Last night local (OR/WA) Kobrand Manager, Cindy Wolf in conjunction with Seattle-based McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants, put on a great wine dinner with special Guest of Honor, Robert Bower. Robert of course, is part of the 7th generation of the Yeatman family, that of Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman fame.
We were first introduced to Pink Diamond, a fine blend of Croft Pink Port, soda and a wedge of lemon.It is a much drier concoction than almost any other Croft Pink drink I have had to date and I must admit, it made for a fine aperitif. Bower also mentioned that there are now 15 recipes for using Croft Pink Port in a cocktail and that this particular beverage was selling very well and that a new campaign will be launched to bolster its popularity during the summer of 2010.
There were over 2 dozen guests last night at the Palisade Waterfront Restaurant across the Magnolia Bridge from Seattle proper. Seattle one of the USA's top Port markets, with several importers of Port and Douro wines, had good numbers show up for this event given the miserable weather and traffic. We were all brimming with enthusiasm to enjoy a great dinner accompanied by New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Burgundy from the Kobrand stable which were specifically selected to pair with the excellent Prime Rib main course. But we all waited patiently for the 11 Ports which were to follow the delicious dessert course and cheese platter.
We started out with the Fonseca Terra Bella, an organically farmed Port that offers vibrant ruby flavors and excellent balance. It is priced equivalently to an LBV and delivers fresh, red fruit flavors and a hint of licorice.
Robert then presented a comparison of the Fonseca and Taylor 2003 LBVs. I had a slight preference for the Taylor 2003, as although the Fonseca was very good, with modest tannins and very tasty, it had a bit of heat on the finish which was a minor distraction. The Taylor on the other hand was more balanced, powerful and showed the greater propensity for drinking over several years, albeit a filtered version of LBV. The fruit was darker in profile and the tannins were more serious, yet it was absolutely delicious now.
Cindy introduced the next flight, "A Century of Port" which included 10/20/30/40 year old Taylor Fladgate Tawny Ports. The ten year old was a nice introduction of what was to come but it the real interest for me was the 20, 30 and 40 year olds. The 20 year old showed nicely and although not in my top tier of 20 year old Tawny Ports, it is solidly made, enjoyable right from the get go and a well balanced Tawny with a bit of spirit protruding on the finish. The 30 year old is really very good, warming flavors of walnuts and honey and a very long finish. The smooth texture added to the overall pleasure. The 40 year old was great, an absolute Tawny stud. Deservedly, this Port receives many accolades and it is easy to see why. Yummy nuttiness!
The 1985 Fonseca Vintage Port was poured and I coaxed the waitress to tip in an extra pour as this is one of my favorites. Robert was visiting other tables at this point and I held court at our table, explaining more about Vintage Port and especially about this particular VP. What's not to love? Robert came back to the table and when he heard me mention that it could be found in the $85-90 range; corrected me stating: "Yes, but that's only online. Typically it runs closer to $100-$120." I am sure he is right, I just never have bought this particular Port at a brick and mortar shop before.
Then came the 2007 Vintage Ports by Fonseca, Croft and Taylor. All were showing much better than my tasting of these from cask samples in May and also in July when I last had them with Andy and David here in Seattle and then again when Robert Bower visited later on in the month. All three have settled in with a few extra months and were really solid VPs. The Fonseca had put on some weight and expressed more depth and tannins. The Croft which I was not previously a real fan of showed very well indeed and the Taylor may have been the biggest surprise of the three. All drank beautifully and Kobrand was offering these for sale on a special deal.
Pricing? $85 for the Fonseca and Taylor, while the Croft was offered at a mere $65.95 a bargain for WA State which normally is not known for very competitive pricing.
It was great to spend an evening with Cindy and Robert and meet so many new Port enthusiasts. I should mention that long time FTLOP member, Kris Henderson was sitting next to me and it was a pleasure to see him there as well.
Thanks to Kobrand and McCarthy & Schiering for putting together such a fine and fun Port event!