On 23rd April, Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft Ports – all members of The Fladgate Partnership – have, by tradition, announced whether they will release a Vintage Port and, if so, which wines they will bottle. The harvest of 2018 has produced an unusual situation with Taylor’s declaring a ‘Classic Vintage’, something that neither Fonseca or Croft are doing.
Commenting on the decision, Taylor’s managing director, Adrian Bridge said, “This is a year in which overall conditions were excellent but exceptional in the Douro Superior. As Taylor’s is the only one of our companies with extensive land holdings in this part of the Douro, it has been able to make a Classic. All our properties are always farmed so that every grape has the potential of being made into Vintage Port.”
Head winemaker, David Guimaraens, added: “The Douro Superior enjoyed the combination of abundant ground water and hot summer weather which often produces great Vintage Port. It has given us the excellent phenolic maturity typical of a hot ripening season but the fine multi-layered fruit, fresh acidity we normally see in cooler years.”
Adrian resumed, “Although a Classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s is able to make a third in a row. This is very unusual but our principle is that we only declare a Classic Vintage when the quality is there and this is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration. Indeed, in view of the economic situation in which we find ourselves, we will bottle in July as usual but will not offer the wines until early 2021”.
Fonseca will release a 2018 Guimaraens Vintage Port, the first bottling under the Guimaraens label since 2015. Adrian Bridge remarked, “I am delighted that we are releasing Guimaraens Vintage from 2018. The Guimaraens concept is unique, a wine with the same make up and character as the classic Fonseca Vintages but made in a more approachable, early drinking style.” David Guimaraens added, “I believe that the 2018 is one of the finest recent examples of a Guimaraens Vintage, with its rich, dense woodland fruit and sturdy but well integrated tannins.”
Finally, Croft will release a 2018 single-quinta Vintage Port from its historic Quinta da Roêda estate. Adrian Bridge commented, “The Quinta da Roêda 2018 delivers the characteristic ripe fruit and scented quality which are the hallmark of the Roêda wines together with the taut tannins and freshness of the year.”
Commenting generally on the year, David Guimaraens noted, “The 2018 harvest has produced outstanding Vintage Ports, although the year was not without its challenges. These included the severe hailstorm which devastated many Pinhão Valley vineyards on 28th May including those of Taylor’s Quinta do Junco.” He added, “It is important to note that the 2018 wines have the highest colour intensity of recent vintages, always a sign of good extraction and longevity.”
En Primeur Release
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