Help me pick a 1970 Port

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Vince T
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#1 Post by Vince T » April 23rd, 2018, 11:09 pm

I have an birthday dinner coming up for a friend who is turning 48 this year. I'm thinking I'll bring a bottle of 1970 Port, and my Local happens to have several available - Fonseca, Taylor, Dow and Graham's.

Any suggestion on what to go for? I was reading a bit on another thread about the bottle variation/bad cork issues for 1977, but couldn't find any similar info for '70.

I also snagged a bottle of 1970 LRA Ardanza - hoping it's still in good shape!
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Chuck Miller
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#2 Post by Chuck Miller » April 23rd, 2018, 11:32 pm

It’s been a while sinc I have had any 1970 ports, but I have always loved the 1970 Graham’s. However I don’t think you can go wrong with Taylor or Fonseca either. I don’t remember if I’ve ever had Dow’s.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#3 Post by J a y H a c k » April 24th, 2018, 4:20 am

I think I have had all four and you can't go wrong with any of them (I'm just not sure I've had the Grahams). Talk to the shop and ask them which provenance is the best, look at the bottles, and go with the one that sounds and looks like it has had the best treatment.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#4 Post by Otto Forsberg » April 24th, 2018, 4:42 am

Vince T wrote: I also snagged a bottle of 1970 LRA Ardanza - hoping it's still in good shape!
Had one of these a year ago. It was definitely in good shape and drinking beautifully. Although I must say I was surprised how the wine still showed some American oak vanilla character even after +45 years! Although not to the extent of vintages 2001 and 2004 tasted alongside.

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R. Gleiberm@n
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#5 Post by R. Gleiberm@n » April 24th, 2018, 6:05 am

Where are you and who is your local? I'm a 1970 birthday and I picked up a 70 Fonseca's that I came accross but I now have concerns about its storage, etc. Would not mind having a backup for my 50th.
Vince T wrote:I have an birthday dinner coming up for a friend who is turning 48 this year. I'm thinking I'll bring a bottle of 1970 Port, and my Local happens to have several available - Fonseca, Taylor, Dow and Graham's.

Any suggestion on what to go for? I was reading a bit on another thread about the bottle variation/bad cork issues for 1977, but couldn't find any similar info for '70.

I also snagged a bottle of 1970 LRA Ardanza - hoping it's still in good shape!
R odney

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#6 Post by Kelly Flynn » April 24th, 2018, 6:14 am

Hi Vince

1970 port -- an inspired choice! I would echo Jay's comments. I've also had them all, and they were all terrific. Really, you can't go wrong. If I had to rank order, perhaps Grahams and then Dow. Check out the provenance as best you can, but don't get too worked up. I've had great old VP from bottles that looked awfully beaten up. Most importantly, give it at least several hours of decant.

I would be curious to hear about the LRA as well.

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#7 Post by Vince T » April 24th, 2018, 8:23 am

Thanks for the thoughts. I was told the Ardanza is from a library release a few years back, which seems plausible given the flurry of relatively recent CT activity.

Rodney - my LWS is K&L. They have plenty of inventory and are pricier than others, but they're a block from my office, so that's worth the premium. :)

There's pretty good availability on WS:
https://www.wine-searcher.com/find/fonseca+porto/1970
T s 3 n g

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#8 Post by Mark Henderson » April 24th, 2018, 2:52 pm

I've picked up a few older ports over the last several years Vince on trips to the in-laws in England, where prices remain remarkably cheap as there has just been so much of it rocking around in the market there. In my readings about the 1970 vintage, both Grahams & Fonseca feature as two of the top wines from that year, though both of the other two would likely also acquit themselves well.

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#9 Post by Eric Ifune » April 24th, 2018, 4:25 pm

All are great. I'd go with the one seemingly in the best condition. If all else equal, I'd go with the Fonseca.

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#10 Post by William Kelley » April 24th, 2018, 4:49 pm

I'd go with the Taylor.

I drank quite a lot of the 1970 Fonseca at one time, and take the perhaps contrarian view that while it's a nice enough Port it's not a great Fonseca, and somewhat overrated. It doesn't have much in common with the 1963 or 1966, that's for sure.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#11 Post by Vince T » April 24th, 2018, 6:07 pm

Thanks, and interesting view William. What do you think the '70 Fonseca is missing that the others have?
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#12 Post by Ben B Floyd » April 24th, 2018, 8:18 pm

What William said. I have both the Fonseca and Taylor in ‘70. It hs been a couple of years since my last bottle of each because i am trying to get through my ‘63s, and, more urgently, my ‘77s. Of the two, Taylor is my pick for ‘70.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#13 Post by Karl K » April 25th, 2018, 5:45 am

Your local has all four: buy and taste them all and report back!
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#14 Post by Chris Bublitz » April 25th, 2018, 6:28 am

1970 was a great year for vintage Port. Drank a bottle of 1970 Fonseca (my favorite 1970) with friends in January - it was fabulous. I think the other 1970 Ports are all excellent, especially Graham's and Taylor with Dow and Warre maybe a half step below.

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#15 Post by Vince T » April 25th, 2018, 7:02 am

Haha, yes, 4 bottles of port followed by an insulin mainline for dessert.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#16 Post by William Kelley » April 25th, 2018, 10:18 am

Vince T wrote:Thanks, and interesting view William. What do you think the '70 Fonseca is missing that the others have?
It's a very nice port, and still quite youthful and well-integrated, but it lacks the spicy, exotic signature of the great Fonseca vintages to me. It was very inexpensive at my college so I must have drunk a good two-dozen between 2008 and 2015, and the result was always the same.

The first time I ever tasted the 1963 Fonseca, I identified it blind because it was exactly how I imagined it would be. Now that's a wine with personality!
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#17 Post by William Kelley » April 25th, 2018, 10:20 am

Vince T wrote:Haha, yes, 4 bottles of port followed by an insulin mainline for dessert.
As students, we once did a 70 Fonseca with Peking duck. The result was actually rather revolting.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#18 Post by John Danza » April 25th, 2018, 11:07 am

I've had the 1970 Fonseca a few times recently and it's always been outstanding. It drinks well now but I wouldn't consider it to be at full maturity yet. It's also generally recognized as one of the top wines of the vintage.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#19 Post by Joshua Kates » April 26th, 2018, 3:50 pm

Interesting...I'm not really a port guy, but I just came into something of a trove: 4 '63's (Niepoort,
Gonzalez Bias, Martinez) and a bunch of '77 (Messias and Fonseca). I have heard of the first and the last, but not much about the others, especially the Messias, of which there is a fair amount (5 bottles). Any thoughts on these producers in these years would be very welcome and also the order to drink them in (I assume the '63's first, but which?)

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#20 Post by John Danza » April 26th, 2018, 9:54 pm

Joshua Kates wrote:Interesting...I'm not really a port guy, but I just came into something of a trove: 4 '63's (Niepoort,
Gonzalez Bias, Martinez) and a bunch of '77 (Messias and Fonseca). I have heard of the first and the last, but not much about the others, especially the Messias, of which there is a fair amount (5 bottles). Any thoughts on these producers in these years would be very welcome and also the order to drink them in (I assume the '63's first, but which?)
Joshua, I held a horizontal tasting of the 1977 ports last fall to see how they were doing at 40 years old. We didn't have the Nacional present and the two bottles of Taylor we had were both flawed! But the 1977 Fonseca showed itself to be the top of the heap by far, which is consistently where it usually lands. We didn't have the Messias at the tasting, so I can't comment on it.
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#21 Post by DAlmeida » April 27th, 2018, 6:36 pm

1+ for Taylor.... My favorite year and port !
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#22 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 27th, 2018, 10:16 pm

William Kelley wrote:
Vince T wrote:Haha, yes, 4 bottles of port followed by an insulin mainline for dessert.
As students, we once did a 70 Fonseca with Peking duck. The result was actually rather revolting.
Worse still, a friend opened a Rousseau Chambertin at the Beijing Duck House. Hoisin is no friend of Burgundy; and the cucumber did not help.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#23 Post by Richard Albert » April 28th, 2018, 10:28 am

Looking at the 1970 vintage for a stand alone experience the 1970 Fonseca is an excellent choice; not going to compare it with other vintages. Taylor is also a fine choice.
Granted we have style preferences for certain houses, I have 750 ml and a 1.5L of the Fonseca I have had for decades in the Rip Van Winkle section of the cellar.
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#24 Post by Nevin Miller » April 28th, 2018, 10:51 am

Richard Albert wrote:Looking at the 1970 vintage for a stand alone experience the 1970 Fonseca is an excellent choice; not going to compare it with other vintages. Taylor is also a fine choice.
Granted we have style preferences for certain houses, I have 750 ml and a 1.5L of the Fonseca I have had for decades in the Rip Van Winkle section of the cellar.
Are you bringing one tonight?

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#25 Post by Richard Albert » April 28th, 2018, 2:07 pm

As mentioned above, better bottles of the 70 Fonseca are still improving, mine=neck fill.

I have a sweetie already picked out from the UC Davis cellar: vintaged dated from your 20's
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#26 Post by J Dove » April 28th, 2018, 3:35 pm

~20 years ago I brought a bottle of 1970 Taylor the first time I went to a Saturday tasting. Made friends for life... literally. It was spectacular then. Probably still is now.
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#27 Post by Vince T » May 18th, 2018, 3:17 pm

Thanks all for the notes. I ended up going with the Taylor, which was beautiful but perhaps made me realize that I just don't love Vintage Port quite the same way that I love Sauternes. The Ardanza was also in a lovely place - makes me feel like I should be stashing my bottles away instead of drinking it as a house wine! The wonderful staff Lazy Bear took great care of us, and the food and convivial atmosphere there are outstanding. It made for a wonderful 48th birthday celebration for my friend Jeremy.

Some notes from the night:
  • 2005 Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Special Club - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (5/16/2018)
    Lovely way to start the evening at lazy bear. Fresh, sharp, great focus, refined, some yeast notes, but clearly still very young and not super developed. Finishes clean. (91 pts.)
  • NV H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (5/16/2018)
    Richer and more yeasty, with a bit of red Apple and strawberry, but without the concentration and cut of the Paul Bara served right before it. I guess I liked the bottle I had several months ago much better... perhaps a different disgorgement? (89 pts.)
  • 1970 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (5/16/2018)
    Decanted for sediment. Nose is beautiful - aged Rioja, Cherry, tobacco, incense, and a bit of VA but not too bad. Good concentration, acid, balance is impeccable, and lighter bodied. Plenty of fruit left, light crancherry, apricot skin, with lots of secondary notes - well worn leather, cigar box, a bit of mushroom. Further positive evolution after 30 mins. Fully resolved tannins but doesn’t seem to be fading. Perfect with roast lamb chops. (93 pts.)
  • 1970 Taylor (Fladgate) Porto Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto (5/16/2018)
    Decanted 5 hours in advance. High octane on the nose, with toffee, baking spice and rumcake. Surprisingly fleet footed and only medium sweet in the mouth; not syrupy at all. Golden raisin, white chocolate, fig, clove and other baking spices. Lots of secondary notes, but still is vigorous and full of life. Really lovely port, but didn’t blow me away; everyone else was swooning though. (94 pts.)
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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#28 Post by Kelly Flynn » May 18th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Well played, Vince. And a positive surprise on the LRA! I am often amazed at the ageability of the Reservas and sometrimes even the Crianzas.

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Help me pick a 1970 Port

#29 Post by lleichtman » May 18th, 2018, 6:57 pm

Vince T wrote:Haha, yes, 4 bottles of port followed by an insulin mainline for dessert.
And also emptying your checking account. [snort.gif]
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