On a recent US national media tour to tell folks about www.wineontheweb.com I surprised KOTV Tulsa OK’s early morning host, Rick Wells by suggesting tornado cellars could make great wine cellars, especially for the long-ageing of Vintage Port.
My specific suggestion concerned the opportunity that currently existed to purchase 2 remarkable Vintage Ports from two of the greatest of all Port House, namely Taylor Fladgate and Fonseca.
It has been the habit of both houses to release ‘second labels’ in years other than those in which they declared the house Vintage Port. Taylor Fladgate do so using the Quinta de Vargellas label and Fonseca with Fonseca Guimarens.
Both houses declared the great 1994 vintage as Taylor Fladgate 1994 and Fonseca 1994, then were surprised by the quality of the 1995 vintage. Taylor Fladgate director, Adrian Bridge, explained to Wine on the Web Editor, Andrew Jones, that this put them in a real dilemma as ‘We had never declared back to back vintages at any time during the century but felt is was justified. So after lengthy consideration we decided to declare a vintage but only of the Quinta de Vargellas Port.’ Fonseca followed a similar path with the Fonseca Guimarens label.
Both are superb purchases. Quinta de Vargellas is a 100% single quinta Port while Fonseca Guimarens comes from the grapes grown in its top 3 quintas, which supplied the majority of its Fonseca 1994 Vintage Port. These are Santa Antonio, Cruzeiro and Panascal. Fonseca says that the Fonseca Guimarens 1995 ‘will continue to mature in bottle for at least a decade before approaching maturity’ while eminent wine writer, Clive Coates, wrote of Quinta de Vargellas 1995 ‘Very fine indeed from 2013.’ Wine on the Web opinion is that Quinta de Vargellas and Fonseca Guimarens will drink well from around 2007 and hold at their best for 5 – 10 years. Quinta de Vargellas is also available in half bottles that will mature by 2005, as half bottles always age more rapidly.
Incidentally, it is wise to put Port into your tornado cellar well in advance. You don’t want to drop a bottle while running for your life. Also, if you don’t possess a Port filter and a decanter, make sure you leave a coffee filter and a jug down below and, of course, a torch so that you can keep an eye on that sediment. What better way could there be of sitting out a twister than sipping a little Vintage Port to pass the time?