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The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Andy Velebil     » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:27 pm

My fellow Port lovers,

Here is the official planning thread for what is being talked about HERE IN THE SIX GRAPES vs. NOVAL BLACK THREAD

So lets start planning [yahoo.gif]
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Glenn E.     » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Late March seems to be a popular time frame. I'm busy helping deplete the Port reserves of NYC the weekend of St. Patrick's Day (3/16-3/18), but the next weekend would work great.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Andy Velebil     » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:37 pm

Glenn E. wrote:Late March seems to be a popular time frame. I'm busy helping deplete the Port reserves of NYC the weekend of St. Patrick's Day (3/16-3/18), but the next weekend would work great.

That (Later March) should work for me as well
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby John M.     » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:39 am

Exactly what Rubies are we tasting so I can start buying?

I would probably open our bottles 24 hours before the event (it may be ideal to have similar opening times).
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Eric Menchen     » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:39 pm

Well, the original discussion was Six Grapes vs. Noval Black, so start with those. If I do something, I'd throw in Broadbent Auction Reserve (made be Niepoort last one I opened), and for completeness the next thing might be Fonseca Bin 27. I'm sure we could come up with more, but I was thinking four bottles + a non-reserve. I like the idea of throwing in an LBV or maybe even a (second label?) VP to see if people notice the difference.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby John M.     » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:16 pm

Black, Bin 27 & Six Grapes are a given. I just want to go along with everyone else so the tasting is on similar footing. Personally, I don't want to add an LBV of SQVP, there are too many rubies that will get excluded and I'd rather have more than fewer for comparison purposes within the class. But that's just MHO.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Derek T.     » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:57 pm

OK - I've ordered the Six Grapes for the London event.

According to Wine Searcher, the other ruby reserves available here in the UK are…

Churchill Reserve
Cockburn Special Reserve
Croft Distinction
Croft Triple Crown
Delaforce Paramount
Dow Midnight
Dow Trademark
Fonseca Bin 27
Fonseca Terra Prima
Graham Six Grapes
Noval Black
de la Rosa Finest Reserve
Ramos Pinto Collector
Sandeman Founders Reserve
Taylor First Estate
Warre Warrior

The ports I would like to include are highlighted in red, but I'm not particularly wedded to any of them.

Could the guys in NYC, WA and CA (and anyone else thinking of doing this) please do a similar list so that we can match them up and come up with a list that we can all obtain?

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Re: Tête-à-tête: Graham's Six Grapes vs. Noval Black

Postby Roy Hersh     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:54 am

I feel very strongly that these 5 should definitely be in the mix and should be able to be found everywhere. If you can't find them locally, they can be found easily on the www. My only question is: Do we want to add Ruby Reserve bottle number 6 for the tasting (or keep it simple @ 5) and if moving to six, can we agree on which it should be?


a. Graham's Six Grapes
b. Noval Black
c. Cockburn's Special Reserve
d. Fonseca Bin 27
e. Warre's Warrior

I understand Derek's disagreement to the Warre's because of having-three-from-the-Symington's rationale, which does make a lot of sense. Regardless of that fact, I think these are vital to the mix because of how prominent their sales are. Cockburn's is in fact, the leading seller in the world when it comes to any single bottling of Port (unless we look at really cheap plonk that nobody here would consider sipping unless they were forced to live on the street and use it for "nourishment."

I would rather add a sixth to the mix than remove one of these five stalwarts, if we are trying to show that there is no favoritism being played. For me, there is not, in fact I could care less who owns these and Cockburn's is still in diapers when it comes to the Symington's ownership of that historic company. So while I truly understand trying to be fair and balanced, I am just trying to get at which 5 or 6 Ruby Reservas are the best selling in the world's key markets and let's get them tasted blind so we can have some statistics to draw from about preferences by Port enthusiasts who have palates that we can rely on more than the average person who may pick up one of these because they have heard the name before.

So IF there is to be a 6th added, which should it be? Or again, do we just stick to 5?
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Re: Tête-à-tête: Graham's Six Grapes vs. Noval Black

Postby Andy Velebil     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:08 am

Roy Hersh wrote:I feel very strongly that these 5 should definitely be in the mix and should be able to be found everywhere. If you can't find them locally, they can be found easily on the www. My only question is: Do we want to add Ruby Reserve bottle number 6 for the tasting (or keep it simple @ 5) and if moving to six, can we agree on which it should be?


a. Graham's Six Grapes
b. Noval Black
c. Cockburn's Special Reserve
d. Fonseca Bin 27
e. Warre's Warrior

I understand Derek's disagreement to the Warre's because of having-three-from-the-Symington's rationale, which does make a lot of sense. Regardless of that fact, I think these are vital to the mix because of how prominent their sales are. Cockburn's is in fact, the leading seller in the world when it comes to any single bottling of Port (unless we look at really cheap plonk that nobody here would consider sipping unless they were forced to live on the street and use it for "nourishment."

I would rather add a sixth to the mix than remove one of these five stalwarts, if we are trying to show that there is no favoritism being played. For me, there is not, in fact I could care less who owns these and Cockburn's is still in diapers when it comes to the Symington's ownership of that historic company. So while I truly understand trying to be fair and balanced, I am just trying to get at which 5 or 6 Ruby Reservas are the best selling in the world's key markets and let's get them tasted blind so we can have some statistics to draw from about preferences by Port enthusiasts who have palates that we can rely on more than the average person who may pick up one of these because they have heard the name before.

So IF there is to be a 6th added, which should it be? Or again, do we just stick to 5?

I like the list but would add Sandeman Founder Reserve. That one is generally pretty easy to find in nearly every supermarket in the States and would round out an even six bottles.
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Re: Tête-à-tête: Graham's Six Grapes vs. Noval Black

Postby Derek T.     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:19 am

Roy Hersh wrote:I am just trying to get at which 5 or 6 Ruby Reservas are the best selling in the world's key markets

I think this is where we will have difficulty in agreeing a line-up.

If I apply your selection criteria to what is available in the UK the list would be…

Cockburn Special Reserve
Croft Distinction
Dow Midnight
Fonseca Bin 27
Taylor First Estate
Warre Warrior

There are very few places, and almost no big retail outlets, where we can buy Six Grapes or Noval Black.

Rather than focus on "best selling", I would prefer to pull together the six most interesting wines that we can find in every market. It might be that we can only find four or five that are available everywhere, so we would then need to pad out the list in each location with what was of interest.

I know that if I go to the London mob with the six wines I have listed above their interest will be almost zero. All of us get one or two of those bottles as Christmas or Birthday gifts each year and end up pouring half of it into the spaghetti sauce. But if we start including the Six Grapes, Noval Black, Terra Prima and de la Rosa, their interest might spark into life.

I think we need to see what everyone can get their hands on in their local area and take it from there.

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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Andy Velebil     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:23 am

Derek,

Taylor's First Estate is generally pretty easy to get here. The rest, not so easy. Terra Prima is very hard and De La Rosa is super hard, as are many of the others.

I didn't realize Black and Six Grapes are that hard to find in the UK. Then again, I'm sure we could arrange to get you a bottle of those two fairly easily between everyone there.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Andy Velebil     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:28 am

TO keep this simple, here is the list with what is easy or hard to get in the USA in ()

Churchill Reserve (hard)
Cockburn Special Reserve (easy)
Croft Distinction (a bit hard, but depends)
Croft Triple Crown (never seen it sold here)
Delaforce Paramount (never seen it sold here)
Dow Midnight (never seen it sold here)
Dow Trademark (Can be easy depending)
Fonseca Bin 27 (easy)
Fonseca Terra Prima (Hard)
Graham Six Grapes (easy)
Noval Black (not super easy, but fairly easy)
de la Rosa Finest Reserve (Hard)
Ramos Pinto Collector (fairly easy)
Sandeman Founders Reserve (Easy)
Taylor First Estate (easy)
Warre Warrior (easy)

I hope that helps us in narrowing down what is easily available on both sides of the pond so we can do this.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Glenn E.     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:47 pm

Andy Velebil wrote:Taylor's First Estate is generally pretty easy to get here. The rest, not so easy. Terra Prima is very hard and De La Rosa is super hard, as are many of the others.

I've seen Terra Prima and de la Rosa both at my local grocery store. Not recently, though, and I haven't looked through the wine section in any great detail lately so they may no longer be there.

Terra Prima was at Costco for a while, too, as I recall. Haven't seen it there in ages though.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Derek T.     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:35 pm

Andy Velebil wrote:TO keep this simple, here is the list with what is easy or hard to get in the USA in ()

Churchill Reserve (hard)
Cockburn Special Reserve (easy)
Croft Distinction (a bit hard, but depends)
Croft Triple Crown (never seen it sold here)
Delaforce Paramount (never seen it sold here)
Dow Midnight (never seen it sold here)
Dow Trademark (Can be easy depending)
Fonseca Bin 27 (easy)
Fonseca Terra Prima (Hard)
Graham Six Grapes (easy)
Noval Black (not super easy, but fairly easy)
de la Rosa Finest Reserve (Hard)
Ramos Pinto Collector (fairly easy)
Sandeman Founders Reserve (Easy)
Taylor First Estate (easy)
Warre Warrior (easy)

I hope that helps us in narrowing down what is easily available on both sides of the pond so we can do this.

Thanks, Andy.

I've already ordered a 6-pack of Graham's Six Grapes from an online retailer so we will be fine for that. Noval Black is available, but not widely. We will definitely get some.

Let's see if anyone on the east coast chimes in :wink:
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Eric Menchen     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:51 pm

I know you may not be able to get it in the UK, but I'm going to throw in the Broadbent if I manage to host a tasting, because I like it. [berserker.gif]
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Glenn E.     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:13 pm

I'd like to include the Auction Reserve also.

QFC has Warrior, bin 27, Founder's Reserve, Six Grapes, Black, Cockburn's Fine Ruby, and Porto Rocha Fine Ruby.

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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Derek T.     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:38 pm

Here is a slightly different plan:

Until now we have been trying to identify 5 or 6 wines that are available everywhere. We are not rushing towards a consensus.

We could leave the decision of what to include to each local group, thereby expanding the total number of wines tasted to somewhere closer to 10-12, even though each group tasting would only have 5 or 6 wines. There will be an overlap of the most commonly available wines, but it will greatly expand the scope of the eventual review/notes that will result from this event.

How does that sound?

We could perhaps mandate GSG and NB to be included at all events, as they were the subject of the thread that spawned the idea?
Last edited by Derek T. on Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Eric Menchen     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:53 pm

Sounds good to me Derek.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Roy Hersh     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:21 pm

Derek, Works for me too. AGREED especially that the two that must be part of the lineup are the Graham's Six Grapes and Noval Black and if a 3rd was added to the "must" list, it would likely be given due to its 2.5 million cases sold per year which is an astounding number when you look at even the next biggest Reserve Ruby.


Andy, I mentioned Sandeman Founders in the early part of this, when first listing out the RR Ports. It was likely the very first "Vintage Character" Port I had back in the day; before the name of the category changed to Reserve Ruby in 2005.

Glenn, several of your selections are just plain Ruby Ports and not Reserve Ruby and therefore won't make the cut.
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Re: The Reserve Ruby Taste Off

Postby Derek T.     » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:31 pm

Roy Hersh wrote:Glenn, several of your selections are just plain Ruby Ports and not Reserve Ruby and therefore won't make the cut.

Roy, could you please name the offenders? I suspect the list you are referring to belongs to Andy or I as Glenn hasn't produced a list that I can see.

CkSR will probably find its way into most, if not all, line-ups, but let's leave the mandatory ports at the two that started this idea off :wink:
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