Memorable Vintage Port tasting in Berlin

Last night, 31st May in Berlin a superb Port tasting was held. This was organised by the German publication ‘European Fine Wine Magazine’ and involved a wide range of extraordinary Vintage Ports from Ramos Pinto 1924 to the Dow’s 2007 Vintage Port.

I attended the tasting with several friends including Dirk Niepoort, David Guimaraens, Amanda Brunner from Fladgate and Marie-Luise Shyler from Noval. Various writers from across Europe came to the tasting, including Ronald de Groot from Holland, Tom Marthinson from Norway and Peter Winding from Denmark as well as a selection of leading German wine writers.

The Portuguese Ambassador Jose da Costa Pereira spoke at the dinner that followed about the extraordinary tasting that had taken place. Dirk Niepoort was one of the instigators of this excellent tasting which was designed to show what a remarkable wine Port is and its unique qualities.

From my family’s wines, we showed the aforementioned Dow’s 2007, which showed very well indeed after almost exactly one year in bottle, as did the Warre’s ’94 and the very good Dow’s ’80.

The Graham’s ’66 and Graham’s ’55 were also part of the tasting. I was proud of all our wines, with a great Graham ’66 and the Graham’s ’55 being simply outstanding, for me one of the absolute stars of the evening.

Other wines that were very good were the Taylor ’92, the Fonseca ’85 and ’77 and the Niepoort 1970. The latter shows yet again what a brilliant year 1970 was and it still puzzles me why this year was for many years not given the recognition it deserves. The 1970’s are amongst the best five or six greatest Vintage Ports made over the last 40 to 50 years. We also enjoyed an excellent Noval Nacional 1967, a good Noval 1963 and an elegant Croft ‘45. The Niepoort 1942 was a wine I had never tasted and was also very good.

One of the stars of the evening for me was Ramos Pinto 1924. This is one of those wines that demonstrate what great Vintage Ports can do; even when the glass was empty the delicate aromas still  continued to fill the glass.

This event was held in the Margaux Restaurant with Chef Michael Hoffman producing a superb dinner. This restaurant is situated in a building which formed part of the Berlin Wall on the Avenue Unter den Linden and is situated just round the corner from the Brandenburg Gate. So it was appropriate to taste such an extraordinary range of Vintage Ports that virtually spanned a century, in such a historic place.

The tasting was designed to show the Garman market how very great Vintage Port can be. I think that the tasting proved this point beyond any doubt and we all hope that the appreciation of one of the world’s greatest wines will grow in Germany as  a result.

My thanks to all the team at European Fine Wine and Restaurant Margaux for a truly memorable day.

Paul