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2007 Vintage Port Tasting with James Suckling

Wednesday, 10th February 2010 by Edward Burnett

Last week, it was a privilege to have James Suckling spend some time here at Farr Vintners in London to taste the 2007 vintage ports in our tasting room. We managed to persuade him to give us a tutored tasting on the entire range of these wonderful but very young vintage ports and James helped us to understand what he was looking for when tasting them at such an early stage.

James Suckling at Farr Vintners.

"When tasting vintage port at this very young stage, you are looking for grip and tannins on the finish and you don’t need to get involved with the nose and sweetness as much. These ports should not be tasting delicious when so young as they were made to drink in 20 to 30+ years time." James Suckling

James likened the vintage to the 1977 and 1955 and says that it's "The new 1977 but better"

What distinguished 2007 were the relatively cool but sunny conditions in early summer, producing very even ripening, followed by some heat prior to the harvest to bring the crop to maturity. This has given the wines an excellent acid balance and a wonderfully fresh and vibrant fruitiness.

A few of the top 2007 Vintages.

I'm actually from Porto! Well, I spent a large part of my life living in Porto, Portugal so I felt a little nostalgic with the aromas of 2007 vintage port in the air in the Farr Vintners tasting room! I have seen the vineyards in the Douro Valley improve dramatically over the last 25 years so although I had tasted the 2007s in late May I was very excited to see how they were tasting at this still, very early stage.

The Ports are powerful and rich yet extremely balanced. They are very aromatic. I love their diverse and distinctive nose of fruit, flowers and soil and they impress you with their length, freshness and power. They are also very subtle and refined.

We have listed what we felt were the vintage ports tasting exceptionally well:

2007 Dow

The backbone of this port is sourced from Touriga Nacional in Quinta de Bomfim. Immediately you pick up intense liquorice and blackberry notes along with silky and polished tannins. Fantastic freshness with extraordinary length. Wow, our pick of the tasting!

2007 Graham

Traditionally, Graham’s vintage port is a style that is always sweeter than Dow’s. Again, this is an intense and powerful display with complexity, a degree of earthiness and has great balance. Initially there are aromas of spice and the port is wonderfully focused.

2007 Warre

Warre, the first of the British Port Houses, founded in 1670 has produced yet another outstanding vintage port! This is full-bodied but more approachable than most. The port is very dense with superb balance and structure.

2007 Fonseca

This Fonseca has an inky black colour with purple highlights. As would be expected, the nose has a very concentrated fruitiness, packed with dense blackcurrant and blackberry aromas. It is rich and velvety with raspberry notes. Fantastic structure and length.

2007 Taylor

A deep purple black colour, this port displays crisp, vibrant fruit with a wonderful balance. In keeping with the house style, the Taylor 2007 shows great elegance and a fine scented quality contributed by the Vargellas wines on which the blend is based. The tightly knit tannins along with its vibrant style make it, in our opinion, one of the ports of the vintage.

James & Tom discussing the Vintage.

After tasting our way through 25 different ports we felt that the 2007 Niepoort and Churchill also deserve a mention. These houses are a lot smaller with regards to production but the wine makers, Dirk Niepoort and Johnny Graham have produced some very high quality 2007 vintage ports this time round. Both were showing superbly well and were not far behind the big 5! All we need to do now is wait 20 to 30 years to see how these great vintage ports will have developed.

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