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1945 VINTAGE PORT


If you ever have the chance to taste a 1945 Vintage Port, do not let the opportunity pass, whoever the producer may be. Though most of the Douro Valley still had no electricity (that arrived as late as 1963) and the production process was far less scientific than it is today, it is still brilliantly clear what a talented enologist was able do with perfect grapes over 70 years ago.

1945 is a truly great Vintage Port year, maybe comparable in quality to 1912, 1927, or 1955. Whether years like 1963, 1966, 1970, or 1994 will live up to this quality only time will tell, since some of the ’63s already show more signs of age than many of the ’45s. Most of the latter will still be in their prime in one or even two decades. 

The climatic conditions in 1945 made for perfect grapes. After an averagely cold and wet winter season and a somewhat mixed spring, the Douro Valley experienced one of the most evenly warm growing seasons on record, with only one notably wet period at the end of August—heavy enough to moderate the sugar levels in the grapes, but not so heavy as to cause any serious damage. The average yield was only 2lb (0.9kg) of grapes per vine, and the continuing high temperatures necessitated an early vindima, which was finished by the end of September. 1945 is a “generally declared year,” meaning that at least half of the Port houses registered a Vintage Port.


Single-quinta Vintage Ports (such as Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos) hardly existed at the time. The most famous houses not to declare a Vintage Port in 1945 were Cockburn and Quinta do Noval in respect of its Nacional. Cockburn just missed the time frame for approval at the Port Wine Institute but did, nevertheless, bottle a small quantity of 1945 wine. (If the declaration procedure is not properly followed, it cannot be called Vintage Port.) Noval’s Nacional was not produced, probably because the Van Zeller family who owned it at the time had the same opinion as Noval’s current managing director Christian Seely today: “If the Nacional does not sing, it is not bottled.”


Text courtesy of Axel Probst (worldofport.de)
   

1945 Vintage Port Selection

   

PORT 1945 GRAHAM W. & J.

Bottled 1947, Recorked 1978 by Whitwham

PORT 1945 DA SILVA

Quinta da Noval

PORT 1945 KOPKE

Stencilled Bottle, Label on Back.

PORT 1945 FERREIRA A.A.

Vintage Port

PORT 1945 REAL COMPANHIA VINICOLA

Colheita Port, Velho

PORT 1945 CROFT

Label in Very Bad Shape, Bottled 1947

PORT 1945 SANTOS A.P.

Vintage Port.

MASSANDRA RED PORT 1945

Port from Crimea in the former USSR, with certificate.

   

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