2008 Vintage Review

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AHB
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1962
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2008 Vintage Review

Post by AHB » 21:58 Mon 05 Jul 2010

With grateful thanks to a kind benefactor who provided me with 17 double-blind samples from the 2008 vintage, and my grateful thanks to the producers who sent these samples and risked their products being reviewed purely on the merits of what I saw, smelt, tasted and experienced. I had no idea who had sent samples, or which samples I was tasting. I tasted in flights of 4, with the tasting spread over 7 days so that each wine had the chance to develop, peak and perhaps show a little decline. Only after all 17 samples had been tasted did I unwrap the bottles to discover which bottles were from which shipper. I offer the results of this exercise for others to read and use in whatever way they wish when deciding whether to buy any wines from the 2008 vintage.

There was an amazing variety of styles in the wines. There are some real tannic blockbusters and some wines with fabulous finesse. Some of the wines have brutal levels of acidity on the palate but most have a delightful balance. In general, the fruit in these wines is ripe but restrained - they are not the fruit-bombs of 2007 but most are delicious to drink now. The quality of most of the wines is consistent with a generally declared vintage and these will be excellent additions to the cellars of port lovers around the world.

Cockburn's Quinta dos Canais
When first opened, the nose of this wine was full of pure blueberry juice and was massively fruity. Over the next 5 days the nose changed considerably until it was a slighty unbalanced redcurrant and rose perfume. The tannins are pronounced, but arrive on the palate late - long after the fruit has coated the taste-buds with the silky texture this wine has. There is a fine balance between the fruit, tannins and acidity. The aftertaste is big and fruit driven, and comes with a long finish. Overall, this port has elements of being an elegant early drinker and elements of being a serious wine. I can't make my mind up which it is. The slight disappointment I had was with the nose at the end of the tasting. 88-90/100. Cellar for 20 years before drinking at its peak.

Croft's Quinta da Roeda
A nose dominated by redcurrants and Blood Oranges! Light-bodied, with good levels of fruit on the palate and some pronounced tannins which dominate the fruit for a while. The aftertaste is big and peppery and followed by a long finish of dry blackcurrant skins. 87-89. Very good port with lots of potential.

Dow's Quinta do Bomfim
Acidic and herbaceous nose. Sweet fruit in the mouth but a brutal monster of a port, strongly tannic but with plenty of lavender and dark cherry fruit. The fruit follows on to the aftertaste and finish. A brutal example of young port, but with so much going on - quality which will last generations. 88-90/100.

Dow's Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira
Hugely floral nose, with a streak of sage running through the bouquet. Unusual, but by no means unpleasant. Sour acidity hides inside a core of sweet fruit but the overall impression is one of elegance and balance, with lovely layers of fruit in the wine. A big flush of blueberry fruit on the aftertaste, followed by a long and very fruity finish of chocolate and cherries. 89-91/100. Wonderfully elegant port.

Duorum
Strawberry and victoria plum on the nose. Nice texture to this medium bodied port, which comes with a big tannic presence that wipes out everything else this wine has to offer. The fruit is there, but never manages to push the tannins aside. The aftertaste is very dry, like 100% cocoa, leaving furry teeth and hints of blueberry. 85-87/100. Has this wine been over-extracted?

Fonseca Guimaraens
Stewed red fruit on the nose, with a slight tinge of bitters to the fragrance. Nice texture in the mouth, very floral flavours with the sweet red fruit. Quite light bodied, but with plenty of dry and grippy tannins. The finesse follows through on the finish, which is long and fruity with dry, stalky tannins. 86-88/100. Finnesse and elegance in a glass.

Fonseca's Quinta do Panascal
Very little on the nose. Good texture, medium bodied but with tannins dominating everything although there is plenty of fruit on the palate. The aftertaste is dry, fruity and with some acid burn but leads to a glorious finish. 84-86/100.

Graham's Quinta dos Malvedos
Rather subdued on the nose, offering violets and stewed back fruit. Silky texture, with a good body and plenty of flavour. Tannins are soft and subdued and this port has less brutality than some of the vintage. Full of fruit all over the palate. Big, fruit dominated aftertaste with plenty of blackcurrant skins on the finish. 88-90. Very much an elegant style from the vintage - and drinking beautifully right now!

Niepoort Pisca
A nose that brought lively menthol with some sweet fruit. Gentle texture with strong acidity and good fruit. The tannins are pronounced, but balanced. The palate showed lovely chocolate tones. There is a slight acid burn on swallowing, followed by a milk chocolate finish of modest intensity and decent length. 84-86/100. Nice port, but not great and one which faded over the course of 4 days, which causes me some concerns for the life of this port in the cellar.

Quevedo - Quinta Vale D'Agodinho
Sharp on the nose, aggressive blackcurrants with a twist of mustard leaves. Incredibly thick texture, by far the thickest of the 2008 samples tasted. Mouth-filling sweet fruit, deep and concentrated; rich and with balanced but pronounced tannins. Massive fruit on the aftertaste, big finish full of dark chocolate and ripe blueberries. 92-94/100. The standout port from the vintage, the one every port-lover should add to their cellar.

Quinta do Crasto
Strong rose perfume on the nose, over an amazingly distinct pomegranate and melon. Strong, ripe grapefruit acidity hits the palate on impact, with lovely fruitiness and perfect tannins. The fierce tannins show their presence, but never quite dominate the grapefruit. Patience brings strong sweet blackcurrant. Blackcurrant and dark chocolate dominate the aftertaste and lead to a very big finish. 89-91/100. A very well balanced wine which will mature beautifully.

Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
Took a long time before this port showed its amazing class; really quite unbalanced when first opened and immediately poured. 48 hours later this had opened to reveal fragrant fruit on the nose. Big, dark and extracted, the tannins grip through the dark cherry juice and bitter blackcurrant skins. A slightly hot aftertaste from the high levels of acidity, but this fades quickly to leave a long, bitter chocolate finish that is full of sour cherries. 91-93/100. Serious port for the serious port lover - and likely to be a bargain given the undeclared nature of the vintage.

Quinta do Noval
This port took 5 days to open on the nose, but was worth the wait as this wine has floral and perfumed fruit leaping out of the glass. Deep and rich on the palate, silky in texture with gentle fruit with very pronounced tannis that are a touch bitter. Big waves of fruit keep rolling over the palate and the complexity is impressive. There is a slight hollowness on the aftertaste, but this is rapidly replaced with an enormous mouthful of fruit that dominates the finish. 91-93/100. This is really big and impressive port, with much promise for 20-30 years time.

Quinta da Romaneira
Lively and spicy fruit nose. Medium bodied, sour entry with a strong streak of acidity, although the acidity fades quickly to leave a well balanced and blackcurrant fruited port with a big palate presence. The tannins are firm, but restrained. There is a lovely aftertaste, fruit dominated and tasting of rich Christmas cake. 89-91/100. There is a wonderful balance to this port.

Quinta do Vesuvio
Subdued nose, showing some violets and blackcurrants. Soft textured on the tongue, full of sweet fruit with the ripe tannins well hidden. Medium bodied and excellent balance. Long, balanced finish that is full of fruit and chocolate. 90-92/100. Fabulous balance and a really impressive port.

Taylor's Quinta de Terra Feita
Grapey nose, perhaps still a little tanky. Silky texture, huge tannins dominating everything else. A lot of patience allows the tannins to soften to reveal a moderately fruity core. The aftertaste and finish are dominated by tart blackcurrants fruit. 83-85/100. Not to my taste and I am not convinced that the fruit will outlive the tannin.

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas
Initially showing dark cherries on the nose, but over the course of 5 days this changed to become blackcurrant and blueberry. Very acidic at first, overly so and with poor balance, this was a wine that pulled itself together very well with time in the decanter to yield a smooth and balanced port with a great depth of fruit and soft tannins. The high levels of acidity showed on the slightly burning aftertaste, which gave way to a black chocolate and dried cherry finish of good length. 87-89/100. A good port for drinking around the traditional 21 year mark.
Last edited by AHB on 23:09 Sat 07 Aug 2010, edited 1 time in total.
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

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Chris Doty
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by Chris Doty » 10:42 Tue 06 Jul 2010

AMAZING!

Thanks for tasting/sharing, Alex. seems like a really neat experience.

From the sound of it, I'm gonna need to get Oscar on the phone regarding the Vale D'Agodinho.

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AHB
Quinta do Noval Nacional 1962
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by AHB » 21:43 Tue 06 Jul 2010

I must admit, when I unwrapped the bottles I was extremely surprised at the results. Quevedo's 2008 is really impressive and is certainly a port I would strongly recommend to anyone looking to add 2008 to their cellar. Mind you, there were plenty of other impressive ports I tasted, as well.
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

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benread
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by benread » 22:52 Tue 06 Jul 2010

I have only tasted the Quevedo 2008 from all those noted here, but it certainly impressed in the 2 blends we tasted prior to the final decision being made. I had already decided to buy some for Edward (b. 19.7.2008!)
Ben
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DRT
Fonseca 1966
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by DRT » 23:35 Fri 06 Aug 2010

I have finally managed to find the time to type up my notes on the 2008 vintage :D

It was a great honour to be able to do this for the second year in succession and firstly I have to thank the producers who were kind enough to send Alex and I samples to allow us to do this.

Like Alex, I tasted all of these samples blind and tasted each over a number of days. My notes below are a summary of what I noted on each of the tasting sessions as an overall impresion of each wine. I typed the notes and allocated the scores before reading anything in this thread or any other comments about the 2008 vintage. Having now unwrapped the bottles and reading Alex's notes and scores the first thing that is obvious to me is that no two palates are the same :lol:

For what it is worth, here is my opinion of 17 of the wines from the 2008 vintage:

Duorum 2008
Good depth of colour with violets and molases on the nose. Medium weight with lots of acidity and tannins that are quite raw and seem to overpower the red fruits. Some bitterness in the finish, which is long and dry. 87 points.

Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
Deep ruby red with strawberry jam and a hint of vanilla on the nose. Smooth, with lots of redcurrant and unripe plums. Not a massive wine but very pleasant to drink now and will probably be ready for drinking in 10-15 years. 86 points.

Niepoort Pisca
A lovely purple red colour which is almost translucent. Fresh ripe fruits on the nose. Big and full in the mouth with masses of blackcurrant, gripping acidity and powder-dry tannins. The finish is long and mouthwatering. A deliscious wine with good balance. 91 points.

Quinta do Noval
A good strong, deeply coloured wine with an intense blackcurrant nose. Very smooth and mouth-filling entry with lots of dark fruits and grip. Elegant and very well balanced with a long and complex finish with a hint of lemon. A very good vintage port for the long term. 93 points.

Quinta do Crasto
Dark purple/red with a peppery nose. Medium weight with a smooth entry of forrest fruits. Good acidic backbone with fruit that just keeps on coming through to dominate the palate. Tannins come late but are big and bold. A long mouthwatering finish. A very fruit-forward port that should prove to be very good in 10-15 years. 87 points.

Quinta da Romaneira
A delicious open nose of blackcurrant jam. Medium weight, smooth, with lots of jammy fruit. Lovely finish, which is long, with layer after layer of sweet black fruits. The fruit dominates this wine completely but it does have a good underlying structure to suggest it will develop into a very nice port. 89 points.

Fonseca Guimaraens
Extremely dark. Wood smoke and dark cherry on the nose. Good thick texture with dark, brooding blackcurrant fruit. A big wine with an excellent structure that really fills the mouth. Very well balanced with a very long, sweet mouthwatering finish. Excellent. 94 points.

Fonseca Quinta do Panascal
A beautiful floral nose. Thick and chewy texture with dark chocolate and raspberry, good acidity and dry tannins. Although all of the components feel big and bold there is nothing aggressive about this wine. It is very elegant, refined and perfectly balanced. 93 points.

Dow Quinta do Bomfim
Dark red with a fresh strawberry nose. Medium weight with lots of red fruits, good acidity, soft tannins and a dry, anisede finish. Very pleasant to drink now and will probably mature relatively quickly. 86 points.

Graham Quinta dos Malvedos
Soft blackcurrant and vanilla nose. Very smooth and thick with lots of dark fruits and good structure. A big wine that is very well balanced. A long and powerful finish with a hint of grapefruit. This is a very good medium to long-term vintage port. 91 points.

Taylor Quinta de Vargellas
Nose very closed. Big smooth entry with lots of dark brooding fruits. Excellent structure and backbone with good acity and big bold tannins. The finish is very long and dry with dark chocolate and raspberry. A great wine that will last decades. 93 points.

Taylor Quinta de Terra Feita
Perfumed nose. Big grippy entry, chewy texture with masses of everything! This is a very big wine with masses of dark fruits and a solid backbone. The aftertaste is long and complex with a tangy grapefruit finish. Very, very good. 92 points.

Croft Quinta da Roeda
A big blackcurrant nose with a some spice. Medium weight with dark cherry and lots of acidity. The finish is initially dry, with some heat, but then develops into a mouth-watering sweetness. Good solid port. 89 points.

Quevedo Quinta Vale D'Agodinho
A lovely, jammy, blackcurrant nose. Thick and chewy with masses of ripe dark fruits. Round and fruity with no rough edges, good texture and very balanced with solid tannins in a long, mouth-watering finish. Delicious port for the medium to long term. 90 points.

Dow Quinta Senhora da Ribeira
Some unintegrated spirit on the nose with a very sweet entry. Medium weight with red fruits and high acidity. Powder-dry tannins with a slightly bitter finish. A pleasant wine to drink now but lacking composure and structure. 85 points.

Cockburn Quinta dos Canais
Violets on the nose. Nice thick entry with lots of dark, brooding fruits. Powerful and robust with a solid backbone of acidity and tannin. Everything about this wine feels big and well composed. The finish is long and mouth-watering. Very good port. 91 points.

Quinta do Vesuvio
A good open nose with red berries and molasses. Thick textured with lots of red fruits, acidity, grippy tannins and good structure. Very sweet finish. A good solid, reliable port. 89 points.

My overall assessment of the 2008 vintage is that it has produced very good, solid, wines that can be relied upon to give good drinking when most of them start to mature in 10 to 15 years from now. Some of the wines go beyond that and will last for 2, 3 or 4 decades before reaching maturity. Sticking my neck out, I would have to say that, in my humble opinion, Taylor Fladgate have excelled in this vintage with four of their five wines being worthy of a full declaration. The Quinta do Noval and Graham Malvedos are of the same standard with Niepoort Pisca, Cockburn Canais and Quevedo also providing excellent wines.

Links to Tasting Notes:

2008 Duorum
2008 Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
2008 Niepoort Pisca
2008 Quinta do Noval
2008 Quinta do Crasto
2008 Quinta da Romaneira
2008 Fonseca Guimaraens
2008 Fonseca Quinta do Panascal
2008 Dow Quinta do Bomfim
2008 Graham Quinta dos Malvedos
2008 Taylor Quinta de Vargellas
2008 Taylor Quinta de Terra Feita
2008 Croft Quinta da Roeda
2008 Quevedo Quinta Vale D'Agodinho
2008 Dow Quinta Senhora da Ribeira
2008 Cockburn Quinta dos Canais
2008 Quinta do Vesuvio

I hope you have found this useful. I know I have :smile:

Derek
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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AHB
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by AHB » 23:32 Sat 07 Aug 2010

And just for fun, here's a comparison of Derek's scores and my scores:

Bomfim: AHB 88-90; DRT 86
Canais: AHB 88-90; DRT 91
Crasto: AHB 89-91; DRT 87
Duorum: AHB 85-87; DRT 87
Fonseca Guimaraens: AHB 86-88; DRT 94
Malvedos: AHB 88-90; DRT 91
Niepoort Pisca: AHB 84-86; DRT 91
Nova: AHB 91-93; DRT 86
Noval: AHB 91-93; DRT 93
Panascal: AHB 84-86; DRT 93
Quevedo: AHB 92-94; DRT 90
Roeda: AHB 87-89; DRT 89
Romaneira: AHB 89-91; DRT 89
Senhora da Ribeira: AHB 89-91; DRT 85
Terra Feita: AHB 83-85; DRT 92
Vargellas: AHB 87-89; DRT 93
Vesuvio: AHB 90-92; DRT 89

There are two conclusion that I draw from this comparison. The first is that Derek seems to prefer the style of TFP single quinta wines compared to me, I seem to prefer the style of Symington Family wines.

The second conclusion is that we have probably not helped anyone to decide what to buy! C'est la vie!
Last edited by AHB on 11:45 Sun 08 Aug 2010, edited 1 time in total.
Top Ports in 2018 (so far): Niepoort VV (1960's Bottling), Quinta do Noval Nacional 1994 and San Leonardo Very Old White (Bottled 2018)
2017 Ports of the year: Fonseca 1927 and Quinta do Noval 1927

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DRT
Fonseca 1966
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by DRT » 08:59 Sun 08 Aug 2010

Alex missed out my score for Noval, which was 93. This means that, thankfully, we did agree on something :D

...but we also either agreed or were within one point of agreement on Canais, Duorum, Malvedos, Roeda, Romaneira and Vesuvio. 88)

That said, I do agree with Alex's overall observation that I seem to have been more impressed by the style of the Taylor Fladgate wines than he was whilst our opinions were reversed for some of the Symington wines. It will be very interesting to taste all of these wines again at some point as our experience of the 2008 vintage was that there can be significant development one way or the other in the first few months after bottling.

A point worth noting in relation to the Symington samples is that the samples that Alex tasted were bottled on a different date to those in the batch I tasted as they were delivered to me in two lots with different labelling. This may or may not explain the differences between our observations. Hopefully we will have the oportunity to both taste from the same bottles at some point in the future.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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oscar quevedo
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Re: 2008 Vintage Review

Post by oscar quevedo » 14:42 Mon 09 Aug 2010

I'm just coming back from holidays and couldn't have better news about our Vintage 2008. Thank you Derek and Alex for performing this tasting. Glad to know you both like it.

Cris, hold on your call for one month, we are waiting for the temperatures to go down to bottle it!

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