When it comes to vintage Port, Classic Vintages tend to be declared sparingly (3 per decade on average). But to have three back-to-back vintages declared, as Taylor's have done recently, is extremely rare. The quality has to be truly exceptional to justify this occurrence and yet despite a challenging start to the 2018 viticultural cycle, and as the harvest drew nearer, the conditions for making outstanding Vintage Port all fell into place. Yields were low, but some fine Ports have been made.
Commenting on the decision to declare 2018 as a classic Vintage, 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."
Clearly, Taylor's made the right call as the wine press have been universal in their high praise, such as Neal Martin at Vinous, describing the 2018 Vintage as “Pure class".
Outside of the classic Vintage label, there are also a number of other excellent examples of Port declarations from the 2018 vintage that represent great value and certainly worthy of attention.
Fonseca will release a 2018 Guimaraens Vintage Port and the first bottling under the Guimaraens label since 2015. The Guimaraens concept is unique, offering 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 believes 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.”
All three are due to be bottled in July and shipped in October 2021. The Croft will be drinking beautifully after only another 2-3 years in bottle, whereas the other two will reward keeping until their 10th anniversary, if you can! Needless to say, these three Ports will continue to evolve for many, many more years.
Half bottles are also being offered, which I find a very convenient size with fortified wines. It is also worth noting that wine tends to age a little more quickly in smaller bottles too.
I hope this selection is of interest and please let me know before the end of April if you would like me to secure stock of any of these for you.
Karl Elwood, Director