Vintage of the Decade? (the 2007 Port Rampage)

Vinted on June 21, 2010 binned in wine review

First things first, we need to make it clear that I am not an authority on Port, fortified wines, or spirits.

This has everything to do with lack of tasting experience and nothing whatsoever to do with a lack of affection for those general libation categories.  In fact, I have a sweet-tooth and I never, ever turn away the opportunity to try fortified wines, especially when they have the potential of residual-sugariness.

Which is why I was more than happy to visit the tables pouring such libations at the recent Wine Enthusiast Toast of the Town event in D.C. (that’s the event I covered via video in a recent post that you probably didn’t watch, based on the comments and traffic numbers). 

Which is where I went ga-ga over a 2007 Port.  Which wasn’t the first 2007 vintage Port that I’ve tasted, but it was the best 2007 vintage Port that I’ve tasted. I went so ga-ga over it, that I bought a 6-bottle case of it, and it’s the first wine ever to garner an “A+” rating in my “mini-reviews” – meaning that I felt it was damn-near as perfect as perfect gets.

Based on my (admittedly limited) exposure to 2007 Ports, I’m growing increasingly more convinced that Roy Hersh over at For The Love of Port nailed it when he wrote (back in November):

From all accounts 2007 was something very special. As I mentioned, when visiting the Douro during the harvest in 2007, the energy was palpable and virtually everyone we came in contact with, was glowing and chatting us up about the quality of the grapes. Admittedly, there is always some hype surrounding the vintage time, but in 2007, it just “felt” different… I am still somewhat divided in my opinion of this vintage overall. There is no denying that there were many fantastic, well made vintage Ports in 2007. The upshot is that I found myself writing, “the greatest young ______ Port I have ever tasted” from a number of houses. With 2007, they seemed to raise the bar to a distinctly higher level than ever before. On the other hand, I believe that the percentage of truly great Vintage Ports is less than I would have expected from such an exalted vintage.

In other words, while there may not be as many stellar VPs from 2007 as you’d expect from a hyped vintage, the ones that are stellar are really stellar – like, mind-bogglingly stellar

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Weekly Twitter Wine Mini-Reviews Round-up for 2010-06-19

Vinted on June 19, 2010 binned in wine mini-reviews
  • 07 Paraiso "West Terrace" Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands): Think red berry fireworks, only in your mouth. Showing beautifully. $40 A- #
  • 07 Paraiso Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands): Lemon & a sweet touch of vanilla tat are balanced enough to belie 14.5% booze factor. $18 B+ #
  • Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port (Porto): Enough burnt sugar, coffee & caramel to send your sweet-teeth spinning in sheer delight. $50 A- #
  • 07 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port (Porto): Simply put, one of the finest expressions of Port that I've ever tasted. Superb & sublime. $75 A+ #
  • 07 Brokenwood Shiraz (Hunter Valley): An odd bird combo of brambly red fruit & savory sauce, but u might dig the modest booze content. $35 B #
  • 07 Leitz Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau): Can likely last 20+ yrs but you won't want to wait that long. Especially when sushi is calling $22 A- #
  • 08 Olson Ogden "Margaret's Mandate" Marsanne (Napa Valley): Like sitting on a bench eating a peach by an overpriced honeysuckle bush. $35 B+ #
  • 08 Olson Ogden Manchester Ridge Viny'd Pinot Noir (Mendocino): A minor triumph of bright red cherry fruit, smoke & dark spices. Boss! $38 A- #
  • 08 Olson Ogden "Persuasion" Red (North Coast): This leather-clad guy sure is pleasant but he's a bit drunk & going all over the place $19 B- #
  • 05 Three Sticks Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley): A big CA fruit boy in a Bordeaux-designed graphite-&-stone-colored tailored suit. $65 A- #
  • 06 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Cherry fruits galore, deftly balanced on spice. But BIG – so be prepared. $55 A- #
  • 07 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast): Well-made, but could pass for a Syrah. A bit too big for its own britches? $55 B #

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It’s Time For the PLCB to Die (or “There is NO Cabernet Franc”)

Vinted on June 17, 2010 binned in commentary, PLCB

It’s been a while since I railed against the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Not that they haven’t deserved a good railing in the interim, I’ve just been busy with other topics, and the PLCB has been busy raiding PA bars at great taxpayer expense and with no justifiable reason, so they’ve been dealing with plenty of bad press anyway.

But this week, something got published that I had to rail against.  Because, quite honestly, the news is an embarrassment for Pennsylvania taxpayers whose hard-earned cash is going to help fund a government that is supposed to be controlling wine sales in the state, but instead is taking a puke all over customer service and adding almost no value to the average PA consumer.

This news comes by way of Lew Bryson’s excellent blog Why The PLCB Should Be Abolished (hey, at least you know where he stands), recapitulating a Scranton Times-Tribune blog article by David Falchek.  In said blog post, Falchek describes a friend’s encounter at a PLCB wine & spirits store in which a PLCB employee denied the existence of Cabernet Franc.

Not the existence of a particular bottling or brand of Cabernet Franc. The employee denied the existence of Cabernet Franc itself.

Yes, I am totally serious, and No, I have not been drinking…

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