The fourth in a series…
Vintage Port is perhaps one of the least approachable in the Port family. It requires different handling than its more readily drinkable little brothers and sisters (Tawnys and LBV’s). First of all, it requires proper aging in order to develop as it should. This means proper cellaring.
What makes this wine so special is that it’s only declared during exceptional growing seasons and only after it spends two years in oak. You won’t find vintage ports from every year. Typically only an average of three years per decade are judged worthy of being declared. It will be tasted many times before it’s considered superior enough to be bottled as such.
Even though the 2011 harvest was a good one, we won’t know if it’s declared as a vintage year until the spring of 2013.
The last Taylor Fladgate vintage declared was 2009. Because of an exceptionally dry hot ripening season, there were very low yields but extremely concentrated fruit. It will likely become one of the iconic ports of the 20th century.
In the past, the wine produced for vintage port was extremely tannic and needed decades to mature enough to be consumed. Today’s ports are different. They are so rich in ripe fruit and have tannins that are so well balanced, that they are drinkable after only five years.
When serving a vintage Port, I like to think back to what I was doing the year it was bottled. The traditional method of decanting the wine is to back light with a candle pouring slowly so that you can see when the sediment is about the enter the decanter. It will throw quite a bit of sediment and some may get in which is called butterfly wings and is completely harmless.
I happen to have a bottle of vintage port that is ready to share with four other port lovers. Send me a letter of consideration as to why you should be among those at the table and I’ll pick my favourites and let you know the particulars of the event.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter.