ii) the Dow; which was fascinating, as it was nothing like a typical Dow - which was initially delicious but with flavours of treacle toffee rather than red fruit, though these seemed to disappear later and the wine went from top of my list to close to the bottom as it seemed to fall apart becoming spirity and less flavourful.
(iii) the Nacional; early in the evening this seemed quite tight, dark, with black fruit and immature, and was totally outshone by the Noval which was superb all night (my WOTN, and 2nd overall for the group); however by the end of the evening this had opened up more, and was showing an incredible range of flavours and intensity, very full, massively full of blackberries, hugely complex and very long - this had become a treat which had perhaps simply needed a longer decant, and in many ways seemed a much younger wine than its compatriots this evening (and quite difficult to compare with them from a rating perspective as a consequence).
Overall, my votes later in the evening would have been very different from my votes early in the evening; since we voted in the middle, it was a confusion of the two, as some wines improved significantly while others deteriorated, so the order of tasting and rating will likely have played a significant overall part. Worthy of note and not mentioned already above was the Sandeman, which was slightly lighter with hint of strawberry, but a very enjoyable port (all night).