Well today is St. George's day and a few times a decade that has a very significant meaning.
With the Symington Family Estates and a few dozen other Port shippers and producers already on the record with their "declarations," today we learned of The Fladgate Partnership's declaration of their Croft, Fonseca and Taylor 2007 Vintage Port as well. With more than half of the industry now committed, I will go out on a limb and say it is quite apparent that 2007 will be considered by the IVDP as a "generally declared" vintage and soon, the Confraria celebration will take place.
In direct email commuinques, I've learned of nearly a half dozen producers of Port, which have for some reason decided not to declare the '07 vintage and I asked them "why"? Their responses were vague (at best) and I am afraid that hindsight may have them second guessing themselves in a decade or two. I realize the economy is not looking bright at the moment, but current vintage declarations are more about the next generation. The vast majority of the trade seems to understand the importance of a declaration at this moment in time; to bolster the image of Port and bringing it back en vogue and what better way to move out of a lethargic market than an infusion of excitement of a new vintage?
This week has been fun for some interesting wine tastings. I was over at a new friend's home, as she had put together a group of wine lovers to explore a vertical tasting of Ridge Geyserville with 15 vintages represented from 1988-2007. My wife who tends to avoid wine events of this nature was in rare form and had a great time with this new group. In addition to my bottles that were included in the mix, I brought a nice Madeira (1968 Barbeito Bual) to introduce them to the delights of Madeira. Fortunately, it went over very well indeed.
Last night, Stewart Todd (the FTLOP VP of Technology) was over at our home with his family. My wife Dorene was in rare form as we opened a nice grouping of wines from Portugal and Italy. Since today was also Stewart's Birthday, we had an appropriate dessert planned, along with a pair of Ports. I wanted to provide a blind comparison for him of a Single Quinta Vintage Port and also present a VP close in proximity to the first Port's vintage, but from the same Shipper's best of show. In this case it was the 2001 Churchill's Quinta da Gricha and the 2003 Churchill's VP. The former was elegant and very ready to drink with a near term life expectancy, while the 2003 showed mid-term ageability and more effusive forward fruit and solid underpinnings of structure and a lusty aftertaste.
Tonight I plan to finish the remaining glass of each and plan the menu and wines for friends joining us for dinner on Saturday night. Afterall, I need to get my liver in shape for what is about to unfold during the upcoming Fortification Tour. I leave for Portugal a week from today and am really looking forward to it!
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