Yeah, yeah, it may be sort of, kind of getting warmer out there here in New England. But it is still rainy, damp, brisk and windy, too. It is way too early to forget about the wonderful world of Port! This week, in fact, just in case dreams of dry rose, picnics with bubbly, or vibrant whites are on the brain, the folks in Portugal are bringing us back to reality. For the first time in four vintages, major Port houses throughout the Duoro have declared 2007 a Vintage year for Port! What does this mean? Well, think of Vintage Port as the top of the totem pole. It is only made in great years, made from the best grapes on offer; there also has to be ample fruit available to meet the demand. No one is allowed to get ahead of themselves either, even if all of the conditions in a given year seem to indicate a Vintage year is inevitable. The Powers That Be have to wait one full year after the vintage year to assess the wines and then declare the Vintage.
Of course... the trick about Vintage Port is that you have to "earn it" to really enjoy it. The tannins are so intense it takes decades for the wine to come into its own. If you open a bottle of Vintage Port after, say, 10 years, your wine will still have very hearty tannin, enough such that you can drink it over several days. On the other hand, if you are a patient soul and wait 40-50 years to drink your Port, it should be enjoyed immediately; the wine has achieved maturity and will not be able to hold up to excessive oxygen exposure.
So if 2007 is an important year for you personally, keep an eye out for these Vintage Ports when they come to market in another few years. Then cellar it for a "special" occassion sometime in the distant future.
Which Vintage Port have you enjoyed? How old was it when you opened it?