1994 Vintage Port: the cream of a very great year.
1994 is a quite outstanding Port year. It is one of the three great declared vintages of the past three decades (alongside 2000 and 2011), and it will most likely outrank 1963 and 1966. It will certainly better 1970, and 1977 doesn't even get a look in. From the outset the wines were characterised by a concentrated core of ripe fruit, and a remarkable flesh round the structural bones, an overall impressive combination of concentration, class, definition and refinement.
In the summary of my first tasting of them in July 1996 I noted that the best had a beauty and scope which reminded me of the best I had drunk from 1948 and 1955! Given all this, there is a surprisingly narrow price differential between the lesser and the greater, especially compared with other classic regions. And, considering the prices of top claret and burgundy, they still seem remarkable value. I have no doubt that, for vintage port lovers, the top wines will be the gold dust of the future.
Twenty years of age is the traditional point at which to start looking at drinking fine vintage port - early maturity. So a perfect time at which to have a look at these.
Richard Mayson, Port guru, will be on hand for much of the time, along with copies of the new edition of his "Port and the Douro", and there will be a glass of 1983 Graham, with Stilton, to enjoy at the end of the tasting.
NB This will be a stand up / help yourself tasting, running from 4pm to 8.30pm. There will of course be clipboards, tasting sheets, and somewhere to sit if you want to taste seated.
1994 Smith Woodhouse
1994 Gould Campbell
1994 Ramos Pinto
1994 Martinez Quinta da Eira Velha
1994 Quinta do Noval
1994 Quinta do Vesuvio
1983 Graham, with Stilton
14 Wines, plus Cheese ...... £116