Quinto do Vesuvio 1990 – When I purchased this bottle all the professional reviewers were saying it was a big one….so big, in fact, that it would keep for 30 – 40 years. Well, to date, this is the oldest bottle of wine I have ever kept in my cellar. Vintage port is aged in oak casks for approximately two to two and a half years before bottling and then released for sale 3 years after production. Holding a bottle in the cellar for 24 years is certainly pushing the limits of a home storage facility.
My greatest concern was the condition of the cork. The cork in a bottle of wine is the key to a healthy wine and a measure of proper storage conditions. If the cork shrinks or decays the wine can be ruined.
1990 was the year my daughter, Elizabeth was born. In commemoration of the event I purchased a few bottles of vintage port from that year. If you follow this link you may read more about vintage port and learn about another bottle of the 1990 vintage.
Quinto do Vesuvio 1990
Cork – The cork was in remarkably good condition. There was some evidence of the wine beginning to run a bit up the cork, but I bet this would have been fine to keep in storage for another few years.
Decant – Surprisingly little sediment! Brilliantly clear.
Nose – An overwhelming scent of stone fruit – plums and cherries.
Color – A vibrant tawny – brick tone.
Legs – Thick luscious, long legs indicating a rich, full-bodied wine.
Taste – Wow! …said everyone at the table. Really. Everyone.
We shared 3 cheeses – a Danish blue, a double cream Camembert, and a Vermont white cheddar. I loved the cheddar best. Dark and milk chocolates with nuts and caramel…and cannoli. I forgot to break out the dried cherries and toasted pistachios, but they would have been great compliments as well.
Robert Parker gave this a 93 rating way back in 1992 when he first tasted it. If memory serves, that may have been a tasting direct from the barrel. It is amazing how the professional wine critic is able to call the longevity and depth of wine, but I’d say he was spot on with this call.
Cheese, dried fruits, roasted nuts are all terrific accompaniments to a fine Porto. Some folks like to eat fresh figs while consuming Vintage Port.
Cheese is often served with port. The sharpness of the cheese is a counter-balance to the sweetness of the port. I shopped around for an aged sharp cheddar, some kind of blue mold cheese and something simple – not too sharp, sort of neutral. Three cheeses allow for different taste combinations to meld with the wine.
I don’t normally use very fine and well aged wines for cooking, but this port stirred my culinary genius and I concocted a little something special to go with the second day tasting of this port.
Chicken livers with shallots, raisin and port reduction.
Soak the livers in milk over-night. Drain, rinse and season well with S&P and a touch of turmeric.
Dredge in flour and saute in whole butter. Add the sliced shallots and raisins. As the shallots begin to caramelize flash with port. – reduce and serve with crackers.
This wine was, to date, the best Vintage Port I have ever tasted and the first time I’ve ever stored a wine for nearly a quarter century!
Tasting this wine was somewhat bittersweet. To know that I purchased such a terrific bottle all those years ago, held it in my storage for almost 3 decades and then, opened the bottle to enjoy the wonder of such a rare delight, but the person with whom I most wanted to share it couldn’t be here to experience this pleasure too.
We make our choices and live our lives with all of the consequences of our decisions – for ill or for good. There is no stopping time and no turning back. It is one run from start to finish. Some live long lives and others short. Our experiences comprised of some moments filled with happiness and some others brought sadness as the year rolled by. Time may wash away some of the memories, so perhaps it is best to linger long and savor the pleasant moments. Don’t get too stuck on any of the less enjoyable events. Things can change in a short span of time and you never can tell what’s around the bend.
Here’s to looking up in the next year. Hopefully with fewer friends leaving us.
Cheers and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!