Super evening with great company and great port. Many thanks to Neil for organising us and Julian for placemats, to Charles for his bonus bottle that proved to be far from shabby, to Tony for pulling out a backup bottle of Ferreira, and to Chris for very generously sharing the Dom Pérignon Rosé '02.
The 1966s did not disappoint, many lovely ports in this horizontal. They are though, naturally, evolving. I would have said that a '66 tasted in 2014 and one tasted in say 2019 would have been fairly indistinguishable, as if suspended in time. Not so with this selection. A slight but noticeable drop in depth of colour, still richly red but not the deeper ruby red from 5-10 years ago when the '66s could be routinely darker than the '70s.
The ports from this tasting continue to offer plenty of fruit, but in quite a few cases that fruit is just beginning to exhibit signs of drying out. And for many tasted this time, a slight bitterness is creeping into the taste profile, albeit late on the palate, and not a detrimental bitterness in any way. Just that it was not there previously.
What remains consistent is that you can trust that popping a cork on a '66 is highly likely to bring you a splendid port.
Dolomore, Graham and Dow topped the chart for me, though the Graham being more like Dow than Graham. I threw my own Croft half a point - on this showing it was maybe the only port that offered soft, mature sweetness, without any bitter element. Though if offered the Croft blind and asked to guess which year I would have guessed '63 not '66.
The Warre and Smith Woodhouse I also thought were very good, and indeed the Noval and Gould Campbell were perfectly fine, though perhaps better offerings of both of these have been tasted in the past. Offley and Sandeman didn't manage to reach the high notes this time round, RV was OK but more evolved. Fonseca sadly with a hint of TCA was hampered and the Taylor also had some flaws that held it back. Delaforce was long into its watery grave.
The Ferreira (opened to replace the spot vacated by Taylor), wasn't quite singing - a few of us had a far superior showing recently.
And finally, the T66 Colheita - very lovely indeed.