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Unraveling the Secrets of Cognac

France, Fortified Wines & Spirits, Fortified Wines & Spirits, featured

Jason Wilson, Sep 2019

When Cognac is well-made, it’s among the finest spirits known to humanity. But Cognac is a secretive, confounding place. In this report, I unravel the mysteries of Cognac, covering more than 50 brands and offering reviews and ratings on more than 200 bottles.

Graham's 90 year old

Port Is For Life: Symington Vintage & Tawny Ports

Fortified Wines & Spirits, Fortified Wines & Spirits, Portugal, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Neal Martin, Dec 2018

“Port is for life, not just for Christmas.” True, though I am sure sales figures would confirm that more bottles of port, in all its multifarious forms - Vintage, Ruby, Tawny, Single Quinta, Colheita, White or Crusted - are ceremoniously passed to the left over the festive period than at any other time of the year. So it would be remiss of me not to offer Vinous readers an early Christmas present in the shape of a port-themed article.

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Calvados: The Apple Of A Brandy Drinker’s Eye

France, Fortified Wines & Spirits, France: Normandy, featured, France: Other

Jason Wilson, Nov 2018

Forget about grapes in Normandy. Here, the apple is king. Each fall, dozens of apple varieties, in field blends, are harvested, crushed and pressed into cider. In Calvados, much of that cider is distilled into the exquisite apple brandy. It has taken time, but slowly over the past two decades, a serious generation of Calvados producers have elevated the spirit into a conversation with the world’s other great brandies.

Classic roving distiller that would traditionally travel to smaller estates during the late fall after harvest. copy

Exploring the World of Armagnac

France: Armagnac, Spirits, France, Fortified Wines & Spirits, featured, France: Other

Jason Wilson, Jul 2018

Armagnac is perhaps the most wine-like of spirits, and so it makes sense that, at Vinous, we begin our foray into the high-proof world of liquor by looking deeply into this classic brandy from Gascony. With a history that goes back more than 700 years, Armagnac offers authenticity, character and tradition, all of which are reflected in spirits that are imbued with notable complexity.

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Vintage Port – The 2016 Declaration

Fortified Wines & Spirits, Portugal, featured

Neal Martin, Jun 2018

One of the highlights of any year is the rare instance in which the major Port houses come together in unison around St. George’s Day to declare. Unlike Bordeaux, where you have barely recovered from the last primeur when the next one arrives, general Port declarations tend to arise approximately three times per decade, thereby avoiding fatigue. So, whilst the dazzling 2011 Vintage Ports remain fresh in my mind, the 2016s arrive at a time when I am ready for more.

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Cellar Favorite: 1948 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port

Fortified Wines & Spirits, Portugal, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, May 2018

There is Vintage Port and then there is the 1948 Taylor Fladgate. It remains a monumental Port that towers over the 20th century. Nineteen forty-eight is perhaps one of the lesser-known declarations compared to 1945 and 1963, although nine houses declared that year. Michael Broadbent described that as an “error of judgment” given the quality of the vintage in retrospect. I have been fortunate to taste the 1948 Taylors on several occasions, encountering one or two perfect bottles along the way. “Christopher & Co” bottled my most recent encounter in 1950, British merchants bottling a lion’s share of production in those days.

Centenario bottle shot

Cellar Favorites: 1870 & 1970 Centenario Colheita Tawny Port

Fortified Wines & Spirits, Portugal, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Feb 2018

One area I am particularly looking forward to getting my palate round once again are the great fortified wines of the Douro Valley: Vintage Ports, Colheita, Tawny and who knows, even those Crusted Ports.

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2011 Vintage Ports

IWC, Fortified Wines & Spirits

Stephen Tanzer, May 2014

The 2011 vintage ports, the first widely declared port vintage since 2007, arrived in the market with great fanfare

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2009 Vintage Ports

IWC, Fortified Wines & Spirits

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2012

Two thousand nine will be remembered in the Douro Valley as a year of low yields due mainly to the dry, dusty ripening season, the third consecutive dry year for the region

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Vertical Tasting of Quinta do Noval's Nacional Vintage Port

IWC, Fortified Wines & Spirits

Stephen Tanzer, Nov 2012

The first vintage of Quinta do Noval's Nacional port, the 1931, is considered one of the greatest wines ever made by those lucky enough to have tasted this extremely rare bird