The Vintage Port Academy

Graham's Euan Mackay decanting vintage port

Once again Euan Mackay, Graham’s Sales Director, has been in Hong Kong for The Vintage Port Academy.  Founded last year by the classic Port houses of Symington Family Estates (Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s) and Taylor Fladgate Partnership (Croft, Fonseca, Taylor’s), the aim of the Vintage Port Academy is to develop an understanding and enjoyment of Vintage Port among wine consumers and professionals around the world, through a programme of seminars and courses for wine trade and hospitality personnel as well as tastings and workshops for fine wine consumers, collectors and media.

The workshops are a key initiative, providing valuable specialist training to wine, food and hospitality professionals who wish to offer Port to their customers.  The classes are also a great adjunct to other wine trade studies and qualifications.  Participants complete an exam at the conclusion of their course, which included a question on how best to recommend a Late Bottled Vintage Port to a customer, with prizes for the top scorers.

L to R Graham's Euan Mackay, VPA prize winner Leo Au, and Nick Heath of Taylor Fladgate
L to R Graham's Euan Mackay, VPA prize winner Ian Wu, and Nick Heath of Taylor Fladgate

This year’s winners were Leo Au who works in Beverage Service at the Salon de Ning, Peninsula Hotel, whose LBV advice took the form of a tasting note:   “On the palate, nice balance between sweetness and flavour, gives you a strong wonderful mouth-feel every sip.”  Ian Wo, Assistant Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at the Centurion Restaurant & Kat O Bar, Shatin Clubhouse, Hong Kong Jockey Club put his recommendation in the form of food pairing suggestions, which sound very good to us:  “This wine would pair perfectly well with heavy red meat dishes, and for Chinese food, don’t forget to try this with a BBQ suckling pig.  You’ll fall in love with it!”  Leo and Ian each won a special Vintage Port Academy case of a bottle of each Graham’s 2007 and Taylor’s 2007.

Additionally, Euan and Nick Heath from Taylor Fladgate held a special tasting for the Press, describing the Douro region and the importance of terroir and provenance for Vintage Ports, re-enforcing their points with a tasting of Quinta Vintage Ports.   There was also a trade tasting where each importer presented a range of Vintage Ports to their customers.

Kee Club Tasting Event

Finally a Port and Food Pairing event at the Kee club attracted over 200 wine lovers, who enjoyed some wonderful and creative pairings with Graham’s wines, including

  • Late Bottled Vintage 2005 with Francesca Bari almonds
  • 20 Year Old Tawny with foie gras and Graham’s 20 Year Olld Tawny Jelly on chocolate biscuits – Euan’s personal favourite of the event
  • Graham’s Vintage 1980 with venison patties

The Vintage Port Academy has a new dedicated website, where you can learn more about upcoming activities, and register your interest in next year’s events.

3 thoughts on “The Vintage Port Academy”

  1. Hello,
    I tried to find good examples of Port and food pairing, but did not succeed well.
    Can you give me a name of a book or site to learn more of suitable mouth filling with Port?
    At a moment I am baking a cace with dried exotic fruits and nuts. It is not ready yet, so I don’t know what kind of marriage it will provide.
    Best wishes,
    Ari-Heikki

    1. Hi Ari-Heikki, I am not aware of any comprehensive resource, though we have some guidelines on The Vintage Port Site, and also the technical sheets for all our wines (posted on their respective brand websites – full list of links on the Internet Resources page of The Vintage Port Site). I am not sure what is cace? But dried fruits and nuts immediately make me think of Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny as a likely pairing.

    2. Thank you for the answer. Cace is my misspelling of cake. Sorry.
      I am trying this cake with a bit younger Tawny. Let’s see and hope for the best.
      I suppose you should not try to compete sweetness with sweetness. Yhe same applays to all sweet wines,, Sauternes etc. Maybe it is a matter of taste. Enjoy the weekend!

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