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Dec 2, 2009 04:57 PM

Classic Vintage Porto

[We've moved this from a discussion at -- THE CHOWHOUND TEAM ]


No, but I aspire to doing all the Quinta du Noval Nacionals!

The oldest VP that I have had was the Taylor '48. From there, I have had each of their later vintages (the '55 has an * by it, but I hope to rectify that one day), and most of the Fonscea's too. Though I have a ton of Dow's, Croft's, Graham's and several other houses' wines, I am probably more of a Taylor fan (remember, no Quinta du Noval Nacional for me yet), than any other house.

When I expire, I think that my lovely, young wife will have hundreds of glasses to get rid of. I'll tell her to save two for you!


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  1. Taylor 48 is one of my faves. So lush, and more engagingly irrational than the staid 45s. Surprised to hear you mention Crofts. I've never taken them seriously, but they must have had some good vintages I don't know about. I'm a big fan of some of the 7's and 80's vintages of Gould Campbell and Smith Woodhouse. But Graham and Taylor are, of course, my favorites.

    I never tried the 1963 QDN, but I bought a bottle in Spain once for a collector friend who turned me on to all the great ports of the 20th century (and a couple from the previous one). I didn't get to taste it, but his remark was that it was way, way too young :)

    6 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      Considering my Taylor experiences, the '66 is still my fav. The '48 was great, but took second-place. The '70 is often overlooked, but was drinking well about 10 years back, as was the '77. We've gone though most of our '85s, but still have two bottles left. My wife appreciates her VP's on the youngish side, and I usually enjoy those, but really get into them with 20-30 years in a proper cellar.

      I have not visited my '94s, from either Taylor, or Fonseca, in years, but maybe it's time to crack a bottle of each.

      I've not been following some of the later vintages, as I am getting up in years, and worry that I will not live long enough to fully enjoy them - besides, I have a lot of the '60s and '70s, so I probably need to empty those out first.



      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Agreed on 66 Taylor. 63 pretty great, too, and they're two vintages that are fun to compare.

        I'd wait another decade before even peaking in on the 94s. Here's some discussion of the 94s back in 2000, led by Melanie Wong, coming not too long after I was lucky enough to try barrel samples of them all:

        As for the age question, I've always loved the fact that port is the one art form where the artist never experiences the fruition of his very best work!

        1. re: Jim Leff

          Given that you seem to be a huge port fan, I would think it would be worth it to get some "real" port glasses. I recently just got the Riedel Vinum port glasses and they're great!

          Before that though, I used to use the giveaway cognac glasses that came with Remy/Hennessy gift boxes my hubby has received in the past. They're not as nice as the Riedel's but better than using a huge wineglass.

          1. re: arlenemae

            I drink it at home about once per decade! :)

          2. re: Jim Leff

            I should report that I opened one each of my Taylor and Fonseca 1994s in the last year, to see how they were doing. Each was amazingly intense. The Fonseca was pretty open and enjoyable as is; the Taylor, meanwhile, was obviously huge but still rather closed. It's not optimal to open either of them now, but definitely the Fonseca earlier than the Taylor.

          3. re: Bill Hunt

            Interesting! I opened up a 1970 Taylor three years ago and found it still have 'an edge' and not quite ready!

        2. I have a few 63 Dow's but I can't bring myself to open one! Sticking with 85 for the mean time, and the case of 07 wont be touched for a good many years.

          Personally, though, I would sooner have a glass of good white Port.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Steve_K

            Until this moment, I'd considered the "good white Port" to be oxymoronic. Can you point me to one that will blow away my antipathy?

            1. re: Jim Leff

              I'm certainly not saying that I've found a white Port which will blow you away, but I like to have a bottle of Quinta de La Rosa's white in the fridge

          2. Since this subject has moved to Vintage Port, does anyone have a good suggestion of which producer to get for the 2003 Vintage? I'm looking to buy a few bottles to open for future wedding anniversaries (I'm guessing these could even go up to 50th!)

            11 Replies
            1. re: arlenemae

              I know nothing about the vintage, but if you can afford them, you can't go wrong sticking to Graham and Taylor.

              1. re: arlenemae

                I wish that I could help, but at my advanced age, I am not following the newer vintages - I will not live long enough to fully enjoy them. My last vintage was the '00, though if offered a taste of the newer ones, I'd give in. I just doubt that I'd purchase.

                Good luck, and surely someone (much younger) will be able to help.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Welcome to the club!! Like yourself, I too have stopped collecting newer vintage wines. In my case, I have a vertical of d'Yquem from 67 on but I stopped at 2005. Same with some first growth Bordeaux like Latour. Sigh!!!:(

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Yes, my Bdx acquisitions have been cut way back. I hate this getting old, but then do have enough wines in the cellar to keep me going, until my last days.

                    I'll leave these long-lived wines for those in possession of youth. I am no longer part of that club - [insert tears here].


                2. re: arlenemae

                  I had the 03 Dow's at a tasting the other night and was pretty wowed. Obviously, it's not out of diapers yet, but it's got a looong life ahead of it.

                  It's chocolatey, with lots of dark fruit and firm tannins. I recommend.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    That's it. Tempt me in my fragile old age, with new VP's that I will never live long enough to fully enjoy! Maybe I should pick up a couple of bottles, as my lovely, younger wife, does like her VP's with less age, than I do. Maybe she'll enjoy them and I can likely benefit from that. [Grin]


                  2. re: arlenemae

                    I count myself in with those who are no longer buying Vintage Port - switched to half bottles a few (actually more than a few) years back and have now stopped completely (with very rare exceptions).
                    I'm fortunate to have tried many (most?) of those mentioned in this thread.
                    But the reality is that the 'newer' generation have taken over now - the boomers have retired. In my tastings I've noticed some changes in style (and time will tell whether these are improvements).
                    However, one estate that has not had a 'good' medium track record, but did have an older track record is Quinta do Vesuvio. This has regained (IMO) it's former glory and would be my choice as the wine to buy now. But I haven't tasted the 2003.
                    For me, the most relable site for port is
                    (For the love of port = ftlop).
                    Go there and check the notes. I just did a quick search and they have 179 tasting notes for 2003 (although some are Portuguese table wines). The Vesuvio notes are particularly good, with one taster referencing the 1994 Vesuvio (which IMO was the best port from that vintage).

                    1. re: estufarian

                      Now that we can auction off wine in Toronto, I guess I'll start getting rid of some of my collection starting this year! 7-8 producers per vintage year from 70, 77, 83.... 2000 and thats a lot of Port ! I don't think I want to spend the rest of my life just drinking them!

                        1. re: estufarian

                          Cool! Lets do it someday! Add some Riesling to the mix as well?!