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Which Vintage to Enjoy?

February 4, 2013
Question by: Leonard, New York, USA

Q:

Which of the following Vintage Ports is best to drink at an 80th Birthday celebration considering the trade off between vintner quality and maturity?  Burmester 1985, Graham's 2000, Taylor Fladgate 2003

A:

Hi Leonard, You are spoiled for choice!  If the wines have been well-cellared (see our guidelines for Storing Vintage Port) all three should be excellent, though they will offer very different taste profiles.  Charles Symington has described how the flavour profile of Vintage Port matures in bottle, you may want to take a look at his comments on what to expect in each phase of the life cycle. 

1985 was an excellent Vintage, generally known for producing full bodied Ports with concentrated flavours, and after 25 years or so in bottle a 1985 Vintage Port is likely to show flavours of dried fruits, perhaps caramel or spices.  The 2000 Vintage is known for its concentration and the 2003 Vintage for its pronounced ripe fruit and tannic structure, and both of these wines at this time are likely to be showing quite full bodied with predominantly red and black fruit flavours.  There is a chance they may be entering the "dumb phase" that many Vintage Ports enter in their early teens (again, see Charles's discussion), though you will see that the Graham's 2000 was awarded two silver medals in the 2012 blind tasting competitions, so clearly it has been showing well within the past year.  Don't forget to review our guidelines about Decanting Vintage Port and Serving Vintage Port.  Enjoy the birthday celebration, whichever Port you choose to serve!



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