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Senior editor James Suckling joined Wine Spectator in 1981 and retired in 2010. As European bureau chief, he was based in Tuscany and tasted the wines of Italy, Bordeaux and Port.
James Suckling

A Vintage Port for a Friend's Birth Year

Croft Vintage Port 1960

James Suckling
Posted: April 20, 2009

A friend of mine from Los Angeles, Steve Winfield, was staying with me in Tuscany with his girlfriend, which prompted me to break out a lot of great bottles. Since he doubles as a wine merchant specializing in Bordeaux, I was showing him the diversity of Tuscan wines, both young and old, one night in my kitchen. And we followed that up with a special treat from his birth year.

First, we tasted (drank) four different Tuscan reds, including 2006 Testamatta, 2006 Petrolo Galatrona, 1997 Eredi Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino and 1997 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Grandi Annate Riserva. I think that they certainly impressed him. The 2006s were structured, yet balanced and very drinkable. The 1997s were fresh and youthful, yet complex and polished. Steven, who is a Bordeaux freak, was surprised at how bright and fruity the wines were, and he thought they complemented Italian food well. Granted, I served some grilled lemon chicken breasts on a bed of wilted spinach with a tomato salsa on top, so the meal was more L.A. than Firenze!

But the wine I really want to tell you about was the Croft Vintage Port 1960 that I decanted. I found out that, although Steven was born in 1960, he had never had a great Vintage Port from that year. So I had to serve him the Port, even though I knew that we would be the worse for wear the following morning. The wine was gorgeous, with sweet aromas of cherry jam and dark berries, a rich and sweet palate, fresh acidity and a clean finish. It was not at all alcoholic like so many of the 1960 Vintage Ports. In fact, I think that the Croft is the best 1960 of them all. 92 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original official tasting note for Croft Vintage Port 1960 (90 points, $NA).

• Plus, check all our past Vintage Port ratings and our vintage chart for Vintage Port.

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