«Article and photos © by Roy Hersh – Nov. 2007 Tasting through cask samples as well as recently bottled Vintage Ports can certainly be challenging ...»
After tasting this final grouping and writing up my TNs, I’ll incorporate them back into this
original article which is loosely laid out in alphabetical order. Here now the 2005s:
2005 ~ Barros ~ Vintage Port – Inky purple and opaque. I am a fan of Barros’ Colheitas and they make scintillating Tawny styles of Port. I must admit, I have never been a fan of the Barros family’s Vintage Port efforts … until now. Tasted blind -- up against some big names from above, this was the standout of the flight. The concentration here provides for colossal palate presence which is quite approachable as although the plum and dark cherry fruit is in your face, the structure is subverted to it. Over several days this continued to improve, gaining complexity and showing its grace and delicious plum flavor. The tannins are a bit grainy but otherwise the chocoholic aftertaste is sublime with a textural pleasure which won me over. Possibly the biggest surprise of the entire vintage for me, my jaw literally dropped when I removed the bottle covering. I would definitely put this in the “must buy” category.
Drink 2009 – 2025. ~ 94-96 points ~ 11/22/07 2005 ~ Calem ~ Vintage Port – I was pleased to be able to add Calem into this report as I typically have not had access to their pre-release or cask samples of VP. Now under the control of Sogevinus, (purchased recently from the wonderful folks of the Calem family) there is a renewed emphasis on the quality of their Vintage Ports. Violet purplish color with full opacity, the nose delivers intense perfume of apple blossoms and Kirsch. There is some citric flavored acidity here that is pronounced and adds to the overall intricacy of this generous VP with a pleasing smoothness that makes this so much fun to drink. Grapy, spicy with a light to medium body, this has gentle tannins that will make it a candidate to drink early and often. Although it would make for a more classis LBV than a VP, it is very easy to enjoy with a finish that is a standout! Drink 2008-2018. ~ 86-88 points ~ 11/22/07 2005 ~ Croft’s Quinta da Roeda ~ Vintage Port – Inky purple and fully opaque. As a cask sample first tried in mid May, it was a sweet and demure feminine expression of Port. It still shows a similar playful naughtiness, say, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. After decanting for 12 hours this started to really flesh out. Full of glycerin and a chewy, full-bodied style which I very much enjoyed. The palate has a grenadine syrup component and offers up a smooth sexy texture with enough aeration. The Roeda follows up on the superb effort by Croft in 2003 and exhibits all the makings of a truly fine SQVP that should drink well over the next three decades. The finish is a blockbuster with boisterous tannins that rush in and take charge, but its a very harmonious multi-faceted Port, in the top tier of 2005 VPs. ~ 94-96 points ~ 11/22/07 2005 ~ Dow’s Quinta Senhora da Ribeira ~ Vintage Port – This property sits upon 21 hectares of vineyards with 62,000 vines planted, the Ports of which are then foot trodden in the seven small lagares. Fully opaque ruby color leads to vivacious violets, cherry tobacco and brown sugar which round out the fine fragrances with a light spirituous character. This SQVP seemed medium-bodied right out of the gate with a snappish attack of acidity, and an off-dry style. Senhora’s ’05 provided ripe blueberry which dominated the profile, but I enjoyed the mid-palate which showed dark cherry and cassis interspersed with round tannins that gained power towards the finish, yet remained mostly mild. Bright, vibrant and yielding at the moment this VP certainly should be easy to enjoy in its youth. The medium finish hinted at light chocolate and an alcoholic presence, but plenty of fruit too. Drink in 2008-2023 ~ 90-92 points ~ 11/6/07 2005 ~ Fonseca’s Quinta do Panascal ~ Vintage Port – As a young cask sample back in May, this was primary and plumy with a memorable finish and last month while at Quinta do Panascal I was pleased to try this again. I opened a bottle last night and it showed little love straight away. A full on 12 hour decant helped and today it shows a magenta color and fully opaque. I made my through a few more sessions the following day too, to ensure that I’d fully appreciate the lineup and not miss any of the development. This shows spicy plum and primary pomegranate nuances with expressive floral fragrances and a dose of heat on the nose which was gone by day three. Black currant, tar and tobacco flavors evolved as did its viscous richness which put on significant weight. Plenty of length on the finish which also delivers some astringent tannins that need a few years to really integrate. Drink 2009-2028. ~ 91-93 points ~ 11/22/07 2005 ~ Kopke ~ Vintage Port – (CASK SAMPLE) – Whatever I used to think of the Vintage Ports produced by Kopke, since Sogevinus took over, it is an entirely new ballgame. Both their 2003 and 2004 VPs were quite good and the 2005 is no exception. Dark opaque purple consisting of 50% Touriga Nacional and 50% old vine field blends (with an average age of 40 years) from the Douro Superior. Fine acidity, very long finish, good balance with rounded tannins that arrive in time for the aftertaste. The 2005 is an even better Kopke than the two previous vintages and shows great promise. A truly harmonious VP and the best young Kopke VP I’ve ever tasted. Drink 2008-2030 ~ 93-95 points ~ 5/14/07 2005 ~ Malvedos ~ Vintage Port – Fun to try this while visiting the beautiful Quinta dos Malvedos and having plenty of time to enjoy it. Deep purple and fully opaque color with primary blueberry, violets and cinnamon spice that is very fragrant. The Malvedos is almost syrupy but is slightly lighter and juicier than that. Grapey tank flavors persist, with a touch of anise. This was bottled just five months earlier and I was impressed by how balanced this was already. A well constructed and solid structure and overall fine effort, I suggest drinking it from 2008-2028. ~ 93-95 points ~ 10/5/07 2005 ~ M. Champalimaud ~ Vintage Port – (CASK SAMPLE) – Floral, cocoa powder nose with a light-medium weight. Much more lively and better structured then the 2001 we tasted just before it. Bright and fresh dark berry flavors, lacking any real mid-palate complexity at this point, yet it shows a lengthy finish. Very approachable and easy to enjoy today it would have been my preference to spend a couple of days to see how this would evolve. The Champalimaud is made in an early maturing style with little sign of tannins present. Drink 2008 to 2020. ~ 87-89 points ~ 10/1/07 2005 ~ Niepoort ~ Vintage Port – I have seen the evolution from my initial cask sample and two follow ups, in addition to this bottle which I evaluated over three days. Dirk stated that he prefers his 2005 Douro wines and Port to his 2004s. He produced 35,000 bottles of ‘05. Dark purple and fully opaque with violets, floral notes and a boysenberry aroma. I found this quite soft and Dirk mentioned it was racked less often. The more I’ve tried this Port, my impression is that Dirk is headed in a very different stylistic direction than with his previous efforts in 1997, 2000 and 2003 and even his 2004. Whether that is winemaker or climate influence remains to be seen, but I believe the former in this case. The 2005 is far easier to approach and not created with the same level of massive, astringent tannins that one expects and this is more reminiscent of a fine Secundum VP. Niepoort’s 2005 delivers a more approachable and rounder style, if not a deceptively elegant manner with fresh blueberry flavors. A reaction to some journos that criticized the tannins in his ’03? Doubtful knowing Dirk. Drink this between 2008 and 2030. ~ 93-95 points ~ 10/4/07 2005 ~ Quinta do Crasto ~ Vintage Port – (CASK SAMPLE) - Dark crimson color with a clear rim. Smells like a walk through a rose garden with inviting sweet scents of blueberry, tar, black licorice and cinnamon spice followed by a hint of alcohol. This will be a crowd pleaser in the near term, as it is quite approachable and enjoyable now. The finish was modest in length but fruit filled and over the next two days it gained heft. The ‘05 showed a smoother texture, added richness and was even more fun on days two and three. The Crasto is quite sweet in style, almost too much so, with a pretty purity of blueberry that dominates the palate. There is modest acidity along with pretty mild tannins (subverted to the fruit for now) which sneak up late, upon swallowing. Even though you can enjoy this now, and especially for the mid term, I suggest peak drinking pleasure will be from 2008-2020.
~ 89-91 points ~ 11/4/07 2005 ~ Quinta do Noval Silval ~ Vintage Port – Made from 100% Quinta do Noval fruit, so it really could have been a full on declaration for Q d Noval, but give credit to Mr. Christian Seely for offering consumers a delicious bargain instead. Vibrant and inky ruby/purple from core to meniscus. My first impression was that I was sniffing liquid Tootsie Roll, but there was also some tobacco, cedar and the essence of cassis. This Silval is a deeply concentrated and big boned, full-bodied VP, which offered ripe, sweet and approachable fruit. The plush velvety texture here is as good as the blackberry and black currant flavors and this VP from the folks at Noval, exhibits a classic framework with a deft balance between acidity and fruit.
This might just be the most tannic Port of the vintage, with ripe and almost punishing tannins.
Grip city! The aftertaste is a bit tart and the finish only medium in its duration, otherwise this would have scored even higher. It’ll easily serve a 30-40 year sentence in the cellar or can be enjoyed while young, with the proper decanting regimen.
~ 93-95 points ~ 11/6/07 2005 ~ Quinta da Pacheca – A newcomer in that the 2000 VP was their first, having sold grapes to others for many years. The 2005 shows smoky, spicy, dark raspberry and mocha with alcohol notes. Deeply extracted and yet it shows a very light elegant style. Soft and approachable with a bigger profile and better balance than older but recent Pacheca Vintage Ports that I’ve tasted from this house just prior to this one. It exhibits a more gentle style reminiscent of a fine fresh LBV. It was the best Pacheca Vintage Port I tasted during my recent visit. You will really enjoy this and it will drink well immediately and through 2020. ~ 89-91 points ~ 10/9/07 2005 ~ Quinta do Portal ~ Vintage Port – Dark garnet with a magenta meniscus.
Fragrances of Framboise, cocoa powder, herbs and black licorice exhibit exotic nuances in a dark aromatic profile. It was very tight initially and demonstrated a light to medium body which changed considerably over the next two days. After more decant time, the Portal evolved big time and it was extremely smooth in the mouth and just short of full-bodied. Rich cherry, some very sweet plum juice with a hint of cedar and vivacious acidity. The aftertaste was quite perseverant with bright berry flavors and a chocolate laden finish endowed with a prominent tannic force. From my chair, the 2005 is not up to the level of the finer Portal VPs and delivered a straight forward mid-palate and lacked the intensity that I normally love in vintages like 1999 and 2003. Drink 2012-2028. ~ 92-94 points ~ 11/6/07 2005 ~ Quinta da Romaneira ~ Vintage Port – Dark garnet right to the edge and fully opaque. The nose was quite reticent at the outset, (and the palate angular as well) this youngster required significant air time to start to strut its stuff. Highlighting bing cherry and a pure note of grenadine up front, with red licorice and herbs in the background. This was a standout effort against the majority of 2005 VP competitors in terms of fine aromatics, structure and delectable flavors. It is gentle dense, chewy and very well put together.
Fabulous layered off-dry flavors of fresh berry pie, currants and tart plums with a fine midpalate that showed the intensity of this infant. It is impossible to ignore the impressive long finish and gripping, chalky tannins that will make this a candidate for long term cellaring. If this classy effort from 2005 is any indication as to the promise of this little known producer, I’d be willing to bet that Quinta da Romaneira will become a household name for Port lovers inside of the next decade. But why wait? Drink from 2010-2032 ~ 93-95 points ~ 11/6/07 2005 ~ Quinta de Roriz ~ Vintage Port – Dark eggplant color with full opacity. I was not fond of the bouquet from the get go as it presented “tanky” notes that I find unpleasant. With time this blew off and in its place there was a most expressive nose with dark fruit compote, smoky plums, underbrush and black licorice. Sweet, juicy and feminine in style, packed with cassis and ripe blackberry fruit flavors and an earthy quality which added some depth although I found the mid-palate simple. Nonetheless, this was quite tasty with a medium body presence, both smooth and ultimately approachable, which resulted in a mouth pleasing texture. A solid effort from this single Quinta, the ‘05 ends with a long yet spirity finish and I believe this will integrate with further bottle age. The tannins are mild and showed up just in time for the final act. Drink 2009-2023. ~ 92-94 points ~ 11/6/07 2005 ~ Quinta do Vale Dona Maria ~ Vintage Port – (CASK SAMPLE) - Eggplant in color and fully opaque with a purple edge. Lagar like aroma, with earthy notes, pipe tobacco and lavender. There was a distinct yet slight off putting “tanky” note which never did quite blow off.
Initially the fruit dominated the tannins but over the course of several days, the tannins grew in prominence and were quite powerful by day three. They were seemingly deceptive until they appeared on the lively finish. The Vale Dona Maria offers smoky, stewed prunes, sweet Concord grape flavors and zippy acidity which adds balance. There’s just enough body to provide a round, mouth filling presence. Overall, I found this VP rather straight forward with few surprises and it showed more like a nice LBV than a VP. I’d like this even better if the nose was more inviting. Drink 2015-2027 ~ 86-88 points ~ 11/4/07 2005 ~ Quinta Valle Longo – Just 4,000 bottles produced from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Franca. I noted smoky, tar and pomegranate fragrances which were very enjoyable.