2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

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Andy Velebil
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2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by Andy Velebil » 07:50 Sun 13 May 2018

I'm not sure if this belongs here or in a different sub-forum. If so, Mod's please move or send off into individual tasting notes or however you see fit. Cross-posted from :ftlop2014:

2016 Vintage Port Declaration Release Tour
San Francisco, California
May 10, 2018


I was very fortunate to attend this Vintage Port Preview Tasting up in the scenic City of San Francisco, held at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel. For this Declaration four Houses teamed up to present their wines and, most importantly, their 2016 Vintage Ports. The Symington Family Estates, Quinta do Noval, The Fladgate Partnership and Quinta da Romaneira.

Before I get into my tasting notes I’ll detail some background information. The tasting was broken into four main parts. A short walk-around preview of many of the Ports, some White Port and a couple of dry wines from Quinta do Vesuvio and Quinta do Noval. Then it was the main event, a seated tasting of the 2016 VP’s which was led by leading members of each company. Then a brief break and another seated tutored tasting of the older Ports the respective Houses brought along to show how they age. After that was done, the last go was again a self-guided go around of what was left of all the Ports.

It was refreshing to have these four companies present together as it made tasting a decent amount of young VP’s side-by-side, comparing different house styles, easy. However, it’s not easy getting four companies together for a tour like this so my hat goes off to them for pulling it off. Almost everything was presented in the seated tasting. However, several Ports were only on offer during the walk-around; Vesuvio’s Capela, Stone Terrace, Quinta de Roriz, and Smith Woodhouse. As such my notes on these are quite sparse as it was hard to get a decent sized pour to get even a brief evaluation of them.

THE YEAR OVERALL:
I won’t get into detail as much has already been said here on the Forum about it and most reading this already know how it went anyways. The important part to remember is yields were WAY down. If you thought there wasn’t much 2011 released, there’s even less 2016. So I’d suggest you put your orders in early, as they will sell through rather quickly.

NOTES:
Presented in the order they were tasted. IMPORTANT PART… these are snap-shot tastings notes. I had about 5 minutes with each before we moved on to the next. As with any young VP they change, often changing drastically day by day. So what may not show well today, tomorrow could be the star of the line up and vice versa. As such there is a range of scores I’ll use. But hopefully I can give you all a decent sense of where each falls.

2016 Cockburn’s Vintage Port
Very tannic and tight, plenty of pepper spice. Has the most weight and complexity of any recent Cockburn’s I’ve had. After a lot of hard work restoring this House’s reputation, the Symington’s are almost there.
92-94 Points

2016 Croft Vintage Port
The nose on this was downright weird, full of passion fruit. The palate also had a touch of it as well, but thankfully far less. Full of dark stone fruits but tannins weren’t there. This didn’t seem to be showing so well at the moment. David Guimareans said that unique smell and taste was a result of the very old mixed vine plantings at Quinta da Roeda, which make up a sizeable portion of the Port. It was interesting to later taste the Quinta da Romaneira which also showed it.
89-91

2016 Dow’s Vintage Port
Bold violets, chocolate, soft textured dark fruits, spices came on the back end along with a big wave of tannins and acidity. This showed a bit off-dry with a wonderfully long finish.
93-95 Points

2016 Fonseca Vintage Port
Dark chocolate and spicy fruit. Much sweeter than the Dow’s that preceded it. Massive tannins and a wonderful lushness of fruit with some cloves on the very long dusty tannic finish.
94-96 points

2016 Graham’s Vintage Port
I was immediately struck by how big this was. Bold fruit, great acidity, big dusty tannins, minerality but still retaining lovely freshness. The extra long complex finish capped on what is a fantastic VP. It tied for 2nd place as my favorite of these young Ports in this tasting.
95-97+ Points

2016 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port
I was able to try this twice, once at the walk around and at the seated, so this is a combination of those two notes. It also highlights why a tiny sample doesn’t yield the same result as a proper glass. The first glass showed rich fruit, awesome tannins, and a long finish. But it lacked the overall complexity the later notes showed. I was at 93-95 Points. The second glass at the seated tasting showed far more complexity, some tobacco notes, a more off-dry sensation, a touch of stems (I forgot to ask if there was stem inclusion in this) and an amazingly long finish. A wonderful Port that will outlive me by a long margin.
94-96 Points

2016 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port
Trivia for us Port Nerds first. Tinta Cao makes up about 20% of the Nacional Vineyard. I also got to try this twice and it also highlights why a proper glass makes a difference. The first showed similar to the regular Noval with just a bit more tannins, less spices, but good acidity. I gave it 94-96 points. The seated tasting this showed much darker fruit than the regular bottling, mocha, very dusty tannins, amazing acidity, licorice, and cigar notes on the back palate. The incredibly long finish wrapped up a fantastic VP. This tied with Graham’s as my 2nd favorite of the night.
95-97+ Points

2016 Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port
When Mr. Seely took over the property in 2004 there was only about 36 hectares of usable vines out of a 400 hectare property. The others were so badly neglected they weren’t usable. With replanting they are now up to 86 hectares of vines. However, only the old original 36 are used in this blend. It also showed that passion fruit and herbal nose that the Croft did which was quite interesting given that both use very old mixed field blend grapes. Chocolate, herbal, slightly sweeter than some others, moderate tannins but good minerality. A medium long finish rounded out an enjoyable Port. It has been a lot of work to get this property back in shape and the work is showing.
90-92 Points

2016 Taylor’s Vintage Port
This also had some of that old mixed vine wildness on the nose. Softly textured at first that built with a little air. Tannins came quite late along with dense stone fruits. This had the complexity but needed a lot of coaxing to come out and play otherwise. I would like to try this again sometime soon as I don’t think it was showing it’s best today.
92-94+ Points

2016 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port
About 1,200 cases. This made up only 2 ½ % of total production from the Quinta. Still a touch tanky on the nose. The palate was full of rich bold layered and textured fruit, spices, minerality, menthol, plenty of acidity, and a long lingering finish. This was very close to also tying for 2nd place.
94-96+ Points

2016 Warre’s Vintage Port
I love this House’s style. However, to say I was a bit apprehensive to taste this at the end was an understatement. Typically being a more elegant styled Port it often gets unfairly overshadowed by other’s which show more bolder fruit. Boy, how I was wrong today. Fantastic fresh violets and fruit on the nose. Wow! This hit me like a ton of bricks from the first sip. Massive fruit and tannins, spices, tobacco, tea, tons of acidity, minerality, fantastic grip, resin and that was before we got to the amazingly long rich finish. This was a stunner and showed at the top of its game at this tasting. I see why it was put at the end of the tasting. This left me speechless!
97-98+ Points


OTHER 2016 PORTS:
As I mentioned these were tiny pours at the walk around tasting. As such I really couldn’t get a good read on them and I won’t put scores as a result. I do hope I can try these again soon and get a proper note posted, which they deserve.

2016 Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port
Medium bodied, good fruit and moderate tannins.

2016 Quinta do Vesuvio Capela Vintage Port
Tannic and full bodied. Loved the acidity in this. Good long finish

2016 Graham’s Stone Terrace Vintage Port
Nice spices, dark fruit, herbs and chocolate. Solid tannins and long gripy finish



OVERALL IMPRESSION:
Anyone who says 2016 shouldn’t have been declared is flat out wrong. There are some amazing Ports produced, as this tasting shows. But it was a vintage that required nerves of steel and patience…and being able to keep workers on payroll while waiting out the grapes. There is no doubt the debate will rage for years about 2015 vs. 2016. I firmly believe 2016 will be the better overall year in the end. Time will tell if I’m right or wrong.



THE OLDER PORTS:
Also listed in the order tasted. Due to time constraints we tasted through these quite quickly. I saved some for after and got to revisit some as well. These were decanted about 3 hours prior from what I was told. So again, take the scores with a little grain of salt as it was a snap shot tasting of these as well. My point of posting these is more to capture the overall point of where they are right now in their evolution and less of an actual number.

2007 Fonseca Vintage Port
Aromatic nose just showing some secondary notes. A touch spirity (decanting issue most likely), very tannic still, but young fruit. Still posses that awesome structure and will make a wonderful old Port with time.
93-95 points

2003 Croft Vintage Port
This baby was closed up tighter than a drum. It showed soft texture, spirit, and tannins. Very little fruit. I have always loved this, it was a favorite from the vintage, and it is clearly entered that teenage phase. Leave this alone for a few more years.
Not Rated

2000 Quinta do Noval Vintage Port
The color is still holding very nicely. Baked plums and leather on the nose. The palate is just now starting to show a little of those secondary characteristics. There isn’t much change from when it was younger. Still a beast of a Port, full of youthful tannins, fruit, acidity, and complexity. There is a reason I own more of this than any other 2000 VP. If you don’t own any get it now!
95-97 Points

1997 Warre’s Vintage Port
Picking didn’t start until September 29th. Slight bricking now showing in the color. A touch medicinal on the nose. However, the palate showed lovely hints of cedar, baked plums, tobacco leaf, wild fennel, eucalyptus, and a long lingering finish. A very nice VP from a vintage that doesn’t get much love.
93-94 Points

1994 Quinta do Noval Nacional Vintage Port
Just a hint of bricking on the color. Spicy leather nose. Still mostly youthful on the palate but there is some secondary notes just barely poking through. The first hint of secondary notes I’ve seen in this. Amazinly fresh but big bodied fruit, chocolate, tannins, and that super long lingering finish.
96-97+ Points

1985 Taylor’s Vintage Port
A pale ruby color with licorice and cigar box on the nose. Mostly mature on the palate with tobacco, cedar, raspberries, a touch of spirit, and a medium finish. This has always showed as a middle of the road, early maturing VP. This bottle however was the best showing of it I’ve had in memory.
92 Points

1983 Graham’s Vintage Port
I believe this came from a magnum or larger based on the cork I saw, but I wasn’t able to confirm. Picking started on October 3rd, quite late! Still a dark ruby in color. The nose was stewed and off. Stewed fruit with hints of V.A., still tannic. I’ve had this a lot and something wasn’t right with this bottle.
Not Rated

1980 Dow’s Vintage Port
The color of this is amazingly dark still, like a VP 20 years younger. Still youthful plums on the nose. The palate is also still showing young fruit, plenty of tannins and acidity, lots of complexity. This shows like a VP far younger than what it is. Just a fantastic showing of this.
96-97 Points


OTHER PART 2:
If you’re still reading there were a couple of dry wines on offer, and a Fonseca White Port which I didn’t try since I’ve had it tons of time.


2015 Quinta do Vesuvio Douro DOC
Fresh, complex, allspice, long finish. Loved this wine.

2015 Quinta do Noval Douro DOC
Tight fruit, more old school styled which I loved. A touch of green stems, pepper. Also loved this one and wish I could have spent more time enjoying it.

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g-man
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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by g-man » 04:24 Mon 14 May 2018

I attended the NY tasting, I much prefered the Dow's and the Graham's Stone terraces as my top two of the vintage.

The noval was solid like previous years. I'm shocked at the black pepper notes from the Fonseca as the 97, 2000, 2003 had a beautiful fleshy peach note that has been absent in the 07,09,11 and 16s.

the 2016 croft i thought was awesome. It's that passion fruit/orange marmalade in all its youth hedonistic glories that fade back and lightens up dramatically in older crofts! I love that fruit note!

re: 1983. That's EXACTLY my thought too. I went to the back and smelled multiple 750s they had. Every single one had a strong notes of stewedness and VA. To have a fellow port lover on the other side of this continent have similar notes is very discerning.

our 1980 dow: unfortunately suffered similar fate, i'm glad yours showed much better! There was none left of the other bottles to see if my tasting bottle was a dud.
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Andy Velebil
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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by Andy Velebil » 07:20 Mon 14 May 2018

g-man wrote:
04:24 Mon 14 May 2018
I attended the NY tasting, I much prefered the Dow's and the Graham's Stone terraces as my top two of the vintage.

The noval was solid like previous years. I'm shocked at the black pepper notes from the Fonseca as the 97, 2000, 2003 had a beautiful fleshy peach note that has been absent in the 07,09,11 and 16s.

the 2016 croft i thought was awesome. It's that passion fruit/orange marmalade in all its youth hedonistic glories that fade back and lightens up dramatically in older crofts! I love that fruit note!

re: 1983. That's EXACTLY my thought too. I went to the back and smelled multiple 750s they had. Every single one had a strong notes of stewedness and VA. To have a fellow port lover on the other side of this continent have similar notes is very discerning.

our 1980 dow: unfortunately suffered similar fate, i'm glad yours showed much better! There was none left of the other bottles to see if my tasting bottle was a dud.
The Croft was weird because it was so different than all the others. Even the Romaniera, which had very similar notes but on a far lesser scale. More like background notes. Whereas the Croft was very up front and dominating. I don't recall getting that in other recent young Croft's. The only other reference to such an exotic nose was by Roy Hersh in one tasting note for the 2009 Croft VP.

As for the 1983. It should be mentioned the NY tasting was a few days before the San Fran one and the two of us didn't discuss or read the others notes prior. I would assume these are ex-cellar bottles shipped over for the tastings. I've had this a bunch from original release bottles and have never experienced the stewdness or VA before. I've looked over a bunch of TN's for this and have only found 3 that mention VA, all from AHB. One in 2005, 2008 and 2013. His 2005 note mentions stewed plums on the nose. Perhaps there have been some bottles that have been stored or shipped in warmer temps and that has caused that stewedness and the resulting VA to show up. Speculating there as it doesn't seem to affect all bottles of it. Considering how many of these we've collectively consumed over the years there is only a tiny amount which have shown it.

Bummer on your Dow's.

I unfortunately didn't get to get a good read on the "super" Ports because of the small pour at the walk-around. So I didn't factor them into my overall ranking. I do wish they would have been included in the sit down portion where I could have spent more time with a larger pour to get a decent note on it.

And to reiterate. These are super young VP's and they can show drastically different day to day. So today's ranking or scores could be quite different tomorrow or the next day. What may show well for you one day may not show so well for me the next. There's a reason I put that disclaimer in there about this. As we all here on the Forum know 5 minutes with Ports meant to live close to a century doesn't always do them proper justice at this young stage.

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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by jdaw1 » 15:50 Mon 14 May 2018

Thank you for posting, and at such length.

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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by g-man » 21:40 Mon 14 May 2018

Very true on the young ports, and not only that, some were cask samples.

The NY tasting had less people and from the pictures looked like a small venue so we got pretty decent sized pours on most wines. I was fortunate enough to have Dominic swing by to say "Hi" so the pourer did me solid on the Grahams Stone terraces and the Vesuvio Capela!

Question now exists, what shall one buy from this vintage! I see only the Fonseca is being offered state side right now.
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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:57 Mon 14 May 2018

I believe these all should be on offer by later this month or early next. I don't see them lasting much beyond summer before they all sale through. So I wouldn't wait if you're gonna order some.


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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by AHB » 13:11 Fri 01 Jun 2018

For what it's worth, I thought I would add my impressions of the 2016 ports I have had chance to taste so far, so you can compare and contrast my thoughts with Andy's. Bearing in mind that we like different things in our wines, you can draw your own conclusions:

Cockburn 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

2,450 cases. Deep crimson colour with a reluctant nose showing a little fruit. Nice texture on the palate with smooth fruit that carries a lovely ripeness. Lots of tannins show on the palate, which retains a nice freshness. Lavender shows on the aftertaste, which has a great finish with an unexpected and very pleasant green element. 89-91.

Croft 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

I found the Croft more difficult to analyse than the Fonseca or Taylor wines, not picking up the "exuberant fruit" which the TFP tasting note referred to. However, 2 year old port has a mind of its own and will show very differently from one day to the next. I experienced a wine which was a deep red colour with a wide rim. Surprisingly different on the nose from its peers at this presentation, this wine showed strawberry and passion fruit. On the palate the predominant fruit was blueberry-skin tannins with a huge overtone of esteva and just a hint of unintegrated alcohol. The tannins were perfect; big, bold and derived from the fruit but dominating the fruit at the moment. Medium length finish, chewy and peppery. I need to revisit this one. 89-91.

Dow 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval. SFE confirmed they will be releasing 2.25l tregnum style Tappit Hens of their 2016 wines from Graham, Graham Stone Terraces, Vesuvio, Vesuvio Capela, Dow, Warre and Cockburn. Starting with this vintage, SFE have also put the number of cases of each wine on the label of the bottle so consumers are aware of how rare these fine wines are.

5,480 cases made. A powerful looking deep purple colour. A very attractive fresh nose of summer meadows, of grass and meadow flowers. So restrained on entry, the fruit and structure arrives as slowly as molasses, teasing and tantalising with fruit and flowers that come with stunning clarity and delicious cornflower. This turns into a huge mouthful of a wine that has masses of fruit but also has the tannin and acidity to back up the fruit. A delicious, delightful aftertaste dominated by the luminous fruit (can fruit be luminous? It certainly felt like it was glowing with vibrancy) and a touch of heat. Stunning. 96-98.

Fonseca 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval. It was confirmed that TFP will also be releasing a Skeffington blend.

A distinctive strawberry red colour with a medium rim. Modest nose, led by the fruit but in a restrained and elegant "Edwardian Lady" manner like Fonseca should be; elegant and full of flower perfume. Wonderfully smooth texture to the wine, more restraint before the exotic world of Fonseca fruit starts to take shape on the mid-palate with alpine strawberries and tropical mango rubbing shoulders. There is grip, but even the tannins are Fonseca's version with green and black tea rather than dark chocolate but don't underestimate their power! With sweet fruit and a solid grip to the good length finish this is a wine which shows all the egenace and refinement that embodies Fonseca. 91-93.

Graham 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval. Presented by Paul Symington. 2016 is Paul's 40th vintage and 11th declaration which he described as "A wine with a special rhythym". The winter and spring were warm and wet; the summer very long and very hot; late September saw just a couple of days of rain which brought the wines to a perfect point; the nights were cool but the days warm and sunny which enhanced freshness. The best wines were made from grapes picked around the end of September but the declaration is a small one with volumes down 20% on normal. Malvedos provided the majority of grapes for the Graham vintage, together with Vinhas Velhas from Tua and grapes from Malhadas and Vilha Velha.

6,325 cases produced. Deep purple in colour. Cold and reluctant to show anything on the nose at first but enough patience to allow the wine to warm slightly allowed attractive fruit with a good density and a lot of acidity to show in the glass. The wine has a lovely balance on entry with the powerful tannins balancing the dense, sweet fruit to give a great palate presence and a superb sweet fruit aftertaste that is dense, ripe, floral and very long lasting. Deep and rich, this is an opulent port built for the long term. 94-96.

Graham Stone Terraces 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

350 cases. Crimson colour and a restrained nose with some fresh blackcurrant. Powerful acidity and gripping tannins pummel the copious fruit to give a big and burly port with a massive palate and so much fruit. But a burliness which suddenly transforms to a lively elegance on the aftertaste. Complex and such an impressive port. 97-99.

Quinta das Lamelas 2016
Cask sample. Deep purple in colour, Limited nose but shows some blackcurrant and rock rose; fresh on the nose. Gentle sweet fruit on the palate, sweet and ripe — perhaps slightly jammy. Powerful tannins and sharp acidity grab the attention of the mid-palate; very grippy and persistent, drying the cheeks and refusing to let go. A beautiful release of flavours on the aftertaste, complex and multi-layers, before the tannins and fruit take over for the chewy finish. Elegant port with a powerful core, unusually dominating tannins for the current style of port which promises well for a long life. 89-91.

Quinta do Noval 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

6,000 cases produced (12½% of the total production of the Quinta). Red in tone rather than the typical purple of new port. Fresh, restrained blackcurrant and bramble nose. A lovely poise on entry with smooth fruit and honeyed tannins. The tannins build slowly and provide a firm structure to the fresh and mischevious fruit. The two elements combine to give a wonderful palate. Chewy tannins and slightly protruding alcohol flashes past on the aftertaste before the sweet bramble fruit settles in for a long finish. Another good example of why Noval is performing so well. 92-94.

Quinta do Noval Nacional 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

170 cases made. Red coloured rather than purple. Green vegetal tones to the nose over a round and soft Sharon fruit. Soft and deceptive on entry with sweet round fruit and perfect, ripe tannins. The layers of flavour wrap around each other beautifully, the tannins are ripe with some greenness that gives a good and interesting structure and lots of grip. The licorice finish is surprisingly sweet. This is a deceptive port, at first appearing to be light and sweet fruit but then dominated by big, powerful tannins. 92-94.

Offley Boa Vista 2016
Purple rim to the port. Deep bruised black cherry on the nose, infused with dark chocolate. Powerful acidity on entry; rich and deep fruit with a strong core of tannins gripping and holding the mid-palate. The fruit is deep purple, rich and velvety but the tannins never back down. Intensely rich, very fragrant and totally uncompromising. A flash of floral perfume on the aftertaste before the cheeks and lips dry out from the tannic grip. This is a monster of a wine which is very impressive. Good port, well made in an old fashioned style with plenty of fruit and lots of ripe, toasted tannins. Fabulous. 93-95.

Quinta da Romaneira 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

1,000 cases produced and available in the UK from Lea & Sandeman. Purple edge to the glass. A delightful nose with wonderful fruit that is sweet and concentrated while also being elegant and beautiful. Satin textured palate, elegant and angelic fruit yet with the acidity needed for long and elegant life. This port is balanced, poised and focused; the tannins needed are in the wine but are overwhelmed by the fruit and acidity. Gentle peppercorn shows shows on the aftertaste but the overall impression of this port is one of elegant poise. The fabulous long finish highlights the minerality of the wine and gives a perfect finish. Wonderful elegance and refinement. 93-95.

Quinta de Roriz 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

390 cases. Deep purple in colour with a sweet fruit nose of bramble. The sweet bramble flow onto the palate, dense and rich and with the tannins beautifully integrated into the wine. The fruit is ripe and well rounded giving an elegance and balance to the wine. Sweet and full of fruit that makes it very easy to drink now, but will mature gently. 88-90.

Smith Woodhouse 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

1,500 cases produced. A lovely purple colour, a strong contrast to some of the other wines revealing the Touriga Franca and Vinhas Velhas in the blend. Delicious nose of delightful sweet fruit, really nice. Fruit led palate, with the fruit having a very fine focus and a purity which sets it apart from many others. Sweet and floral and with multiple layers. The tannins are softer and the acidity more pronounced that its peers but the balance is perfect and simply highlights the complexity of the wonderful wine. Surely this must be the bargain of the SFE portfolio this vintage? 92-94.

Taylor 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval. When asked about 2017 compared to 2016, Adrian Bridge highlighted their contrasting growing seasons — 2016 was a wet winter and long summer with rot a challenge; 2017 was very hot and very dry. Both are very small productions with volumes well down on 2007 and 2011. Adrian hinted gently that 2017 could also be released in some form.

My overall impression of the vintage is that it is a year which has produced ports with a delightful fruit but more obvious and overt tannins than seen since 2003. The tannins are ripe, firm but balanced by wonderful fruit. With their high levels of acidity combined with their fruit and tannins, these are ports which whould cellar well for many decades.

6,500 cases produced compared to the normal production volume of 12-14,000 cases. Deep purple, with more black in the tone than the Graham tried first. Superb nose, floral and elegant with vibrance and exuberance leaping out of the glass, The palate is more restrained with the balance impressing and an unexpected (for Taylor) elegance — until the power of the tannins suddenly arrive! The balance is terrific, with the power of the tannins matching the mass of floral fruit. The finish is long and complex, highlighting first the tannins, then the fruit, then the tannins again. All the ingredients needed for a long lived port are here, with the refined acidity playing around the edges of the senses. This is a great port. 95-97.

The vines and fruit at Terra Feita and Vargellas were treated 8 times during the growing season - a record.

Quinta do Vesuvio 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

1,220 cases produced. Dark red/purple colour. Floral nose, expressive and full of fruit. High levels of acidity show on the wine, backing and supporting the sweet fruit. The tannins are soft and grainy and the fruit dominates, even on the long chewy finish. This wine has a wonderful elegance from the austere acidity that gives it a freshness that is not seen much in 2016. 90-92.

Vesuvio Capela 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

3,000 bottles. Very dark red – nearly black in its intensity of colour. Fresh fruit and so much flower perfume on the nose. Power and tannins play together in perfect harmony, wrapping themselves around the flower perfume of the palate. The tannins integrate well with the acidity supporting the fruit and providing good structure, all the components combining together with a powerful finish. 92-94.

Warre 2016
Shown at the joint 2016 Preview Tasting organised by SFE, TFP and Quinta do Noval.

4,250 cases. Deep crimson colour. Delightful on the nose, soft a full of lavender. The lavender fllows through onto the palate, but the fruit has a good density to it that is a little unusual for Warre, wrapped nicely around an almost hidden tannic core. The acidity is typical Warre, promising a long and elegant future for the wine. The aftertaste is sweet and delicious with lots of fruit and a huge dose of violets. A great Warre, very typical. 93-95. I loved this wine.

I did have an interesting opportunity to try some 2011 ports alongside their 2016 equivalent. They are very different in style with the '11s showing their richness and opulence still, with the depth and power needed for a long life, while the '16s are more overtly tannic than I remember the '11s being on first release. Personally I prefer the '11's and the side-by-side comparison really shows their class.

And for what it's worth, I've bought Stone Terraces, Noval, Taylor and Vesuvio and might yet buy Warre and Smith Woodhouse. If SW was in halves I would be buying some for current drinking — it's fabulous for drinking right now.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
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Location: Los Angeles, Ca USA
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Re: 2016 Vintage Port Preview Tasting and other Ports and Douro wines

Post by Andy Velebil » 14:36 Fri 01 Jun 2018

Alex,
Nice notes, thanks!!

I don't think we are too far off what we like when it comes to young Ports and scoring. However, it's hard to compare someone else's notes when they taste them at a different time. The simple reason being that when this young VP can show so very differently on different days. For example, the Vesuvio could have been not showing well the day you tasted it but showing well when I tasted it. A wonderful example is my notes on the 2016 Nacional, where I tasted it twice from two different bottles at the same tasting. Two bottles and two very different showings on the same day. That's a very young VP for you....like a baby, happy one minute and cranky the next. LOL

With the exception of the stand-out Warre's, by and large, I thought these generally showed about the range where they have normally fallen in the recent past. I didn't taste anything where I scratched my head thinking "What happened here" or "They missed the boat this vintage."

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