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1977 Ports for the Holidays - Perfect Picks to Celebrate the Season - 12/01/2017 - Port

With the official start of winter less than a month away, we can say with confidence that Port season is here. In preparation, we’ve stocked up one of favorite vintages in the last seventy years: the historic 1977s. Now in their fortieth year, the ‘77s are showing brilliantly. Still with plenty of vitality, they beautifully capture everything we love about this heralded region. Featured here are the top houses of Graham’s, Warre’s, Taylor, and Quarles Harris. While each possess their own unique profile all show impressive concentration and range. These are impressively complex wines that are a delight to drink now, but have enough body and structure to develop for another thirty years. We can’t think of a better way to end a special evening or meal than with one of these truly classic bottlings. While there aren’t a ton of 1977s let in the market, we were still able to secure very sharp pricing on the entire set. Pick up a bottle for now and another for a special occasion down the road, you’ll be glad you did.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
1977 Quarles Harris Vintage Port $129.99 View
1977 Warre's Vintage Port 94 $139.99 View
1977 Dow's Vintage Port 93 $149.99 View
1977 Graham's Vintage Port 93 $149.99 View
1977 Taylor Vintage Port 97 $219.99 View


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1977 Quarles Harris Vintage Port ($129.99)

Jancis Robinson: "Healthy ruby with a brick rim. Quite subtle already; there is some perceptible evolution of colour and flavour here. Mineral rather than fruit flavours dominate. Very big and full. Very, very sweet indeed - in fact I thought it was from a Portuguese house. This wine delivers a pretty good combination of power, interest and, especially, sweetness. This is not a wine to be ignored! But it's a very particular style....without enormous tannic reserves. (JR)" (08/2005)

Wine Spectator: "Medium ruby-garnet. Aromas of fresh cherry and hints of custard pie. Medium-bodied and medium sweet. It shows some alcohol and nutty character. (JS, Web-2008)"

K&L Notes: Founded in the late 17th century, and owned by the original founding family until the 1920's when it was sold to AJ Symington, Quarles Harris is - around these parts, at least - still not particularly well known. These are well made Ports and fine values, particularly in vintages as strong as 1977.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 14, 2017

This little known port house is actually one of the oldest, first founded in 1680 and held by the same family up until 1920 or so, at which point the Symington family (who own Graham's, Dow's, and Warre's) purchased it. This wine is in great shape, likely re-conditioned with what appears to be a newer cork. Relatively light on the palate, there is a perfectly balanced sweetness, notes of candied violet, lovely minerality and an overall sense of subtlety and elegant balance. Not a blockbuster, but rather a beauty, Quarles Harris also happens to be the most reasonably priced of our 1977 vintage ports.

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 14, 2017

Today was my first time tasting Quarles Harris vintage port and I must say, I am extremely impressed. The 1977 is defined by elegance and grace. The first shock was in the color. It's delicate, a clean and bright garnet. It's almost like a Pinot Noir. The aromatics are equally graceful with bright florals and sweet spices. The brandy is perfectly integrated into the wine lending just enough power to carry through the black berries but never overwhelming the fruit notes. From the all-time great 1977 vintageat 40 years old the Quarles Harris does not disappoint.

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1977 Warre's Vintage Port ($139.99)

94 points James Suckling: "The Warre was beautiful now. It showed lots of dried fruits and Christmas cake character on the nose and palate. Medium sweet. It was full-bodied with loads of flavor and an intensely flavorful finish. It was perfect to drink." (06/2016)

93 points Wine Spectator: "Deep garnet. Very pretty plum and berry aromas, with hints of honey and toffee. Turns to custard. Full-bodied, sweet and fresh. Firm tannins, with elegance and balance. Will age for a long time, but ready. Generous, but subtle. (JS, Web-2008)"

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This house makes rather restrained yet rich, flavorful vintage port and a very good tawny called Nimrod. Their vintage ports seem slow to develop, and while they never quite have the voluptuous richness of a Dow, Graham, or Fonseca, they have a unique mineral-scented character that gives them their own complexity and style. The 1977 is quite powerful, very deep and intense, particularly for Warre. (RP)" (01/1989)

K&L Notes: Warre's is known for their sense of restraint and elegance in their vintage ports. While it sometimes means wines that age very well if not quite as long as the big four houses, the 1977 shows beautiful development and tastes wonderfully now. This is ideally to be enjoyed this holiday season and over the next few years.

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1977 Dow's Vintage Port ($149.99)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is an extraordinary house that seems to have been particularly successful with its vintage port since 1977.The 1977, still a baby, is fabulously scented, very rich and concentrated, and has a potential longevity of at least another 30-50 years. (RP)" (01/1989)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Medium brick-red. Aromas of coffee, prune and milk chocolate. Full-bodied and medium sweet, with a licorice, berry, custard and cream character. Firm and racy. Long and delicious. Firm and beautiful. (JS, Web Only-2008)"

Jancis Robinson: "Pale transparent ruby. High toned and subtle orange peel and great freshness. Some treacle and beautifully ready. Hint of roses. Spirit but not too much. Great stuff! 18.5/20 Points (JR)" (01/2017)

K&L Notes: Dow produces one of the most consistently long lived ports of all the great houses, and in a vintage as classic as 1977, that means that at 40 years of age, it is truly hitting its stride. A fantastic wine.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 09, 2017

For world-class wines, this is a steal. From a legendary vintage that is drinking in its prime, this is one beautiful bottle of porto. Black cherry, leather, cocoa and herbal mint notes with a beautiful texture and great acidity for freshness and balance. The finish is complex and long. One could easily spend much more on a bottle of wine not nearly as good.

Cliff Spinola | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

This vintage port is bursting with dark fruit on the nose that transfers immediately to the front palate upon tipping the glass. The balance and structure of this wine keep the fruit from overpowering the mouthfeel, leaving all of your senses touched just right by every delicate drop. Even those unaccustomed to fortified wines will enjoy the complexity and pure joy of this amazing port!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

This is an absolutely delicious, impeccably balanced bottle of port from the great 1977 vintage. Dow's style is relatively drier than most of the other houses, except perhaps Taylor's, and after 40 years of ageing, it has reached prime drinking: beautiful florals, perfectly sweet fruits and a graceful mouth feel all combine to make this one of the more memorable vintage ports I have yet to enjoy. A real treat, and a perfect gift to mark that 40th birthday or anniversary.

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2017

A once in a generation vintage. It's utterly superb across the board. The Dow shows remarkably savory with a wonderfully bright acidity and a core of dark fruits. For someone who doesn't drink an enormous amount of vintage port (not for lack of trying...), I was stunned at just how fresh and youthful this 40 year old wine feels. The perfect way to end a meal, not too sweet, but just sweet enough to scratch your itch for dessert.

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1977 Graham's Vintage Port ($149.99)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Graham is another great port house, producing one of the deepest-colored and sweetest styles of vintage port. Along with Taylor and Fonseca, Graham has probably been the most consistent producer of great port in the post- World War II era. Their tawnys are quite good rather than exceptional, but their vintage ports are truly sublime and sumptuous. (RP)" (01/1989)

91 points Wine Spectator: "Medium ruby-red. Aromas of milk chocolate, plum, mint and violet. Full-bodied, with medium sweetness and lots of berry and cherry fruit. Very fruity and fresh. Long and lively. Delicious now, but will improve. (JS, Web-2008)"

Jancis Robinson: "Really perfumed - cedarwood and cigar box. Cedarwood and sandalwood and cinnamon - incense-like. Rich and generous on the palate. Drink 2005-2030. 18/20 Points (JH)" (10/2010)

K&L Notes: Graham's is one of the historic houses that is capable of producing wine of the vintage type wines in certain years. While the competition is stiff in a once in a generation vintage such as 1977, Graham's did in fact produce an incredible wine that continues to stand the test of time. While it should continue to hold up nicely for another 5+ years, it's drinking terrifically now.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

Graham's Vintage Port from a vintage as strong as 1977 is truly one of the greatest and most long lived wines around. This '77 shows all the trademark richness and generosity on the palate, with a lovely herbal and almost amaro-like complexity which certain fine vintage Ports begin to acquire after 40 years of bottle age. A great bottle of wine and ideal gift for 40th birthdays or anniversaries.

Cliff Spinola | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

A shining star in a stellar vintage from the Duoro. The nose seemed soft and delicate to me for a 40 year old port. The first taste was packed with dark red berries and plum of medium sweetness. The long, lasting finish was earthy and divine. A classic celebratory bottle for any special occasion or just because!

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2017

I've been lucky enough to be around when '77's get opened on several occasions. It really is a stunning vintage. Marked by rain the previous winter, cool and long growing conditions, hotter harvest months with just enough sprinkles to keep things fresh, these wines are beautiful and balanced. The richness of the Graham's is off the charts with tons of sweet red and black fruits, but it's marked by strong savory and herbal undertones. A lively thread of acidity runs through it so that every sip hits all your taste buds. This would be a very special way to celebrate your 40th.

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 15, 2017

Perfect gift for that fortieth birthday or anniversary. There are not any real good 1977 California or Bordeaux wines.

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1977 Taylor Vintage Port ($219.99)

97 points Wine Spectator: "Good ruby color still. The nose is fresh, with lots of crushed berry and plum, with a hint of piecrust. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a caressing texture. This delivers loads of complex fruit and spiciness. Medium-sweet. A beauty. Will improve for decades, but why wait? (Web-2008)"

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This house must certainly be the Latour of Portugal. Their ports are remarkably backward yet still impressive when young. Of all the vintage ports, those of Taylor need the longest time to mature and even when fully mature seem to have an inner strength and firmness that keep them going for decades. Their tawnys are also among the very best, though somewhat expensive. The 1977 has consistently been at the top of my list of vintage ports in this great vintage, although the Dow, Graham, and Fonseca are equally splendid. It is a mammoth, opaque, statuesque vintage port of remarkable depth and power, but is should not be touched before 2000." (01/1989)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The most prominently floral wine in the vertical, but that delicacy is amply backed by plush chocolate and dried fruit flavors. The finish is deceptively soft and welcoming, but still shows great backbone and the ability to go many more years." (02/2007)

K&L Notes: We believe that Taylor produces the most consistently great ports, and the great 1977 is arguably the wine of the vintage. Terrific style, poise and elegance in a wine that drinks fantastically as it will continue to do for at least another decade.

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2017

Powerful and elegant. Just like it'd expect it to be. This is drinking supremely well as its 40th comes to a close. The nose has a great cocoa note to complement the fruit which carries all the way through to the finish. It's lively and still very fresh and the brandy is nicely integrated into the wine. It's a classic wine from a legendary house in a perfect vintage. What more could you ask for on top of the outstanding price?

Staff ImageShaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 13, 2017

Always a favorite of mine from the 1977 vintage, the Taylor is now (2017) drinking beautifully and still showing it's complex house style of plenty of rich mid palate fruit, sweet and dark with an incredible violet and rose petal overlay with a lovely silken finish. The finesse that this port has developed over the years compliments the still noticeable power perfectly.