While Taylor's has not declared a classic vintage port blend for 2019 – something they expect to do around three times a decade – they have made the announcement that there will be a variety of single Quinta vintages for the year. This will include the Quinta de Vargellas 2019, their most renowned single quinta wine – meaning it comes from the 60ha of vineyards around the Vargellas estate, whose grapes would normally form the backbone of a classic vintage blend. This port won’t be released until it has been cellar-aged for a number of years and can be offered as a mature port – the current Quinta de Vargellas on the market is the 2013.
Winemaker David Guimaraens hailed the extraordinarily healthy grapes which marked this vintage out. "The cool conditions in August and the much-welcomed rain on the 25th and 26th August, were key to preserving the natural acidity of the grapes that is one of the characteristics of the Ports from 2019," he tells us. "The Vargellas 2019 has an attractive crisp acidity and expresses its terroir with great precision."
This quinta not only has a stellar reputation but also boasts ‘singing’ fruit that has focus, definition and complexity. The nose is polished and precise, displaying bright, pure fruit – think raspberries and cherries as well as dried fruit – alongside botanical notes of bracken, wild herbs and violets. The wine is velvety but racy on the palate with concentrated plum, cherry and sweetly spiced flavours, plus hints of chocolate. And on top of the finesses and purity of the wine there's a backbone of fine integrated tannins and a streak of mineral steeliness, which add further layers.
The Symington Family Estates has followed suit by bottling six quinta vintage Ports from 2019, but no classic vintage ports. Other port houses have declared some classic ports, often in small quantities, including port producer Quinta do Noval with three 2019 vintage ports.