Great Tasting Of The Vintage 1978

ROY'S NOTE:  Sten-Anders Ivarsson´s article focuses on a comprehensive tasting of thirty Vintage Ports from the unheralded, but very solid year of 1978. This continues the trend as in the last newsletter, there was a presentation "Guess the Vintage" about 1978 Vintage Ports as well. I am positive you will enjoy Sten's detailed recounting of this brilliant tasting event in Sweden. It's always great to learn of these types of events held in other countries and see the passion for Port in other parts of the world! 

Sten-Anders Ivarsson is a long time Port lover and retired Professor at Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, in Malmö, Sweden and was involved in Pediatric Endocrinology during his lengthy and illustrious career, with a long list of published works. Nowadays, Sten enjoys taking part in some impressive Port tastings with his local wine club, of which this is just one example.

Sten-Anders Ivarssen 1978 Vintage Port Tasting

Our wine club, ‘The Wine Society 18%’ celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and we have tasted quite a lot of vintage ports during these 20 years. Altogether, it has been 556 different vintage ports ranging from 1873 to 1999. Of course we have tasted a lot from the 21st century too, but they are so young. Unfortunately, we have only tasted 3 vintage ports from the 19th century.

We are 15 members and have five meetings/year and then some extra now and then. We are only 15 members, so we can have quite rare bottles, i.e. 1 bottle is enough. Our meetings are held in Malmö, Sweden. We had planned to have some tasting due to this celebration and started already the year before (i.e. 2012) as we planned our club that year. The first of the celebration tastings was the vintage 1978 and after that we had celebration tastings of the vintages 1979 and 1947 as extra tastings this year. We are also thinking of having a vintage 1963 tasting in the end of this year as we already have more than 35 different port houses from that vintage.

The 1978 vintage was an off vintage that followed the famous 1977 and was neglected as a vintage to save. After a spring with very bad weather, a long and hot summer propitiated some good wines. This is how the Port Wine Institute, IVDP, describes the vintage of 1978, on their web page.

Some produced attractive and delicious vintage port and some houses declared this vintage instead of 1977 for example Quinta de Noval. Some did not declared either 1977 or 1978 for example Cockburn and some both for example Smith-Woodhouse and we have even a new producer's first vintage bottled in Douro (Quinta do Infantado). According to the Port Wine Institute 27 houses declared it and 10 of those was Single Quinta Vintage Port. Broadbent has given this vintage a 2 out of 5 and Suckling 84 out of 100. I have rated it as 'Good to Very Good' i.e. 6 points out of 10.

The Wine Society 18% had a Great Tasting of the vintage 1978 of 30 Houses. Unfortunately, a bottle of Niepoort did not reach us until 2 days after the tasting so we tasted it 1 month later in the Society. Niepoort was amongst the top ports of 1978 and we were very sorry to miss it in our Great Tasting.

The Wine Society 18% has a Great Tasting once a year and we have tasted the following vintages: 1960, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1975 and 1977. Of course 1978 was not as great as most of those but I think it was almost as good the 1975, much better than I believed. It is a quite sweet vintage, mature in colour and they are peaking or a bit old today and drink up this quite charming vintage.

Overall, we think the vintage was very good indeed. 5 of the houses were excellent and I had Guimaraens and Quinta de Cavadinha on top and close to them Quinta de Vargellas, Ferreira and Quinta de Noval Nacional. My major disappointment was Quinta de Noval which I had expected to be much better even if their Nacional was quite good. However, the group had Quinta Eira Velha as the overall top scoring bottling. Unfortunately, 4 of the bottles were not showing their best, but that is perhaps what we can expect after 35 years, or bottle variation?

Wine Club of Malmo Sweden 1978 Vintage Port TastingWe were 16 participants. We often invite guests and if you are visiting Malmö, please let us know and you can maybe participate. The tasting was semi-blind, i.e. we knew which houses participated, but had no idea which Port we had in each glass. In the first glass we had a Cockburn's Late Bottled Vintage Port from 1978. This bottle is not included among tasting points.

Translation of our 20 point scale to the 100 point scale:

We are using 20 points in our tastings. Our translation is not inflation in points nowadays used.

<74  Below Average  <13
75-79  Average  13-14
80-84  Good  14-15
85-87  Very Good  15-16
88-90  Very fine indeed  16-17
91-93  Excellent  17-18
94-96  Outstanding  18-19
97-100  Classic  19-20

The Great Tasting

House: Barros

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature colour.
  • Bouquet: Crème caramel, fudge, toffee and much more in the nose. Quite complex.
  • Taste: Quite full body. Mature and peaking. Fudge in flavour. Sweet. Balanced and elegant port. Perfect developed port with a wonderful finish.
  • Points SAI: 16+
  • Ranking SAI: 9
  • Group points: 16.22
  • Group ranking: 6

House: Dalva

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Almost tawny, mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Delicious bouquet of cacao, dark chocolate and candy in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and at its peak. Lovely flavour of candy and cacao. Balanced and quite elegant port with a nice and attractive finish.
  • Points SAI: 15.5-
  • Ranking SAI: 22
  • Group points: 14.63
  • Group ranking: 23

House: Feist

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Pharmacy, some berry and roasted coffee in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature peaking and even a bit old but still sweet. Ginger bread in flavour. A nice and elegant finish.
  • Points SAI: 15
  • Ranking SAI: 24
  • Group points: 15.13
  • Group ranking: 16

1978 Vintage Ports Malmo Sweden Wine Club Tasting

House: Ferreira

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Rich mulberry, cherry and violet in the nose.
  • Taste: Full-bodied. Mature and on top. Violet in flavour. Balanced and excellent with a long, lovely finish. Excellent port!
  • Points SAI: 17
  • Ranking SAI: 3
  • Group points: 16.13
  • Group ranking: 8

House: Feuerheerd

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature almost tawny colour.
  • Bouquet: Old pharmacy and some ether in the nose, but also some Christmas raisin and dried fruit.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and even a little old port. Sweet. Liquorice in flavour. A good finish bur maybe short. Easy to drink and like.
  • Points SAI: 15.5
  • Ranking SAI: 18
  • Group points: 15.00
  • Group ranking: 19

House: Fonseca-Guimaraens

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Rather dark but yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Crème caramel, fudge, toffee, pepper and much more in the nose.
  • Taste: Almost full-bodied. Mature and at its peak. Quite spicy and pepper in flavour. Elegant with a sweet, long and delicious finish.
  • Points SAI: 17.5
  • Ranking SAI: 1
  • Group points: 16.16
  • Group ranking: 7

House: Hooper

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature, yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Crackled. Vinegar in bouquet.
  • Taste: Medium body. Vinegar in taste. Old and hardly drinkable. Hoped it has been better.
  • Points SAI: 10
  • Ranking SAI: 28
  • Group points: 10.94
  • Group ranking: 29

House: Hutcheson

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Figs, fudge and some ether in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and peaking and even a bit tired. Quite dry. Burned sugar in taste. Still easy to drink with an acidic finish.
  • Points SAI: 14.5-
  • Ranking SAI: 26
  • Group points: 15.44
  • Group ranking: 13

House: Kopke

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Burned sugar, cherry and some pharmacy in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature, peaking and maybe a little old. Toffee in flavour. Elegant, balanced and very easy to drink and like. An Attractive port.
  • Points SAI: 15.5+
  • Ranking SAI: 17
  • Group points: 15.75
  • Group ranking: 10

House: Morano

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Liquorice, burned sugar and salmiak in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and at its peak. Liquorice and burned sugar in flavour. An elegant and balanced finish.
  • Points SAI: 16-
  • Ranking SAI: 15
  • Group points: 14.78
  • Group ranking: 21

House: Pinta Santos Jr.

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature quite beautiful in colour.
  • Bouquet: Roses, sultan raisin and pharmacy in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and peaking. Quite elegant and balanced port. Sweet. Easy to drink and like and an attractive and quite long finish.
  • Points SAI: 16+
  • Ranking SAI: 9
  • Group points: 15.09
  • Group ranking: 17

1978 Vintage Ports Malmo Sweden Wine Club Tasting 2

House: Players

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Lovely bouquet with crème caramel, toffee, fudge and much more in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and peaking. Fudge in flavour. Wonderful balance and quite elegant port with an attractive and nice finish.
  • Points SAI: 16+
  • Ranking SAI: 9
  • Group points: 15.53
  • Group ranking: 12

House: Pousada

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Light and yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Old and almost only vinegar in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Ether and vinegar in flavour. Quite cracked and not good.
  • Points SAI: 9
  • Ranking SAI: 29
  • Group points: 12.94
  • Group ranking: 27

House: Presidential

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow, mature almost tawny in colour.
  • Bouquet: Figs, liquorice and old grocery shop in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and peaking. Balanced and quite attractive. Figs in flavour. Very attractive finish. Easy to drink and like.
  • Points SAI: 15+
  • Ranking SAI: 23
  • Group points: 14.13
  • Group ranking: 25

House: Quinta de Bomfim

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature still rather dark yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Lovely bouquet of old grocery shop, mint, tea and much more.
  • Taste: Full-bodied. Mature and peaking. A lovely port with mint in flavour. Balanced and elegant. Wonderful and long finish.
  • Points SAI: 16.5+
  • Ranking SAI: 5
  • Group points: 16.50
  • Group ranking: 3

Malmo Sweden Wine Club discussing 1978 Vintage Ports

House: Quinta do Cachão

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Spicy with cinnamon in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature. Quite light port. Fudge in flavour. Easy to drink and like with a quite nice and attractive finish.
  • Points SAI: 15.5
  • Ranking SAI: 18
  • Group points: 14.88
  • Group ranking: 20

House: Quinta da Cavadinha

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Rather dark, bur mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Violet, spring flowers, crème caramel and toffee in the nose.
  • Taste: Quite full-bodied. Mature and at its peak. Crème caramel and toffee in flavour. Lovely and elegant port with a long, attractive and balanced finish. Quite extraordinary!
  • Points SAI: 17.5
  • Ranking SAI: 1
  • Group points: 16.66
  • Group ranking: 2

House: Quinta da Corte

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Crème caramel, liquorice, fudge, burned sugar, dark berry and more in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium, body. Mature and peaking. Liquorice and blueberry in flavour. Balanced and elegant port with a long, attractive and appealing finish.
  • Points SAI: 16.5+
  • Ranking SAI: 5
  • Group points: 15.56
  • Group ranking: 1

House: Quinta do Crasto

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Toffee, fudge, chocolate and cacao in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and on top. Toffee in flavour. Sweet and elegant with a complex and quite long finish.
  • Points SAI: 16+
  • Ranking SAI: 9
  • Group points: 14.56
  • Group ranking: 24

House: Quinta da Eira Velha

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Beautiful, mature yellow in colour
  • Bouquet: Coffee, tea, cacao and old grocery shop in the nose.
  • Taste: Quite full-bodied. Mature and at its peak. Cacao and chocolate in flavour. Balanced and elegant with a wonderful finish. Quite surprising and extraordinary!
  • Points SAI: 16.5+
  • Ranking SAI: 5
  • Group points: 16.72
  • Group ranking: 1

House: Quinta do Infantado

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Old grocery shop with cacao and coffee in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and on top, even perhaps a little more. Cacao and candy in flavour. Quite nice and good finish.
  • Points SAI: 15.5
  • Ranking SAI: 18
  • Group points: 14.06
  • Group ranking: 26

House: Quinta do Noval

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Cacao, dark chocolate and old grocery shop in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Quite light. Mature and peaking. Quite nice cacao in flavour. Not so long but quite attractive finish. This vintage has never been a favourite.
  • Points SAI: 15
  • Ranking SAI: 24
  • Group points: 16.00
  • Group ranking: 9

1978 Vintage Ports Malmo Sweden Wine Club Tasting 3

House: Quinta do Noval Nacional

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Cinnamon, ginger, cacao and dark chocolate in the nose.
  • Taste: Quite full-bodied. Mature and probably at its peak but with some soft tannins. Sweet. Cacao and dark chocolate in flavour. Quite nice and a long and wonderful finish.
  • Points SAI: 16
  • Ranking SAI: 13
  • Group points: 16.41
  • Group ranking: 4

House: Quinta da Roêda

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Rather dark with a yellow mature colour.
  • Bouquet: Corked with a horrible nose
  • Taste: Medium body. Corked and acidic. Quite terrible to drink.
  • Points SAI: 9-
  • Ranking SAI: 29
  • Group points: 8.53
  • Group ranking: 30

House: Quinta São Luiz

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature colour.
  • Bouquet: Crème caramel, fudge and toffee in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and at its peak. Burned sugar in flavour. Balanced and a quite nice finish.
  • Points SAI: 16-
  • Ranking SAI: 15
  • Group points: 15.06
  • Group ranking: 18

House: Quinta de Vargellas

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Dark mature yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Ginger, cinnamon, violet and toffee in the nose.
  • Taste: Full-bodied. Mature and peaking. Cinnamon in flavour. Complex and balanced with a lovely finish. An elegant port indeed.
  • Points SAI: 17
  • Ranking SAI: 3
  • Group points: 16.34
  • Group ranking: 5

House: Real Companhia Vinicola

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Light, yellow and mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Cracked, but some ether, pharmacy, old hospital and even some vinegar in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Ether and some vinegar in flavour. Old and not good but drinkable. What a pity.
  • Points SAI: 10.5
  • Ranking SAI: 27
  • Group points: 11.59
  • Group ranking: 28

House: Rozès

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature in colour.
  • Bouquet: Spring flower and candy in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Sweet. Mature and peaking. Will not be better. Quite elegant. Very nice and attractive finish.
  • Points SAI: 16.5
  • Ranking SAI: 8
  • Group points: 14.78
  • Group ranking: 21

House: Silva Luz

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Yellow mature and lovely colour.
  • Bouquet: Ginger bread, dark berry and old hospital in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and peaking. Dry. Flavour of ginger bread. Balanced and elegant with a nice finish.
  • Points SAI: 15.5
  • Ranking SAI: 18
  • Group points: 15.22
  • Group ranking: 15

House: Wiese & Krohn

  • Vintage: 1978
  • Colour: Mature yellow in colour.
  • Bouquet: Cherry, boysenberry and dark berry in the nose.
  • Taste: Medium body. Mature and probably peaking. Sweet. Balanced but with some soft tannins Cacao in flavour. Quite nice finish.
  • Points SAI: 16
  • Ranking SAI: 13
  • Group points: 15.44
  • Group ranking: 13
By | 2016-11-18T10:23:20+00:00 November 22nd, 2013|Categories: Guest Corner Articles|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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