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Famous Vintages

March 6, 2013
Question by: Carmen, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

Q:

May I know what is the famous vintage of Port Wine?

A:

Asking a wine maker their most famous Vintage is rather like asking a parent to name their favourite child.  We enjoy all of our Vintage Ports for their individual characters whether made in famous years or not!  That said, for the critics and consumers there certainly are some years with extraordinary reputions - and justly so. 

Focussing first on mature, post-war Port Vintages, 1945, 1963, 1970, and 1977 are all years that were declared by almost all of the Port makers of the time and are all widely considered "benchmark" or "classic" vintages, against which other years are judged.  Graham's 1945 has been hailed by Michael Broadbent as "consistently the best of that magnificent vintage", the 1963 Warre's Vintage Port is a universal favourite that still enchants those lucky enough to enjoy it, and the Ports from 1970 and 1977 are all excellent, with each of our brands having their ardent admirers.

But there's more!  A number of harvests are beloved by connoisseurs for their outstanding quality, but are less generally well known either because of small production or because they were overshadowed by prior strong declarations - 1948, 1966, and 1980 all fall into this category.

Finally, of the more recent declarations, too young to yet be called "classic" or "benchmark" but much appreciated by those who understand young Port and can anticipate its ageing potential, 1994, 2000 and 2007 are all very highly sought-after.  Paul Symington recently led a tasting of Vintage Ports, and as he savoured the Dow's 1994 himself he commented that he was certain 1994 would ultimately prove to be one of the great Vintages of the 20th century, alongside 1945, 1963 and 1970.  Warre's 2000 Vintage Port swept the awards at the 2003 International Wine Challenge, bringing home not just a Gold Medal, but both The Port Trophy and The Fortified Wine Trophy.  And between them, Dow's 2007, Warre's 2007 and Graham's 2007 were awarded 291 out of 300 possible points by the Wine Spectator, with Dow's 2007 scoring a perfect 100.

You see why it's difficult for us to pick just one famous Vintage?



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