NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

To record tasting notes and thoughts on fortified wines we might try which do not come from the demarcated region of the Douro Valley
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JacobH
Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by JacobH »

It’s a very long time since I tried this and I’ve never had a bottle at home, so I thought it would be a fun experiment.

It’s a “Port-style” wine made by Quady (who are famous in the UK, at least, for their black muscat wines) in Madera (!) California. The blend is described as Port-like, although I’ve seen slightly different lists of what goes into it. Their website says it is mostly Tinta Roriz. I’ve also seen Tinta Cão, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca & Tinta Amarela on other lists but not Tinta Francisca which slightly surprises me.

The name is one of the better puns I’ve seen on a bottle of wine.

The colour is translucent purple / red in the centre fading to pinkish / orange. Much more in the young tawny world than that of a ruby Port.

In the nose, it has pleasantly concentrated stewed fruits. Perhaps a touch spirty for my tastes; but pleasant with the sensation of a blackberry crumble dominating.

In the mouth, the mouthfeel is noticeable: very thick and sweet with lots of syrup. The fruit is nominated by stewed plums. Very few tannins. Little acidity. The aftertaste is attractive but medium length. It reminds me a bit of some non-Port fortifies, perhaps even something like an old Banyuls.

Would I have guess this was a non-Port? Without a clue, I think not. I think I would have thought it was odd and different but not so odd and different as to say it wasn’t one.

The style is most similar to a tawny reserve, I think, or maybe some of the less-tawny 10-year-olds and it is probably a decent match quality-wise for the former. That means it is never going to be good value for money in the UK because of the huge premium you pay for its rarity and because Port is so cheap but it’s something quite fun to try. Would be also interesting to see what an older one would be like with some more barrel age but, unfortunately, they don’t seem to make one. Perhaps they can’t get the acidity high enough to make it work well?
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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by Alex Bridgeman »

Where did you get your bottle? I have a half bottle which looks like it was probably filled in the 1990s and I'm thinking of trying it against a more recently filled half bottle.
Top Ports in 2023: Taylor 1896 Colheita, b. 2021. A perfect Port.

2024: Niepoort 1900 Colheita, b.1971. A near perfect Port.
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JacobH
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by JacobH »

This bottle came from the Daylesford Organics wine shop in the Cotswolds. It seems to have made it onto the inventory of at least one distributor for independent wine merchants so I think tracking it down shouldn't be too hard. When I was looking for more info about the wine quite a few places came up.

I think old v new comparison would be excellent since I'm not sure this is a wine for old bones. I don't think it has the acidity or tannin to carry it. But I could be very wrong. Maybe throw in something like the Warre Tawny Reserve, too, if you can find a cheap bottle.
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Glenn E.
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by Glenn E. »

I've had Starboard before (but I don't recall a batch number if it had one) and thought it enjoyable. My recollection is similar to your note.

I did get a distinct character out of it that, over time, I've learned to associate with California "port-style" wines, so I was able to identify it as a ringer. It's a very solid offering, but like almost every non-Portuguese "port-style" wine I didn't feel it was good value for the money. They're all too expensive, to me, for what you get.
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JacobH
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by JacobH »

The “Batch 88” seems to be part of the name, now, like Fonseca Bin 27. Apparently this blend was first made in 1988.

I did wonder if they were sufficiently cheaper in America to bridge the price gap with Port, especially since Port is, I think, generally a bit more expensive in the States than here. The fact that it is still a bit expensive for you does make me wonder who buys it. Do they just sell the odd bottle to people like me as a novelty? Or maybe restaurants which have an all-American wine list?
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Glenn E.
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by Glenn E. »

I think a lot of Americans aren't aware of what Port really is, so see it at a store (or, more likely, at the winery) and pick up a bottle or two. They probably have no clue that it a) isn't as good as real Port, and b) is more expensive than real Port. It's an oddity so they give it a try.
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JacobH
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by JacobH »

I wonder how much of it they sell? Their Elysium black muscat is quite widely available here. I think one of the supermarkets stocks it and I see it on wine lists quite frequently. Makes me wonder if the “Port” is a side project.

Also: this reminds me that it is ages since I have had a bottle of the Elysium. I should try to rectify that soon!
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Mike J. W.
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Re: NV Quady Starboard Batch 88

Post by Mike J. W. »

I just came across a small stock of this at a B&M in South Jersey. Halves were going for $14 and a 750ML bottle was $28. I opted to buy a '97 Smith Woodhouse there instead. By the looks of the bottle it doesn't look like they had budged for a good 15 or 20 years, so it will be there if I swing by in another year. About 4 years back I had found a '63 Sanndeman there that was in rough shape, but I think I paid under $100, so it was a no brainer. The bottle was a leaker but still very good.
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