Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 24 August 2018

Portable Scotland

Misty scene @Vila Nova de Gaia
Below: the Douro Valley


Having two Portuguese friends visiting Scotland for the first time we thought that, despite the beauties of the Scottish Highlands and the West Coast, they might come to feel a little homesick, especially with the shock of coming from 35˚-40˚C Faro to 20˚C max Scotland. With this in mind we laid in a trio of Vintage Ports to entertain them.

Two came from Taylor and one from Cockburn, so two from a company founded by an Englishman – Peter Bearsley – and one founded by two Scots – Robert and John Cockburn.

1970 Vintage(s)
Cork from the 1970 Vintage Port, Taylor 

We drank the three Ports in turn over several days – moderation always ensuring that we could try them again on the second night.

Our 'Portable Scotland' began with the 1970 Vintage Port from Taylor. The two wines from Taylor are part of a generous legacy from one of my godfathers. The label had disappeared. I could only identify the bottle by the stamped on details on the top of the lead capsule and then by the cork, which remarkably came out complete – a rare occurrence I find with an old Port. All too often the last part of the cork snaps off. Yes, I do have a cork fork remover but unfortunately I left it behind in London.

The 1970 Taylor was still quite youthful but on the first night the alcohol in the finish was surprisingly noticeable. This lessened the longer the 1970 was in the decanter. It also opened up. Drinking the rest on the second night the whole balance was better with additional weight but still some alcohol in the finish.

1970 Cockburn
1970 Vintage Port, Cockburn
Bottled in 1972 by Berry Bros & Rudd, Ltd, London

The 1970 Cockburn was the big surprise. I had assumed that the Cockburn 1970 would be the least impressive of the trio, so had sandwiched it between the two Ports from Taylor. In fact it was quite the reverse as the Cockburn was sensational with lovely balance between the fruit, alcohol and acidity. Initially the fruit seemed a little two-dimensional but it rapidly opened up and broadened up. A great Vintage Port with the potential to last many more years from a time when companies were still allowed to bottle Vintage Ports outside Portugal.

1966 Taylor
1966 Vintage Taylor bottled in 1968

The main label of this 1996 Vintage Taylor's Port has been missing for a while. This may be, like the Cockburn Vintage, a London bottling. This 1966 had impressive, concentrated, supple and decidedly youthful cherry fruit – long and seductive – but like the 1970 from Taylor the alcohol in the finish was quite present and not seamlessly integrated as it was in the Cockburn. Again on the second night the alcohol was in better balance.

Summing up the 1970 Cockburn was clearly the best of the trio, followed by the 1966 from Taylor and then their 1970.


No comments: