Taylor’s Port have announced they will release a Vintage Port for 2018.
A Port declaration is a big event in the drinks calendar and in the case of the family-run Taylor Fladgate company, it always happens on St George’s Day. But, in these uncertain times, there is somehow an extra significance in the announcement: a kind of escapist comfort of knowing that eventually there will be better times to enjoy.
On one level a Port declaration may remind you of big celebratory meals with family and friends, at home or in restaurants, and of treasured moments when the pace of life slows and conversations deepen. On another level it brings to mind the need for patience as Vintage Port is often bought in bond, requiring the passage of time for the bottle to reach peak maturity.
Unusually, last Thursday, sister Port houses Fonseca and Croft announced that they will not follow suit with their own Vintage declarations.
Commenting on this unusual situation for the 2018 harvest 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.”
“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.” Indeed, it is the first time in 328 years that a hat-trick of vintages has been declared at Taylor's.
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.”
While Fonseca will not release a Vintage Port under the Fonseca label, they will release a 2018 Guimaraens Vintage Port, a more approachable, early drinking style and the first bottling under the Guimaraens label since 2015. Its rich, dense woodland fruit are matched by sturdy but well integrated tannins.
Croft will release a 2018 single-quinta Vintage Port from its historic Quinta da Roêda estate.
We are told that, in view of the current economic situation, Taylor’s will bottle in July as usual but will not offer the wines until early 2021.