Two outstanding, mature Ports: Graham’s 1952 Single Harvest Tawny & Warre’s Private Cellar 1963 Vintage Port

The Big Fortified Tasting (the b.f.t.) lays claim to being the single largest wine fair in the world which is solely dedicated to fortified wines.

In its third year, founders Danny Cameron and Ben Campbell-Johnston promised a truly outstanding line up, the best yet. And they were right.

This (trade) event is unmissable and I was only sorry not to attend any of the seminars which, by all accounts, were excellent – next year!

To lift off the page just how good the line up was, here are my notes on two absolutely outstanding mature Ports which I’d challenge anyone to spit:

Graham’s 1952 Single Harvest Tawny

From the year in which the queen ascended the throne, this 1952 Single Harvest Tawny (Colheita) has received the Palace’s approval to offer the wine to the public “To Commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” Is it worthy of the honour? I have to admit, I was a little sceptical about the timing but, of course, coming from the Symington Family stable, I should have known better. It is terrific. Rich mahogany in hue, the first clue as to its power and authority lies in its colour – deeper than the 1969 Graham’s Colheita shown alongside it. Both nose and palate exhibit remarkable concentration – a real charge of dried fruits and citrus peel – with liquorice and spice to its long, intense, finish. Lovely precision and freshness too and, in this, quite different from the sweeter, moreish 1961 Single Harvest Tawny. The first release of  Graham’s 1952 Single Harvest Tawny (just 1,000 individually numbered bottles) is being sold exclusively by Berry Brothers & Rudd for £275. Additionally ten jeroboams (4.5 litre bottles) will be released. You can read more about this wine on Graham’s blog here.

Warre’s Private Cellar 1963 Vintage Port

Paler than many a tawny, it’s hard to believe just how intense and lingering this is and, after nearly 50 years, how smooth. It’s a seamless flow of deliciousness, with layers of liquorice, esteva, demerara, cafe creme and macaroons. With wonderful depth and resonance, its softly crooning finish hums for minutes. Fabulous. Click here to find out more about this wine, which comes from the Symington Family’s own private cellars, hence the name.

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