Hooper’s Vintage Port, DOC Porto (covers the same region as DOC Douro), Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal, 1985
This wine: lot No. L-4336, a blend of the port varieties, which may include touriga franca, touriga nacional, tinta barroca, tinto cao, tinta roriz; coated natural cork closure (broke in two about 1/3 of the way up, where the cork had become quite soft), 21% abv, Delilah Fine Foods, ~£40 (07/15)
Consumer tasting note: garnet hued, cloudy, despite careful decanting-filtering, but sound, with strong aromas and flavours of confected red cherry, dried red berries and hazelnut, edged with dry prune and raisin; full bodied, medium-sweet, with a very long length. Could easily be taken to be an aged tawny.
Drink now – RTD, but will keep for 2-3 years – Wait. Serve at 16-18 C. This wine was settled vertically for a full week before pulling the cork, but it remained cloudy, despite careful decanting, and filtering, through several layers of fine muslin.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: a cloudy body but a bright surface, medium intensity garnet (would be pale if unclouded), showing tears [2 rounded teaspoons of soft and semi-soft sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, opening with a distinct whiff of crushed hazelnut, which subsides quickly to fragrant dark red cherry jam, lightly confected dark red glace cherry, a nutty note – like crushed nut shells, a low-key sweet woody undertone, dried cranberry.
Palate: medium-sweet, medium (+) acidity, fortified high, full body, a velvety texture with a low-key grip, pronounced intensity, with flavours of red plum jam, dried cranberry, dark red glace cherry, a low-key nuttiness, edges of dry prune and raisin, the slightest touch of kirsch. A very long length (~40 s), with a pleasant moderately warming clean finish, of dried fruits and berries, with an edge of nuttiness.
Quality: very good, well balanced acidity and residual sugar with the quite warming slightly spirity alcohol; a strong intensity throughout with a slightly lesser concentration; showing a fully developed tertiary profile, with some complexity; follows into a very long length. The modest complexity and slightly burgeoning alcohol pulls this wine back from being outstanding.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – a sound structure, fully developed, with some age and oxidation, as indicated by the nutty dimension and the true pale garnet hue. The alcohol seems to be separating slightly from the whole, but it will keep for a few years, 2 or 3 perhaps, but not improve.