1997 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Port 19%

The vintage was rated (by this Rutherglen winery) as 10/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2022 and 2026.  Their first vintage fortified to include a healthy proportion of traditional Portuguese port varietes (60% Shiraz, 25% Touriga, 5% each of tinta cao, tinta barocca and Durif), it was awarded 3 trophies and 13 gold medals at Australian wine shows. “Considered as one of the finest ever produced at Stanton and Killeen. Careful cellaring will reward the patient passionate port lover”.

1997 S&K vp

The cork is short, but in excellent condition. The wine has a deep ruby colour with some bricking; decanting removed a modest crust. Initial aromas included rose-petal, blueberry and raspberry  The palate is bright and fresh, showing sweet (but not overly sweet) red cherry, rhubarb and blueberry fruit, light milk chocolate, choc/mint and an occasional tease of plum, with still appropriately assertive tannins. Spirit is well absorbed.

The complexity and sustain makes this an outstanding wine, with a long future.

95 points, and drink anytime to 2032.

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Recent drinks, mixed

Here are some very brief notes of wines recently consumed where I had little opportunity for leisurely contemplation, and sometimes dim lighting!

Stanton and Killeen are based in Rutherglen (Victoria), and continue to make a Vintage Fortified  (their first vintage was 1971), including some traditional Portuguese grape varieties since the mid 1990’s.  They have conducted several retrospective tastings, and from notes they have published, the cepages, vintage ratings and their – conservative- optimum drinking spans have been included below. They have a number of older vintages still available for sale (here). 

1990 Stanton and Killeen “Moodemere” Vintage Port (100% Shiraz)
The vintage was rated as 8.5/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2010 and 2015. (Stanton and Killeen also released a “jack’s block” Vintage Port from that year, rated as 9.5/10)

Served blind, I estimated this wine to be around 25 years old. Deep red colour with some bricking; camphor, lavender, musk, salted almond; dark fruits, mocha, spirit, cocoa. Plenty of time ahead – drink to 2030 and 92 points.

2004 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Fortified (30% Shiraz, 19% Durif, 21% touriga, 10% each of tinta cao, tinta roriz and tinta barocca).

The vintage was rated as 8.5/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2020 and 2024, and was awarded 5 gold medals and 4 silver medals at various Australian wine shows – “decadence, cocoa, relatively dry, wholesome”. Drink to 2030 and 93 points.

2005 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Fortified (32% Shiraz, 32% Durif, 16% each of tinta cao, 10% tinta roriz and 10% touriga).

The vintage was rated as 9/10, with a suggested drinking window between 2022 and 2026, and was awarded 1 trophy and 10 gold medals at Australian wine shows. Cocoa, raspberry and blackberry jam. This wine was amazingly vibrant, chewy with beautifully integrated spirit and fine tannins –  a long decant and further cellaring is highly recommended. Drink to 2040, and 95 points.

2015 Pressing Matters r9 Riesling
Tasmanian (Coal river valley) with around 9 g/l residual sugar; (the company also typically releases an r0, R39, r69 and r139 Rieslings), abundant vitality, clean citrus notes and the level of sweetness sits well with its framework of acidity; while it will keep, I would drink this wine while it is in a vibrant phase; anytime to 2025, and 89 points.

2005 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 7%
Excellent winemaker, excellent site, and an excellent vintage in the Mosel, so I had high expectations. The wine is pale and youthful, with exciting viscosity, a touch of petroleum overlaying ripe red apple, flintiness and delicacy. Irresistible, so 93 points and drink anytime to 2030.

1997 Chateau Reynella Vintage Port 19%

McLaren Vale Shiraz, bottle number 17580. The very dry cork disintegrated despite my  best efforts with massed gadgetry, and some filtering was required to remove fine sediment.

1997 ch reynella vp

The wines is still a deep ruby colour with trivial bricking; aromas include red liquorice, black cherry, blackberry and mocha, with sweet spice notes present too. The palate is rich, sweet and fresh with greater blackberry fruit impact; the brandy spirit is deliciously balanced, the liquorice materialises with the blackberry, spices and light mocha, and there is a prolonged, pleasingly drying finish.

At 21 years, this wine has reached an excellent drinking plateau.

93 points, and drink to 2030.

 

 

1985 Taylor’s Vintage Port 20.5%, again

I reviewed a bottle of this wine in April 2016, so it proved an interesting exercise to read my old comments, score and drinking window after writing this newer note. Thankfully, there were similar descriptions and conclusions.

1985 taylors vintage port

From a widely declared (but not regarded as a wonderful) year, this Portuguese Vintage Port is in a attractive drinking zone.  The cork broke a little when I opened the wine, but was in excellent condition for its 30-odd years. Decanting was needed to remove sediment, and away we went!

The Taylor’s website is user-friendly and their assessment of the vintage and this wine is here, along with plenty of other useful information.

A ruby colour, with some age-appropriate bricking on the rim, the wine displayed a mix of floral red and black fruits (mulberry, fig and plum) plus other characteristics including oatmeal and hazelnut. The spirit was generous and well integrated.

The palate was mellow and savoury, with mixed mocha and chocolate cream characters,  with minerally flint and iron notes, then the generous baking spices followed. Tannins are fine, but certainly present.

All up, this is a delicious wine, drinking irresistibly. I purchased a few bottles of this wine at auction in October 2015, and have been delighted with the results, with one bottle left.

Drink to 2030, and 95 points.

 

PS – Jancis Robinson has recently been running a competition about how people started on their wine journey- my published entry is here.

 

Assorted recent drinks

1979 DF vp2008 dow's lbvp 1970 warre's vp

David Franz AD 1979 Vintage Port 17.4%
Its terrific to see a 37-year-old fortified wine from South Australia. Made by Peter Lehmann, and tidied up and recorked by son David Franz; Barossa Shiraz with some Langhorne Creek Cab Sav.

The colour is a dark brick, and there is plenty of richness and softness, but also vitality. Mocha, liquorice, cardamon, orange rind, with a dash of camphor lift. Clean brandy spirit, plus figgy, dark caramel flavours, dried fruits and not nuttiness. The wine is not overblown, its gentle and reflective; a lovely piece of history that drinks compellingly.

Some people may prefer less bottle development, but this is a tribute to Barossa fruit longevity, its maker, sourcing and survival. And it may still be available in a few places for around $50. All up, a very welcome experience

Drink to 2020, 88 points

2008 Dow ‘s LBV (late-bottled vintage port) 20%
I don’t taste many of this style; more mellow than a vintage port, and substantially cheaper, these are bottled between 4 and 6 years after harvest, They are a “nearly” vintage port, with the decision on the style happening early. There are filtered and unfiltered versions, some sealed with a stopper, and debate about whether the wines can improve in bottle. An excellent discussion is on Roy Hersh’s (mostly paid) site.

Dense and cloudy,  light ruby/mahogany colour. Ripe dark cherry and slightly raw oak. Silky ripe mouthfeel, plum and light red liquorice flavours,  clean bright spirit. Brisk, and tastes youthful. This is a wine that won’t change much and there is no advantage with further cellaring.

Drink now, 89 points

1970 Warre’s Vintage Port
Decanted, due to a vast amount of sediment. We learned that this bottle had less than stellar cellaring conditions. Pale ruby in colour, the notes of almond meal, putty, mocha and rose-petal were sufficient to sway me to its Portuguese origins. Spirit looked plain, and a bit awkward, but the other characteristics offset this. The wine was quite sweet,  with dark jam and fig elements. Rich, but with energy and just a superfine sustained palate. A terrific year for VP’s though; the wine was consumed with gusto and hugely appreciated. A generous piece of history.

Drink to 2030, 93 points, and potentially other bottles will be better..

2003 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 19.5%

The widely declared 2016 Portuguese Vintage ports have seen numerous positive reviews, many mentioning their fruit richness and surprising early approachability (albeit with maturation to come over the next few decades).  I took the opportunity to visit a heatwave 2003 wine,  another generally declared vintage year.

Quinta do Noval is well-known for its Nacional vintage port – which I have never tasted- and their earlier-drinking Silval, but the wine reviewed is their standard model. These wines are imported into Australia by Bibendum, and are widely available. Noval  follow the beat of their own drum, with recent vintage ports released from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016; whereas most other houses only declared 2011, 2015 and 2016.

2003 qdn

The cork has done its duty, the colour of the wine is a very solid dense red, with some bricking on the rim. The bouquet is ultra-complex; mulberry, liqueur cherry, plumcake spices, green olive, almond, blueberry and cocoa. The palate is an elegant full-bodied style; flavours coat the mouth, there is the tension between blue, red and black fruits. Blackcurrant is in the mix now with red liquorice. The fortifying spirit has melded, the super-silky tannins are present within the swathe of rich ripe fruit.

At this age, the wine is generous, juicy, approachable and delicious, but has the stuffing to mature with grace for another 20 years.

An easy 94 points, and drink up to 2035.

1997 Campbells Vintage Port 18.5%

Rutherglen, 100% Touriga, a terrific year in the district and a very pleasing result.

This a much better bottle than one tried a few months ago. The cork broke, but it was in terrific shape with hardly any travel, and a quick filter did the trick.
1997 campbell's vp
Dark ruby with some amber/bricking on the meniscus, enticing aromas of blueberries, more red berry than dark, some cocoa, spice  and liquorice add to the thrill; the palate is simply lovely, not a sweet one-dimensional style, but (lovely brandy) spirit is integrated, some dense sweet fruit allied with savouriness, fruitcake, nutmeg and intense blue and dark- red fruits. Onto day 3 and there is plenty of life left in this wine, which reveals more with each sip . By no means a blockbuster, the wine has layers of complexity. An excellent result from this grape variety, used in so many of the Portuguese VPs.

Drink to 2030, and 94 points.