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2018 Vintage Port
Taylor Fladgate Partnership

It's rare that a Port house declares a Vintage more than three times a decade and the back-to-back declaration of 2016 & 2017 was a rare occurrence so for Taylor's to declare three in a row is remarkable.This is a vintage which has produced wines that are characterised by their impressive concentration and age-worthiness. Anyone fortunate enough to have the 2016 and 2017 is not going to want to miss out on completing the triumvirate with some 2018. Where 2016 stands for elegance and 2017 for hedonism, 2018 is defined by structure.

Fonseca produces Guimaraens in vintages when the wines are considered to be more supple and approachable. Although the fruit is sourced from the same vineyards, they are more accessibly priced than Fonseca Vintage so offer great value.

Roeda is the flagship Quinta and cornerstone of the Croft house. Bottled in 2018 as a Single Quinta, it is able to truly shine as a standalone wine. This is an astonishingly fine Port at the price. Only 2000 cases were produced.

2018 Taylor's Vintage Port
 

£325 per 6x750ml Case, in bond
£330 per 12x375ml Case, in bond
£330 per 3x1.5ltr Case, in bond
£237 per 3ltr, in bond
£480 per 6ltr, in bond


The 2018 Taylor’s Vintage Port comes predominantly from two vineyards: Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta de Terra Feita. It has a classy, aristocratic bouquet, a signature note apropos Taylor’s Vintage: dense black fruit with touches of melted tar, cloves and white pepper. This just builds and builds in the glass. The palate is very harmonious with fine tannins, perfect acidity and very pure with a gentle, almost caressing second half. White pepper interlaces the black fruit with a very precise finish. Pure class. 2032-2075
97 points Neal Martin, Vinous

Red Cherry, rosewater, and a touch of hoisin on the nose. This has a spectacular intensity to every component. Powerfully concentrated black cherry, blackcurrant, and damson. The poignant acidity and crunchy ripe tannins promise a long future. The palate is succulent and fresh, with profound textural depth and definition. 2040-2070+
Simon Quinn, VinQuinn

2018 Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port
 

£115 per 6x750ml, in bond
£120 per 12x375ml, in bond
£120 per 3x1.5ltr, in bond


The 2018 Guimaraens Vintage Port, the first release since 2015, has a rich and opulent bouquet with black cherries, stewed figs and dates. It has a little more warmth than the Quinta da Roeda 2018 tasted alongside, certainly one of the more decadent aromatics. The palate is sweet and fleshy on the entry with black fruit, tar, desiccated orange peel, Xmas cake and juniper berries. I admire the harmony of this Vintage Port. The firm structure only becomes apparent towards the finish. Wonderful length on the aftertaste, the mouth stained with Port for 60 seconds after. Excellent. 2030-2065
95 points Neal Martin, Vinous

The nose is already complex. Bramble and black currant. Blood orange and soy. A note of dried oregano, too. Deep, dark, and brooding. This is classic, old-school Vintage Port. Mouth-watering acidity. Densely packed with black cherry, plum and dark chocolate. Creamy and sensual. Firm structure, with polished tannins. A pure blueberry seam runs throughout the long, fragrant finish. 2030-2055+
Simon Quinn, VinQuinn
 

2018 Croft, Quinta da Roeda
 

£85 per 6x750ml, in bond
£90 per 12x375ml, in bond


The 2018 Quinta da Roeda Vintage Port has an intense nose of black fruit mixed with raisin, fig, cloves and a touch of boot polish. This is well defined, but it requires a few years in bottle, as if I really need to say that. The palate is well balanced with quite a strict, terse opening, very spicy with black pepper, cloves (again) and bay leaf. Broody at first but opening with time to reveal a very attractive and complex, structured finish with hints of tobacco and smoke. This is a lovely nascent Quinta da Roeda but, as if it needs to be said, it will need time. 2030-2065
93 points Neal Martin, Vinous

The nose is full and immediately appealing, with fruitcake and raspberry jam aromas. Fresh, ripe, and juicy. Packed with red summer berries. Strawberry, raspberry, redcurrant, and red cherry. There is a lifted note of Szechuan pepper. Vibrant acidity. Opulent, exuberant, and focussed. It bursts with vitality. Plush and generous. Structured, with velvety tannins. This is a real over-achiever. 2030-2055
Simon Quinn, VinQuinn

Vintage Notes:


The 2018 growing season will be remembered for its unusual weather pattern, which had a very distinct impact on the year.

Following the very dry and hot 2017. The 2017/18 winter was particularly cold, but worryingly dry, and on the 15th January 2018 the Portuguese Meteorological office announced that 56% of the country was in severe drought, affecting in particular the interior North of the country. At this point we were seriously concerned for the survival of our vines during the 2018 season. Fortunately March was very wet with 223 mm of rain, saving the situation and bringing the much needed water.

Budburst occurred at Quinta da Roeda on the 26th March, being 16 days later than 2017, and 10 days later than average. The growing season from March until the end of June was colder than average, and the abundant rainfall during these months resulted in the most challenging year in controlling mildew and bunch rot since 1988. Contrary to 2016 where the outbreak of mildew occurred in April and May, in 2018 the worst infections occurred at the end of June and beginning of July, with the mildew destroying many bunches in vineyards across the region. We also experienced during the 2018 growing season the greatest threat of hailstorms we have experienced in recent years, with Quinta do Junco being devastatingly hit on the 28th May.

The vine development continued three weeks behind 2017, with flowering being registered in the lower vineyards of the Valley in the week of the 21st May. From July forward we had no more rain, and with the temperatures in July continuing relatively mild, the veraison came in the Grade A vineyards in the last week of July.
The first week of August finally saw the Douro heat return, and this time with extreme intensity, with us registering on the 3rd August at the Vargellas weather station 44,22ºC. Although this extreme heatwave did some damage to some of the more exposed vineyards, it was particularly important in recovering the late development of the vines this season.

With plenty of moisture available in the soil, the vines ripened at a steady rate, and the harvest started at Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta da Roeda on the 17th September, and the Quintas in the Pinhão and Tavora Valley starting in the week of the 22nd September. The picking was done under very hot conditions, with no rain falling during the duration of the harvest.

Yields across our Quintas were low, and produced the same quantities that were produced in 2017. The young Ports show good elegance and freshness of fruit, with good acidity and colour intensity.
David Fonseca Guimaraens
October 2018

 

 

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