So in the middle of a relentlessly busy Christmas season, we have decided to taste a slew of 2007 Vintage Ports. Because we can. I'm not going to bother mentioning the colour as I think it's fairly obvious that Port this young will be dark and impenetrable and purple. And there's only so many times I can write that before I start describing wine as 'mauve'. And no one wants that, trust me.
I'm also not going to comment on the alcohol 'heat' of these unless it seems aggressive/disjointed. It's young Port, and prone to a touch of heat. These things mellow with time. Hopefully.
Quite meaty on the nose, with ripe, sweet plums and liquorice. There's a wee note of winter spice as well.
That savoury meatiness from the nose comes through right at the beginning. Cured, smoked meat that then sheds into a honey glaze, roast plums and cinnamon. The tannins have grip, but they're not quite as backward as I was expecting.
Spearmint and blueberries on the nose. Quite herbaceous.
Ridiculously sweet fruit and tannin - bursting with blackberries and plums, right up until the underbrush backbone of tannin kicks in - there's also a hint of struck match in the middle. Needs eons.
Fresh on the nose - bright cranberries and glacé cherries.
Crunchy fruit on the palate - gives great mouthfeel and crisp, defined berries and plums. That cranberry-ness gives good definition. Structured.
Quinta do Val Meao 2007
Winter fruit salad on the nose with earthiness on the edges.
The most closed, youthful and bitter on the palate, which strangely enough gets me kind of excited about it. That winter fruit salad comes through on the nose - classic berries and plums but also red apple skin and poached pears. Then comes this intense, backwards wall of nutmeg, bark and cinnamon - rasping and close to bitter. Complex, interesting and groovy.
Very soft on the nose - touch of mint and plum skins.
The fruit and tannins are surprisingly integrated. A more rounded palate with cocoa notes and great mouthfeel. Again, very soft, though with a bit of bite on the finish.
Again, good integration on the nose. Mulling spices and glazed plums.
Very much 'together' already. Everybody's playing nicely with one another. Candied plums and poached pears that go into a spicy, apple skin finish. Not quite as complex as the Meao, but still compelling.
Ripe and juicy on the nose. Quite intense - certainly the most fruit-forward but with a wee tarry bite.
Savoury meat - cherry-glazed ham follows through to eucalyptus and cloves on quite a surprisingly light and clean palate. This is more elegant than I was expecting.
Very clean and pure nose - crisp glacé cherries and rosemary.
Good lift on the palate - youthful but not cloying. The balance between fruit and herb is quite refined and there's a nice structure there too. Light in style, which is no bad thing.
Sexiest nose - the fruit of the Fonseca but with all manner of compelling winter spice as well. Red apple skins, roasted glazed plums and cloves and a hint of flint. Brilliant.
The structure is reminiscent of the Delaforce, though it's holding far sexier components together. Linear and integrated and very dark, the fruit and tannins seem pulled taut together giving a layered palate that's still quite closed, but leaves the impression that when everything comes, it will come in the right place.
Overall, I think this has the hallmarks of a classic vintage. I was pleased how tame the alcohol seemed to be and how relatively balanced it was. House style pervades each of these wines and, for the most part, I think they're showing as they should. My favourite two to taste now were the Meao and the Graham's. They certainly had the most chat and seemed to have the most in place to stand the test of time. All of these are going to last decades, most of them easily and happily reaching a half century. If you're looking for a class vintage to lay down, I would certainly choose this above the 2003s.
Tasted 20/12/2010 at Luvians Bottleshop