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Paul Winalski

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WTN: 1983 Dow's Vintage Port

by Paul Winalski » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:29 pm

The recent survey question about drinking Port persuaded me to dig one of these out of my cellar and open it. I'm very glad I did!

The color is a very deep and clear garnet, as opposed to the purple of a young Port. The aromas are very complex. Let's see, there's a roasted-spice aroma that reminds me of the early stages of roasting the dried masala spices for an Indian curry. Maybe some ginger, cardamom, and coriander? Lots of fruits, such as black cherries, and a touch of orange peel. Some smoky oak nuances, too. A magnificent mix of fragrances that you can get lost in.

Oh, yeah, you're supposed to taste this stuff, aren't you? Forgot that, for a moment, while inhaling the vapors.... An intense, explosive flavor of wild cherries, blackberries, plums, and other dark fruits cascades over the tongue. This is Port, so of course there's a lot of alcohol there, as well as a good measure of balanced sweetness. Again there's that acidic kick of orange peel, too--enough to keep the flavors alive and dancing.

It all culminates in a long, lingering, balanced finish.

Double Curly, with perhaps a touch of Moe that I think will Curly-out with a few more years' age.

An excellent vintage Port that's coasting up to its plateau of maturity.

-Paul W.
Last edited by Paul Winalski on Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Randy Buckner

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by Randy Buckner » Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:53 pm

An excellent vintage Port that's coasting up to its plateau of maturity.


I'm with you, Paul. I grabbed two cases of this wine and two cases of Fonseca for a song -- almost felt guilty ... almost. We have popped a bottle here and there. It seems like one of those "drink at age 25" Ports to me, but I believe it will live a lot longer.
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Paul Winalski

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by Paul Winalski » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:07 am

Randy Buckner wrote:It seems like one of those "drink at age 25" Ports to me, but I believe it will live a lot longer.


The problem is going to be keeping one's hands off it until then. :)

-Paul W.
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by Randy Buckner » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:13 am

The problem is going to be keeping one's hands off it until then.


Exactly!
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Roy Hersh

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by Roy Hersh » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:11 pm

No reason to avoid drinking the '83 Dow today. Having done a vertical a couple of months ago, this showed well and it is ready to drink now, although still on the upswing.

Great stuff. The Fonseca is not as good as the Dow in this particular vintage and won't make old bones the way the Dow and Graham will. Taylor was a dissappointment in this vintage.

Other '83 winners are Cockburn's, Smith Woodhouse and especially Gould Campbell.
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by Paul Winalski » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:35 pm

Roy,

Having opened two of these now from my cellar, I think your comments are right on target. I'm delighted by the complexity this wine is showing right now, and I don't think anyone who opens one now will be disappointed. But I think it will repay several year's more of age, and certainly there's no rush at all to drink it up. This wine will provide pleasure for a couple of decades more at least.

-Paul W.
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Bill Spohn

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by Bill Spohn » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:43 pm

Roy Hersh wrote:No reason to avoid drinking the '83 Dow today. Having done a vertical a couple of months ago, this showed well and it is ready to drink now, although still on the upswing.



I don't have this 83 in the cellar (when is the Grahams going to be ready - in magnum?) but I was wondering how the 1989 Quinta do Bomfim was doing - any recent experience?
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by Randy Buckner » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:53 pm

Roy Hersh wrote:Other '83 winners are Cockburn's, Smith Woodhouse and especially Gould Campbell.


I had a case of the Smith Woodhouse, but I pigged it all down. I liked it as much or more than the Fonseca.
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by Roy Hersh » Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:40 am

Bucko,

It is a superior wine to the '83 Fonseca which was a middling effort. The SW is really good young juice. My last taste of the '83 SW was in Dec. and it was still shockingly ruby purple. Intense youth and vibrancy today, albeit a bit more monolithic than the Gould which is equally as extracted but more going on today.
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by Roy Hersh » Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:42 am

Bill,

Sorry, it has been over a year and a half since I've had the '89 Bomfim. Here are some recent Bomfim's I tried.

There was a tasting note not long ago on my site with someone who brought up the '89, if you are really curious.
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by Randy Buckner » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:57 pm

the '83 Fonseca which was a middling effort


I guess I like middling -- I've never turned down a glass. :wink:
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Sam Platt

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by Sam Platt » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:32 pm

I just finished a bottle of the '83 Fonseca and thought it was quite good. It was my fist experience with older VP. I screwed up initially by opening the bottle almost immediately after travel. On advice from Roy and others I decanted and filtered it, and it recovered quite nicely. If the '83 Fonseca was just average the '83 Dow must be a real butt kicker.

Sam
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by Roy Hersh » Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:36 pm

Actually the '85 Fonseca is the REAL butt kicker. Any Vintage Port enthusiast should have a case of this wine. You will always remember this advice, should you choose to follow it. :!:
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Bill Spohn

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by Bill Spohn » Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:24 pm

Roy Hersh wrote:Actually the '85 Fonseca is the REAL butt kicker. Any Vintage Port enthusiast should have a case of this wine. You will always remember this advice, should you choose to follow it. :!:


A bit late now as for some reason I failed to buy it on release. I do have the 83, 77 and 94 (I won't tell you about the 63 or you'll be scratching at my door - except you probably have cases of the stuff)
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David R. Laws

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by David R. Laws » Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:40 pm

Roy Hersh wrote:Great stuff. The Fonseca is not as good as the Dow in this particular vintage and won't make old bones the way the Dow and Graham will.


The 1983 Graham's was my epiphany of Porto. Alas, single bottle shared. Next youngest I have are some 1985 Dow and Graham. Retirement Porto's.
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