It started with a question over dinner at a friend’s house.
“I’ve got this bottle of port under the stairs and it appears to be leaking. Do you think it will still be drinkable?”
The bottle in question turned out to be a 1967 Quinta de Vargellas, not exactly your everyday find under the stairs. Considering how long we had been friends I was surprised I had not heard of this earlier. There was a couple of inches of ullage although the seepage under the foil did not seem fresh, rather this had happened some years previously. With a 40 year old tawny sitting in my collection and another friend who is a real port enthusiast, the only thing to do was to arrange to open it amongst fellow port lovers and see what it was like.
After four months we finally managed to arrange our diaries such that we could all get together for lunch. The 1967 had been brought over a few days previously to allow it to settle after a car journey and I was tasked with opening it. Needless to say the cork disintegrated so we had to strain the port through some fine muslin. This was effective at removing the cork and the amount of sediment left in the bottle was incredible – several teaspoons worth.
We had already tried the Calem 40 year old tawny and a 1996 Taylors Quinta de Vargellas but the 1967 held its own against these worthy adversaries. It may not have had the intensity and concentration a 1966 would have had (a better year according to experts) but it was a great experience to drink with the acidity being amazing for a wine this age.