Monday, October 10, 2011


Old, fat and suffering from gout is the traditional image of a Port drinker. At least I don't have gout.

We have a few old vintage ports in the cellar but never drink them. If I am to have port it is a very small glass so the option of opening a bottle rarely comes up. Vintage port, unlike ruby or tawny port, not to mention the robust variants from australia, need to be consumed fairly soon after opening kind of like the way a table wine needs to be (within one or two days of being uncorked).

Last night we had a progressive dinner with two of the neighbouring households who were up for the weekend. This happily coincided with the rugby where we watched the South Africa vs Australia game at one house along with pre-dinner drinks and appetisers and the New Zealand vs Argentina game at our house with the main course and the third neighbours dessert. As I knew that there were going to be enough of us (6 adults) I decanted a bottle of 1970 Offley Boa Vista.

The cork was in good condition although compressed which is expected for a 41 year old wine (39 years in bottle) and the wine was in outstanding condition, good for another decade or two. There was a fairly substantial crust which had dropped out to the bottom of the bottle as I had let the wine stand for a fortnight before opening and my trusty silver funnel  see:

allowed me to decant the wine cleanly off it.
This crusty sludge actually tasted great and I used to know someone who would spread it on toast like a jam. He's dead now!
The wine was lovely and clear, shiny almost. With age it had become quite pale being an orangy/pink colour. The nose was still fresh and raisiny but with a bit of 'rancio' (maderised) character. The flavour was rich and fruity with a medium weight to it. This is a good example of an aged vintage, not as big and heavy as the 1970 Warres and Taylors that I have in the cellar but was a good indicator of the development of these which should be good for quite a lot longer.
I bought this wine in about 1974 for about $8. To buy it now (it is available on auction sites and in vintage bottle stores in UK, expect to pay about a hundred quid.


Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

I drip envy.

I adore port, especially with a really good ripe Stilton on water biscuits.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to but good ports out here (they are cheaper in the UK) but I did drink a 1952 vintage Taylors (my birth year, a present from one of the more sophisticated members of my family) in 2002, and it was superb. The beads of wine condensing on the glass as it was swirled. Thick, plumy and gorgeous. Comfort in a glass. My old Regiment used to buy a complete Cheese of Stilton every summer, and one of the Officer's Mess servants duties was to topup the Stilton with a glass of port eery day. (We used to dig out spoonfulls using the special Mess Cheese Silver Spoon from Lucknow)

I used to think it was a waste of port, and that covering the cheese with a damp cloth would do the job, but the older and crustier Majors insisted. If it was good enough in 1858, it was good enough now.

THE WINE GUY said...

Lucky you - must have been a good 50th. Incidentally that's the same birth year as Richard and I. Not the best vintage for Port but a cracking one for good Bordeaux if you can ever get your hands on one (or drop hints coming up to your 60th that 1952 Petrus or Cheval Blanc is drinking superbly about now.

Richard (of RBB) said...

I've had a few McWilliams ports in my time.

Bin Hire said...

Ha ha Richard, I think you're teasing. I too like a fine port.


Well Bin Hire, try Port Said and stay there.

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