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«Article and photos © by Roy Hersh – Nov. 2007 Tasting through cask samples as well as recently bottled Vintage Ports can certainly be challenging ...»

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Medium bodied and a bit simple and straight forward. The mid-palate was a bit hollow for me, but I did not get to see this evolve and in fairness, it was popped and poured at the Quinta with no prior decanting. That is why I am not fond of “snapshot views” of Vintage Ports. The tannins are not shy and the moderate length of the finish could also be due to lack of aeration.

The selling price is expected to be 25 Euros. ~ 86-88 points ~ 10/5/07 2005 ~ Quinta do Ventozelo ~ Vintage Port – Very dark ruby and full opacity with some fine sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Fragrant floral scents with raspberry, red licorice and grape Lifesavers make for a really bright and expressive nose. Initially a light weight, it put on more weight than Anna Nicole Smith with a gallon of ice cream during the ensuing 48 hours.

Ripe, juicy purple fruits with primary plum, good acidity and finely knit tannins that show some chalky grip on the medium length finish. The Ventozelo should age nicely and is worth the punt if the price is right. It showed its best on day three with additional richness and a longer finish. Drink 2012-2023.

~ 88-90 points ~ 11/4/07 2005 ~ Quinta do Vesuvio ~ Vintage Port – Dark inky purple extract, speaking of which, I smell the color purple and the nose drove me crazy with potent purple fruits that continued to change and evolve each time I took another whiff. This was the only 2005 that I “nailed” when drinking it blind. Explosive and complex from the moment the cork was pulled, this is the real deal with captivatingly concentrated, almost brambly boysenberry and blackberry fruit that was a viscous VP that overwhelmed my palate. The structure is more typical of what I found in 2003 cask samples, rather than other examples of this vintage, with enormous ripe tannins that are powerful and astringent. Excellent balance, with a multi-layered mid-palate that led to the tour de force finish with a touch of heat at the very end. A tasty number which should be able to drink well young, (with extended decanting) but will go the distance too and I’d suggest enjoying this from 2012-2040+. The ’05 Quinta do Vesuvio is in another stratosphere altogether, it’s the finest VP I’ve tried from this vintage to date.

~ 95-97 points ~ 11/6/07 2005 ~ Ramos Pinto’s Quinta de Ervamoira ~ Vintage Port – (CASK SAMPLE) – The magenta center and ruby edge was brilliant and allowed no light to pass. Initially there was a green herbal streak and a “tanky” note that was quite unpleasant. The following morning with more time, it offered light cherry and leather aromas with a backdrop of that “tanky note” (SO2?) which was no longer as dominant. Unfortunately, it never did fully integrate. The medium-bodied tart rhubarb and pomegranate off-dry flavors come to the fore with ripe tannins that are not shy and grew more powerful with time and eventually dominated the finish, which otherwise was pleasing and long. Drink 2016-2027. ~ 85-87 points ~ 11/4/07 2005 ~ Royal Oporto ~ Vintage Port – (CASK SAMPLE) – Jerry Luper is doing wonderful things with the old Real Companhia Velha wines and Ports. This is a solid effort and is putting Royal Oporto on the map for their Vintage Ports, always better known for their Colheitas. Bright strawberry and lavender aromas with an added dose of spice. Although light in weight and feminine in style there is some very good black cherry, blackberry compote flavors here with significant tannins and a generous finish. I bet this would have improved a bit had it been decanted further ahead of time. Drink 2010-2025. ~ 89-91 points ~ 10/1/07 2005 ~ Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas ~ Vintage Port – When I first had this as a cask sample back in May, this was hot and spirity and quite sweet with a dry finish. It had improved significantly by the time I had it again in Oct. while visiting The Fladgate Partnership and it showed a lot more symmetry. Dark garnet and nearly opaque. I opened this particular bottle and it was thin, tight and showed little. My brother was way underwhelmed, but I told him to be patient. After 12 hours of decanting, this was a totally different young Port then what he tried yesterday just after opening. A full day later it really came into its own with fresh scents of lavender, mocha and ripe, dark cherries. The ’05 Vargellas is no shy flower with medium-full weight, crème de cassis and blackberry fruit that shows tasty juice with a touch of black licorice on the prolonged finish. Early on, the tannins were quite mild but three days in, this offered far more powerful tannins that hinted at where the Vargellas will be heading. Drink 2012-2035. ~ 93-95 points ~ 11/22/07 2005 ~ Vista Alegre – Made from the Touriga Nacional and Souzao grapes as well as some field blends from vines that are more than 60 years old. Bright and fresh, grape essence with some stylish perfume, expressive aguardente (not heat!) and plum notes. The Alegre is a fullbodied, round and chewy VP which provides balance and lovely fruit flavors of blackberry and plums. The tannins show up late and are powerful, yet not overtly so. This ’05 delivers a finish with medium-long length with a pretty berry juice aftertaste that is quite pure. Overall, it is a classically styled young VP. Worthy at 35 Euros where available. ~ 90-92 points ~ 10/5/07 2005 Burmester Porto Vintage Port – Opaque purple color. Nose of rose petals, cranberry, and red licorice. Ripe dark cherry and red currant fruit, with bracing acidity. The Burmester portrays a smooth and full-bodied VP with non-aggressive tannins which meld into the background. A gentle and medium finish is more “polite” than enticing. Drink now through 2020. 89-91 points 12/21/07 2005 Cockburn’s Quinta dos Canais Vintage Port – bottled by the Symington Family Estates. The back label states, “Unlike regular vintage Ports they tend to be produced each year and are approachable at a much younger age. 75% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca.” Miguel Corte-Real is the talented winemaker behind the Cockburn’s Ports. Earthy undertones infused with leather and huckleberry and some spirit showing on the nose. Fleshy, full throttle concentrated black currant and cassis flavors and stacked with lots of cleansing acidity and a firm tannic backbone that strikes late. The finish is modest but with good fruit purity. Drink now through 2025. 91-93 points 12/21/07 2005 Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim Vintage Port (cask sample) - Fully opaque purplish ruby complemented by a great nose that improved each of the three days during evaluation.

Featuring a subtle overlay of red and purple tones accented by earthy scents of cocoa, pine resin and a touch of spirit. The ’05 version of Bomfim is soft and easy to approach with a seamless presence which started off light and put on weight, exposing its full body and a core of crushed blueberry and boysenberry fruit. It evolved into a dense juice laden drink with a super mouthfeel that borders on creamy; the tannins are present but round and exhibit enough grip to provide for a reasonable aging curve. Drink now through 2025. 92-94 points 12/17/07 2005 Guimaraens Vintage Port - CASK SAMPLE – This was my initial tasting note taken at the Gaia Lodge back in May. I have not had the luxury of spending three days with this wine and it is more like a snapshot view which I am not fond of, however it is my only note on this wine. Dark and opaque purplish/ruby. Smoother, more balanced than the Panascal. Excellent with brighter dark berry flavors and even a good amount of complexity at this very early stage.

Big, ripe and chewy. Succulent great long finish and lively tannins to carry it for a few decades. 93-95 points 5/14/07 2005 Poças Vintage Port – Inky purple and fully opaque. Smoky creosote and freshly crushed raspberries. The palate provides medium-bodied boysenberry pancake syrup which starts off sweet but finishes off on a drier note. The tannins are brawny and slightly chalky, just the way I like them. A slightly bitter note on the medium length finish. A good showing but although well made, the excitement eludes me here. Drink now through 2027. 87-89 points 12/21/07 2005 Pousada Porto Vintage Port – produced by Manoel D. Poças Junior. Opaque purple with a pure essence of raspberries and spice. After three days, this really fleshed out and was much more in synch compared to when it was first popped and decanted. This VP is straightforward on the palate and very soft yet full-bodied with plum, raspberry and a dollop of herbs. The finish is medium in length and bolstered by genteel tannins. Drink now through 2017. 86-88 points 12/17/07 2005 Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port (cask sample) – Opaque garnet color with dark raspberry, cocoa powder and fresh floral fragrances. It started out thin but gained considerable weight over the following two days. Medium-full bodied with such sweetness that it was by far the standout in terms of ripeness and residual sugar. Soft and silky smooth, with expressive black currant and pure grapy nuances. Chalky tannins come rushing in late to crash the party and leave a lasting impression on the lingering aftertaste which hints at milk chocolate. Drink now through 2022. 90-92 points 12/17/07 2005 Quinta do Nova Vintage Port – Quinta do Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo (owned by Amorim, the cork producer) was established in 1764. With 85 hectares planted, the 2005 came from an old vine field blend plot with 30 varieties of grapes. This sultry youngster with a dark magenta color. Heady aromas of rose petals, blackberry, cassis and tobacco reveal a smooth and medium-bodied VP. Gobs of plump ripe fruit which bursts out of the starting gate seemingly sweet, then tends toward the drier end of the purple spectrum, with plum and cranberry flavors and an admirable textural pleasure. The finish is pretty straightforward as is the mid-palate; the drying tannins are kept in check by fine acidity and copious amounts of fruit. Drink now through 2020. 88-90 points 12/17/07 2005 Smith Woodhouse’s Madalena Vintage Port (cask sample) – Deeply extracted maroon hue with full opacity. Red overtones with perfumed pomegranate and strawberry scents. The Madalena earns style points for its soft, fresh and boisterous lingonberry fruit flavor and fine acidity. This ’05 is full, chewy and quite smooth, yet lacks the intricacy in the middle and on the finish. Its significant strength is the length of the aftertaste and stylistically it’s reminiscent of a solid LBV. A bit monolithic at this stage but really delicious and much more to my liking the third day it was open. The tannins are powerful enough for this to be cellared for a couple of decades and will drink well through 2030. 91-93 points 12/17/07 2005 Taylor’s Quinta de Terra Feita Vintage Port - CASK SAMPLE – This is a raw tasting note that was from my only impression, received in May in Gaia at the Lodge. Tanky but otherwise reticent aromatics. Smooth and with a fuller weight than any of the others from TFP currently. More density and concentration and this could be a big baby. The tannins are punishing and the balance is a bit out of whack at this moment in time. Revisit this fall with lots of time in the decanter, maybe 24 hours. 91-93 points 5/14/07 2005 Vale de Abraão Vintage Port – produced by the folks at Quinta da Pacheca. Although I enjoyed the Quinta da Pacheca 2005 VP, I preferred this bottling. The new upscale Aquapura Hotel is located on land owned by the original Quinta da Vale de Abraão. The Quinta’s vineyards consist of 53 hectares. Dark purplish-ruby, showing a gentle roasted note and smoky prune essence. What I enjoyed most about this Port was its great sense of purity with a richness that was just shy of being jammy and extraordinarily concentrated. It is created to be consumed early, like Sandeman’s Vau Vintage, but given the ripeness and astringency of the tannins, it should age for at least two decades if not three. The finish is moderate in length and ends with a solid whack of spirit, but to be fair, this sample had not been decanted. Drink now through 2023. 90-92 points 10/10/07

2005 Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha Vintage Port (cask sample) – This ooze monster is one of the better VPs of the vintage and both the 2004 and 2005 SQVPs from the Cavadinha property have impressed me and I look forward to seeing how the next full-bore Warre’s VP is going to present itself. Deeply extracted dark purplish-crimson color and fully opaque. Classy from the first sniff its vivid violet, licorice and plum notes offered a sexy scent. Initially it showed a medium body and later joined the ranks of heavy weight contenders. Big, bright and massively structured with an intertwined marionberry and pomegranate profile, the fruit tannins are enormous and will make for a long lived Port. It’s a harmonious wine that may not be a blockbuster, but it exudes complexity on the mid-palate and possesses a sound foundation, firmly based in its superb balance and has excellent prospects for aging 2-3 decades. Drink today, tomorrow or through 2030. 94-96 points 12/17/07

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