Meeting Robert Bower of The Fladgate Partnership


Robert Bower of The Fladgate Partnership


Okay, so here is #awinestory for today.

Port is fabulous – there, I’ve said it.

Most Americans have not grown up with Port and as for myself, only discovered it under stressful, not-fun conditions, such as cramming for examinations for the Master of Wine, the WSET Diploma in earlier days, and other certifications where drinking Port was a studious activity and not quite the pleasure it should be.

Today Robert Bower of The Fladgate Partnership was kind enough to conduct a wonderful tasting through their various lines.

To be very honest, at first I was not looking forward to the tasting of the Croft Pink Porto … what is basically a “ruby port” with less maceration on the skins. Yet Robert is really a brilliant and very convincing individual, and after tasting it (straight, and also the preferred way of turning it into a cocktail with sparkling water and lemon) I see the need for this wine in the international marketplace.

Basically, this port introduces the new generation into Port … it is a very gentle introduction, and with about 98 grams of residual sugar, not as “sweet” as I feared (though when served with sparkling water and lemon one absolutely does not taste the sugar, it just tastes refreshing.

I was absolutely delighted by the Fonseca Bin No 27 Reserve Ruby Porto … this is what the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) called “vintage character” Port and I just learned this term is no longer allowed. It has “vintage character” as it tasted very similar to the 2009 Vintage port, yet of course not the same finesse as the vintage character was over $80 and this Bin No 27 sells for about $20. Yet it was really delicious with concentrated fruit and a firm structure.

We tasted the 2009 Vintage Croft and the 2009 Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage 2009 side by side … price at that level was fairly similar (85 – 100 dollars) and though the Taylor Fladgate had a longer reputation, I really enjoyed the Croft with its lifted elegant flavors.

Then of course came the 10 and 20 Tawny Ports … I loved the 10 year old with 106 grams of residual sugar and of course the 20 year old Tawny with 110 grams of residual sugar … both very balanced and elegant.

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