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RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Roy Hersh     » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:39 pm

Please do feel free to start submtting your questions for Richard to respond to. He'll be visiting daily this week beginning Monday, August 10th. He is an expert on Port, Madeira and has a great deal of knowledge regarding Douro wines too; so now is the time to ask his opinion on anything that is related. This is a fun opportunity for us all to learn :scholar: and improve the collective Port wisdom that will be shared.


Richard,

We at :ftlop:

[welcome.gif] you

and I will now [1974_eating_popcorn.gif]
Ambition driven by passion, rather than money, is as strong an elixir as is Port. http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Derek T.     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:49 am

Hi Richard,

Welcome to :ftlop:

Here is an easy one to start off the week :wink:

What do you think have been the most significant changes to the Port industry during the period in which you have been interested in and working with it?

Derek
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Moses Botbol     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:38 am

Where do you think port consumption will go in 20-30 years?

What are your 5 favorite post war ports?
Welsh Corgi | F1 | Port Wine
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Michael M. » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:00 am

Dear Richard,

First of all: Great to have you here!

My questions:

Will there ever be a hype on Port like on top notch Bordeaux? If not, why not?

Do you think that global heating will cause serious problems in medium term on producing top notch Port?

Which producers of Port are at present the most underrated?

Thank you.
Michael
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Luc Gauthier » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:38 am

Richard , on your site you give your take on the class of 2007 .
You state also that Peter Symington compares It to 1970 .
What's your view ?
Vintage avant jeunesse/or the other way around . . .
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Andy Velebil     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:35 am

Luc Gauthier wrote:Richard , on your site you give your take on the class of 2007 .
You state also that Peter Symington compares It to 1970 .
What's your view ?

Luc,
good question and I'm curious to know too as I've heard it compared to what the 1966's were like when they came out.
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Frederick Blais     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:44 am

What is your view on the evolution of the Port industry, what happened in the last 10 years and what is ahead. Many Port shippers have been bought and consolidated, same has happened into vineyards. On the other hand we have never seen so much growers going out and selling their own wines/Port. Do you think this thrend will continue?
Port Disciple from Montreal
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:06 am

Thank you Roy. I feel very honoured to be your first guest on the forum. I will be checking in every day this week to answer questions. Please field anything you like and I will try and answer as soon as I can. It will give me a great deal of pleasure to look back at my tasting notes which go back 25 years!

Do take a look at my new website www.richardmayson.com for my views on Port, Madeira, Portuguese wines or anything else I might be tasting/drinking at the moment. However in August I am having a (nearly) alcohol-free month. We all have to do it sometime!
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:31 am

Dear Derek,

Good to see another Derbyshire Port fan posting a question via Seattle (we live 30 minutes away from each other). Thank you for your question. It is not as easy as it sounds.

There have been so many changes since I first beacame interested in Port and the Douro valley (1980) that it is difficult to know where to start.

At that time Portugal was just emerging from a very turbulent period (the revolution took place in 1974/75) and I remember feeling when I first visited the Douro that it was still feudal. Conditions on many of the Port quintas were still mediaeval. Electricity supply was sporadic at best and many properties did not have power supply at all. Hence Port grapes were either foot-trodden or sent to central wineries owned by the main shippers (or co-operatives) where autovinification was best method of production (needing no power).

Since then there have been huge changes throughout the industry from viticulture (replanting), through wine making (stainless steel and temperature control barely existed in the early 1980s) to the marketing of Port. I suppose all the changes mean that Port is a much better and more consistent product than it was then. Viticulture is much better (the Port shippers own more vineyard and exercise much more control than they used to), vinification is much more scientific, quality control is much more rigourous and the marketing of Port is much clearer and more carefully targetted (viz the demise of so called 'Vintage Character').

Although the Port trade has amalgamated through mergers and takeovers in recent years, many family owned estates have started out on their own so in that sense the Port trade has fragmented. In 2007 I have tasted Vintage Port from over 60 producers (many of them small single quintas) making this the most widely declared vintage ever!

So the changes have been profound and hugely beneficial to Port drinkers. There is more high quality Port out there (from basic Ruby to great Vintage) than ever before.

I hope that I have done justice to your question Derek but I fear not!
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:50 am

Dear Moses,

I think Port consumption will have fallen in 20 - 30 years time but I can't say by how much. The large European markets (France, Belgium, Holland etc.) are unsustainable over the medium to long term. Prices will have to rise and that favour premium wines than producers. Less but better!

My five favorite post-war Ports: (very difficult to choose so I have indulged myself a little).

Croft 1945
Dow 1945
Niepoort 1955
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1963
Fonseca 1966 - the Wine Society (UK) bottling.
Graham 1970

And to finish a glass of Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old Tawny.

With that I am in Port heaven.

Best Wishes

Richard
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Glenn E.     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:56 am

Hi Richard, welcome to FTLOP!

Your book, Port and the Douro (2nd edition), was the first book I ever read about Port. It was one of the reasons I got hooked on this little hobby that we all love. Thank you for such an informative and enjoyable read!

My question for you is a relatively simple one: which Ports from the 2007 vintage surprised you the most? Not necessarily which ones you thought were the best... that's in your ratings... but the little Quinta that no one has ever heard of that produced something beyond expectations or the big name that tossed out a dud.

Richard Mayson wrote:And to finish a glass of Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old Tawny.

My favorite 20 Year Old Tawny. [cheers.gif]
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:19 am

Luc,

2007 is like no other vintage that I have tasted at this stage (and I go back to 1983). Most Vintage Port is the product of a hot year and 2007 was relatively cool, redeemed only by a fantastic September / October when the weather usually breaks.

By no means all the wines are great or even good. There are far too many seemingly green, unripe wines (see my full appraisal of the vintage on http://www.richardmayson.com) and I think a lot of producers have jumped on the vintage bandwagon without really thinking about the wines they have produced. It is very much a 'Symington vintage' with great wines from Dow, Graham and Warre, albeit in different house styles.

In answer to both you and Andy I really hope it is a 1966 or 1970 because inn general these wines turned out so well but as I was in short trousers at the time these years were declared I can't say for certain!

Time will tell.

With Best Wishes

Richard
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Derek T.     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:15 pm

Richard,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It is hard to believe that the conditions you describe existed within our lifetime in a country so close to home.

Regards
Derek
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Marc J.     » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:48 pm

Richard,

I'd be interested in your views on Single Quinta releases and the evolving role that they might play in the overall Port industry. Since the change in regulations in the 80's, SQ releases have grown in popularity and I was wondering what you thoughts might be on their future. Thanks!

Marc
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:20 am

Dear Frederick,

Thank you for your pertinent questions. I have partly answered them in response to a number of other enquirers above.

I think consolidation was very necessary in the Port industry and was largely brought about by the fact that the multinational companies (who came to the rescue of the Port industry in the 1960s) simply pulled out. Although there is almost no multinational presence in the Port business now, I think that consolidation will continue leaving a a few big groups and a larger number of niche players. These niche players will either be the smaller shippers that survive and the successful single estates. My feeling is that there are now too many of the latter (induced to set up on their own by cheap money in the form of European loans and grants) and that there will have to be some consolidation here over the medium term. However I think it is fair to say that the diversity has never been greater with large shipping groups, small individual shippers and single quintas now making both Port and Douro wine. This is a very healthy situation and, as far as I can see, is set to continue.

I hope that answers your question Frederick

With Best Wishes

Richard
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:41 am

Dear Marc,

Single Quinta Ports have been growing in number since the late 1970s. As I see it there are two main reasons for this. Firstly Port production is much improved and wines of potential vintage quality are being produced by the shippers nearly every year (2002 and 1993 being the most recent exceptions). The shippers have therefore used the single quinta concept as a vehicle for declaring and selling earlier maturing vintge Port from good years inbetween full declarations. This is to the great benefit of all of us as we get to drink some lovely vintage Ports at around ten years old and at a very reasononable price (viz the 1996s and 1998s which are on the market now).

The second reason for the single quinta movement (and I think this is the main point of your question) was the change in regulations that followed Portugal's accession to the then EEC in 1986. This combined with the increased availability of invesment capital in the form of loans and grants from the European Union has prompted a large number of estates to go it alone. A number of properties are doing a great job (I won't mention all their names here) and have already established themselves as brands in their own right, carving out a niche for themselves with both Port and Douro wine. Others (and I fear there are many not just in the Douro but in Portugal as a whole) will fall by the wayside and there will undoubtedly be some more consolidation. The current financial crisis which in my opinion has not as yet had its full impact in Portugal may well be the catalyst for this.

Having said that, as I wrote in my reply to Mr Frederick Blais (above) there is room for plenty of diversity in the Port trade and the current mix of large shipping groups, smaller niche shippers and single quintas will continue but there will inevitably be some more consolidation in the sector.

I hope that answers your question.

With Best Wishes

Richard
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Richard Mayson » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:04 am

Dear Derek,

I was very lucky as a teenager to spend a few months travelling round Portugal by bus. Outside the big cities (Lisbon and Oporto) which had grown hugely with mass migration from the countryside from the 1960s onwards, Portugal was a different world. The countryside was very inaccessible, roads were poor (not helped by lack of investment in the period following the revolution) and many rural communities were totally isolated without much in the way of infrastructure. For me as a teenager between school and university it was both fascinating and painful to see. Behind the often picturesque façade the poverty was dire (and in places it still is). The revolution which brought about a radical social change in the cities took a great deal longer to have an impact in the countryside, especially the rural north. The big change came when Portugal joined the then EEC (now EU) in 1986 and the country has been catching up at breakneck speed ever since. There are some painful social consequences but the change has been largely positive with the shanty towns in Lisbon swept away and greatly improved infrastructure (now better in many respects than in the UK!)

The Douro which suffered like all parts of rural Portugal from massive migration in the 1960s and early 1970s has developed along with the rest of the country and is now by and large a modern wine producing region able to compete with the best in the world. The changes in the economy have brought new challenges. Viticulture in the Douro will always be labour intensive and labour costs have risen rapidly. Stacking shelves in an air-conditioned supermarket in Vila Real is thought of by many younger people as a better job than picking grapes in the heat of the day in the Douro. But the Port trade has shown its ability to adapt, from autovinification in the 1960s through new vineyards and specially adapted tractors in the 1980s to robotic lagares today.

Just a few ramblings of my own to share with you.

Best wishes

Richard
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Rui Pereira » Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:14 am

Good Morning World!!!

I'm writting from Portugal, land of the GREAT Port wine.

It's my first post here and I'd like to be thankfull to Roy for inviting Richard to come and to Richard to accept it.

I've several questions to make and here they are:

Richard,

- Excepting Quinta do Noval where can we find other filoxera vineyards at Douro Valley?
- Concerning that we can find many different styles of Port wine, which one do you prefer? Why?
- Do you think that Port wine companies will restart increasing their sails? What should they do?
- Do you prefer old Vintages or old Tawnies? Why? Which brand particulary?
- Why Port wine is so much cheaper abroad rather then in Portugal?
- Which brands are more popular abroad?
- Are you used to find many corked Port wines?
- What do you think about the use of screw cup on the bottles of Port wine?

Many thanks in advance.

I'll be back.

Rui Lourenço Pereira
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Theo Z. » Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:31 am

Dear Richard,

It is a true pleasure to read your posts and to share just a little in your wealth of knowledge and experience regarding Port wines. My question is simple. In addition to the 1963 Quinta do Noval Nacional, which are your other favorite Noval Nacionals in the post-1963 period?

Ted
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Re: RICHARD MAYSON VISITS FTLOP

Postby Eric Menchen     » Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:12 am

Richard, thank-you for joining us here for a little while, and for all your insights thus far. Above you wrote:
Richard Mayson wrote:2007 ... It is very much a 'Symington vintage' with great wines from Dow, Graham and Warre, albeit in different house styles.
Are you suggesting that for 2007 these labels are different from their normal house styles in other years; or merely that Dow, Graham, and Warre are different from each other with their own house styles as exhibited in other years?
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