Robert Bower

Vindicating Vintage Port

Vindicating Vintage Port

Post by Chuck Hayward | July 22nd, 2011

Whatever the excuse, be it warm weather or too much wine during dinner, many of us ignore port. Since it can be hard to amass a serious understanding of a wine unless you drink it, I welcomed the opportunity to acquaint myself with some recently declared 2009s and the rare chance to look at how the previous three vintages are shaping up.

In the world of vintage port, the qualities of a specific wine are tied to the nature of the vintage as interpreted through the lens of each port house.  Therefore, it is as important to know what the vintage brings to the table (err, glass) as it is to know the style of the brand. Over the centuries, each house has developed a unique flavor profile. For me, the ability of a port house to make a wine that is true to their style is of utmost importance, as a customer should know what kind of wine to expect when they purchase a bottle of Grahams or Taylor Fladgate port.

Geoff Labitzke, MW (l) and Robert Bower (c) deep in Port

With winemaker David Guimaraens there to detail the vintage variations and sales manager Robert Bower— representing the 8th generation of his family’s involvement in winemaking in the Douro Valley—along to discuss his port lodges, it was the perfect occasion to summarize the vintages we tasted and provide a preview to the upcoming 2009s.

Hopefully, I’ll be drinking more port with friends in the near future and not have to wait until the winemakers of the Douro declare another vintage to keep up with what is happening in this special region. (more…)