1985 Gould Campbell Vintage Port 20%

Gould Campbell is a less-renowned part of the Symington group. I am alert to wines that outperform their putative status, which may be available for reasonable prices. Langtons auction site records recent sales of this Portuguese Vintage Port for a respectable $110 (plus buyers commission).


No photo of this wine in a glass alas, as the lunch group merrily consumed the wine. The cork was wizened and soaked, but had performed its duty over 30 years. The white smear on the bottle is the chalk mark (or splash mark) showing the upper side of the bottle in its cellaring state. I let the bottle stand for several days, opened it (with an ah-so), and carefully decanted to the remove the sediment that had settled.

The colour was a dark ruby; the aromatics were blueberry and cream, with some complexing licorice, fig and almond. The wine was very approachable, lively and rich, with mocha and cocoa dust making an impression; clean acidity and a warm, and long mouthfeel completed the picture. The spirit was deliciously integrated with the fruit.   It seems to be at the sweeter end of the Portuguese drier-than-Australian vintage port styles, but no shame here.  It’s a wine in a delightful drinking window, with no danger signs of decrepitude. I was very happy with this wine’s generous flavours, and impressed with its delightful performance at the lunch.

Drink to 2030; 95 points.


2009 Sainsbury’s late-bottled vintage port 20%

In London with my family after being in Germany and Italy. Not a wine trip, so purchased this from the local supermarket for 9 pounds. Sourced from Symington stocks of Portuguese material. (I don’t think this style is made in Australia).

Late bottled vintage ports are held in oak for a longer period than vintage ports; this softens them somewhat; whether there will be improvement after bottling depends partly on how (or if) they are filtered, and how brawny you like them.  In any case, its safer to consume them early. Stylistically they are more like a vintage port than a tawny, and once opened drink within a few days.sainsbury lbvp

Deep crimson colour, dense and healthy; muscadels, spices, and sweet spirit. There is real plumcake on the palate, marinated red and blue fruits, and a sense of restraint and balance between fruit and spirit. A nice attack of tannins making this very gluggable wine. A bit more stuffing would have made a better wine, but no complaints at the price for this style.

Drink to 2019; score 87 points.