I have expressed my view elsewhere on this forum that, in good years, Burmester vintage ports rest oftentimes at or near the top of the second rank. Perhaps unwittingly, Mr. Hersh placed the 1994 precisely there in a 2014 tasting note. In the event, this bottle proved to be a disappointment.
In the glass after a five-hour decant on 22 January 2021, delightful pinkish-brown hues which let through a modicum of light pointed to a wine starting to shed the rough edges of youth. The bouquet was similarly pleasing, offering as it did rich notes of black cherry along with hints of mulberry, lemongrass and lilac nectar – these together being suggestive of a certain complexity. Unhappily, the wine fell apart at the palate. The black fruits were barely in evidence at the fore, with an indistinct zest appearing midway through; the latter was followed by little more than tannins. The medium-length finish commenced with a touch of heat at the back of the throat, although it picked up somewhat by numbing the roof of the mouth in a not unpleasant manner, concluding with a gentle rush of tart which reminded me of the Pop Rocks of my childhood, albeit without the pop.
Whilst imbalanced, this bottle was certainly potable, and I found that the port improved when I ceased to consider its constituent parts. Still, something was not right with this wine and I shall give the 1994 another look before too long as the remainder of a half case rests in the cellar.
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