I have some exciting news. For the first time in over 100 years all of the major Port houses have declared back-to-back vintages. There was actually some debate around whether or not they should because some of the larger houses have never done this, but in the end the quality of the 2017 ports spoke for themselves and the vintage was declared. The most frequent question I get about Vintage Port is, “when can I drink it”? The simple answer is, “as soon as you buy it” but the real answer is slightly more complex. I’ve been to several vintage declaration tastings in Chicago where everyone brings the newest vintage and the trade gets a chance to taste them. The wines are delicious, don’t get me wrong, but they are only a shadow of what they can be with time in the cellar. The 2017’s are predicted to drink best from 2035 to 2055 and beyond.
The world of immediate gratification that we live in begs the question, “Why, why would I buy a wine that I won’t drink for 15 years?” Once again there are many answers but here are my top reasons: because you can; because it’s so worth it; because experiencing the best, is, well, the best; because it makes a great wedding gift for a couple to open on their 20th, 30th or even 50th anniversary; it makes a great gift and experience to crack open a bottle of wine from some special someone’s birth year, be it your child, niece or nephew, god child or simply a child you love. I could go on and on, and if you are a lover of port, I believe you have your own reasons.
We have limited amounts of three of the 2017’s, all three received 97 points from the Wine Spectator and their tasting notes are as follows:
Fonseca Vintage Port 2017: Dark and dense, with fig bread, baker’s chocolate and tar notes leading off before the core flavors of plum, black currant and blackberry paste finally start to emerge. The wild, spirited finish shows cast iron, licorice snap and roasted alder elements, delivering a decidedly chewy feel. A big, old-school, throwback Port that will age at a glacial pace. Best from 2035 through 2060. 1,000 cases imported. — JM
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2017: This offers up a dense rumble of dark currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors, laced with hints of buckwheat, baker’s chocolate and warm tar. The muscular finish is thickly layered, with threads of alder and espresso cream adding definition along the way. Should be among the more long-lived wines of the vintage. Best from 2035 through 2060. 1,250 cases imported. — JM
Warre’s Vintage Port 2017: Warre’s Lush and inviting in feel, with a beautifully creamy texture that lets plum sauce, blueberry reduction and raspberry pâte de fruit flavors glide along effortlessly. Notes of violet, anise and black tea are beguiling in the background before melding seamlessly on the finish. This shimmers with fruit, balanced by depth and spine. Best from 2035 through 2055. 3,600 cases made; 2,000 cases imported. — JM
It can also be a good investment, the 1994 Fonseca retailed for $55.00 a bottle and the current average auction price is more than twice that amount. I have very limited amount available so click the link below to grab a bottle or two. They are all priced at $129.99 a bottle.
Joseph Davey is a tenured restaurant manager and certified Sommelier. Most recently he was the Franchise Beverage Director for Hoosier Hospitality Group, a Ruth’s Chris franchise. Previous to that he was the General Manager and Corporate Beverage Manager for Eddie Merlot’s in Indianapolis, IN. He also has his own restaurant and beverage consulting business, FWineI.