2019 Declarations

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MigSU
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by MigSU » 20:58 Mon 03 May 2021

Well, I obviously cannot compete with your knowledge of Noval (although I put forward Noval merely as an example, I could've mentioned other producers that have been releasing their main VP's almost every year for the last decade , give or take).

But answering your question: I would compare a Chryseia (a wine I know well) 2011 to a 2012. And I would say: "Give the me 2011, please". It was just a better year, and it's just a better wine.

But I suppose we have to go back to my original point: it depends on what you want to do with your VPs. Or, put another way, it depends on what you want your VPs to represent. I'm of the opinion that (main) VPs should be the absolute pinnacle of Port quality, and, therefore, shouldn't be released every year (because not every year can produce the absolute top quality). In the case of Noval this problem is compounded by the fact that they don't have SQVP (Passadouro is a separate matter) and no longer have a 'second' VP (Silval).

But of course this is just my views on what VPs should be, which I know are a bit restrictive, in a sense.

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by winesecretary » 23:51 Mon 03 May 2021

We really need a producer to chime in at this point; we are all just theorising. That said, I am nevertheless going to add my partly experiential and partly theoretical halfpennyworth.

Broad brush: I would say it is MUCH more common that 'four times a century' that it is not really possible to produce vintage quality port at all. On average probably a couple of times a decade not at all and three more times a decade it is... 'daring', shall we say.

Of the last sixty years I have either never been offered to drink, or have drunk and never felt the need to drink again, a vintage or single quinta port from 2010, 2006, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1990, 1989, 1984, 1981, 1979, 1978, 1974, 1973, 1971, 1969, 1968, 1965, 1964, 1962.

That is one-third of the years.

I have had single quinta ports, or vintage ports, from 2013, 2008, 2001, 1995, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1982, 1975, 1972 that were pleasurable wines but were exceptions that proved the rule.

That is another one-sixth of the years.

I would say, then, that from a modern-era experiential perspective declaring more than half of the vintages in any decade has to be considered 'brave'. But five, at some volume or other, is surely acceptable.

There is of course a modern market for birth year ports that must mean a few thousand cases a year are bought good or not but I refuse to be cynical about this. Not least because there have been occasional historical exceptions (according to The Book, Croft declared 1827, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833, 1834 - eight vintages in a row) and is is possible that the present remarkable run of frequent declarations constitutes anther of these fortunate runs. To support this commentary, you will notice that no vintage since 2010 features on my 'never feel the need to try again' list.

I see four factors at work which may explain my experience (i) recency bias (ii) the fact that you no longer have to have an establishment in VNDG to make VP so small producers who had a vineyard that got lucky one year can now declare a VP (iii) global warming (iv) technological improvements in vineyard work, picking and handling, and cellar work.

It seems to me it is the combination of the (iii) and (iv) that may allow significant producers, and especially those who own or have access to a number of quintas, or whose quintas are very fortunately situated, to make at least some port that is GREAT in at least half the years of a decade. Graham, for example, who have always been extremely parsimonious on declarations, declared 07, 11, 16, 17; and Stone Terraces 11, 15, 16, and 17.

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Chris Doty
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Chris Doty » 20:43 Tue 04 May 2021

winesecretary wrote:
23:51 Mon 03 May 2021
We really need a producer to chime in at this point; we are all just theorising.
Well, only in part . There is a consumer side and a producer side.

The consumer wants reliably good juice at a fair price, but I think there is something more that this discussion touches upon.

Vintage port is seldom consumed within a decade of its harvest. People get married, they have kids, and they enjoy “laying down” special bottles to be right and romantic for special occasions. This seems particularly true of port and I am of the view that these humans generally care more about what was happening in their lives at the time rather than what was happening in such-and-such vineyard.

Small quantities can cater to these folks, while also allowing “collectors” the ability to have a more-or-less complete range of their favorite producer.

There is no bottle of Quevedo I would object to owning (ok, Pink, but ...) I know their process. I know their business acumen. They aren’t going to charge a price that isn’t supported by the quality/craftsmanship. I will buy with confidence every time.

The issue is that if 2011 is the same price as any subsequently vintage, unless I reproduced in that year...where’s my motivation to deviate from that which I know will bring excessive pleasure and which will likely be cheaper and ready to drink sooner?!

I originally feared that the loss of cachet associated with the “only thrice a decade” aspect would more that offset the addition of these punters, but I am increasingly confident that I was wrong. Nothing is lost. Opportunity to buy more vintage port is only expanded.

As consumers, is anyone reading this turned off by seeing vintage ports 7-8 times a decade rather than the usual 3-4?

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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Alex Bridgeman » 07:40 Wed 05 May 2021

I guess I like to see and experience vintage variations. Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Ports broadly follow the same business model as does, say, Yquem or Grange or Sassicaia or Barca Velha. A full blend is made and released in years when the quality of the grapes and the juice is good enough to make a blend worthy of the name and reputation of the wine. Occasionally the quality isn’t there so no wine is released under the main label and it is all declassified. Other years only as much is made as the winemaker and owner are happy will meet the quality requirements of the label.

I fully accept this model creates better wines in better years. I think 1994 Vesuvio is a better wine than 2001 Vesuvio, but I love having the chance of tasting the two side-by-side. I love being able to compare and contrast the wines from one vineyard - which probably explains why I have bought more Vesuvio and Noval over the past decade than I have the grands vin from the Port producers.

As I write this I do see that the habit of frequent declarations could be open to abuse by an unscrupulous winemaker or company owner who just needs a short term profit or injection of cash, but making and selling sub-standard Port would quickly result in a damaged reputation and a loss of reputation.

MigSu - I absolutely support your point of view. It’s important in the wine world for people to like and think different things otherwise we’d all be chasing after the same wines which would quickly become unaffordable. Thank goodness that’s not the case! I’ve drunk very little Chrysiea. One day I’d like to be with you to compare the two vintages you’ve mentioned and experience the difference between them for myself to understand what you mean.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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JacobH
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by JacobH » 09:06 Wed 05 May 2021

Alex Bridgeman wrote:
07:40 Wed 05 May 2021
As I write this I do see that the habit of frequent declarations could be open to abuse by an unscrupulous winemaker or company owner who just needs a short term profit or injection of cash, but making and selling sub-standard Port would quickly result in a damaged reputation and a loss of reputation.
I suppose for Port the protection against this is supposed to be the IVDP and the regulations made underneath it. For my part, it is pretty rare that I have tried a VP which has felt inadequate. And, of course, the frequency with which the main producers have to justify what their predecessors did with 1975 provides, perhaps, a greater check than for other wines which are not usually aimed at drinking decades later.

It seems to me that there are a few different possible models for producing vintage port: only produce one in the best years (e.g. Qd Rosa); produce VP in the best and a SQVP in secondary years (Taylor, Graham etc.); produce VP in the best a second wine in secondary years (Fonseca); or produce a VP in all-but-the-worst years (Vesúvio). As I think I’ve mentioned previously, it’s never really made much sense to me that VP + SQVP has become the dominant model. I would would expect that it is harder to make SQVP than VP because you are limiting your choice of grapes and so it would be easier in the best years.

For my part, I rather like having more Vintage Port than less. Certainly, as Alex says, a 2001 Vesúvio might not be as good as a 1994, but then I have found some really enjoyable Ports from some of the odd years (e.g. 1996). Indeed, I would go to the other end of the spectrum to George, too, and say a sadness in Port drinking is the missed years. One of my favourite Ports is the Malvedos 1987 and I think a Graham 1987 would have been spectacular. Equally, I have found so many 2015s to be impressive that I wonder if there will be some sadness in the future that more shippers didn’t declare one of those too.

That’s why I was referring to a small number of years when VP can’t be made. I was really thinking of 1993, 1981, 1974 and 1971 over the last 50 (& assume that a couple of those might be saved with modern technology). Clearly not all years are going to be as good as the once-in-a-decade years like 1970 but then I don’t think there is a single shipper that hasn’t occasionally made a weak Port in a good year.

I can’t see the big houses ever moving from their current models since they make such a big deal of their VP releases being the “best of the best”. I hope, too, that they will avoid the nonsense that goes on in Bordeaux where the châteaux try to flog every new vintage as the “best of the century”.
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Andy Velebil » 15:11 Wed 05 May 2021

I didn't see this part mentioned, apologies if I missed it, so will bring it up. It is much easier for a smaller producer to make a VP every year than a very large one. While it may seem counter intuitive, it isn't always feasible for a larger company to make and market a VP every year. For a larger company, there is the expense of sending out tons of samples to wine reviewers and wine reps, holding tastings, publicizing it, etc. For something like a QVP (SQVP) that level of marketing isn't needed and thus the expense is much lower and more feasible on an annual basis.

Another issue is using those "declassified" (for lack of a better term) top end grapes for other things. This has a trickle down effect all the way to the commodity Ports. It allows a producer to bulk up their stores of Port for other things as well.

For a smaller company, say Noval since it's been mentioned already, it's much easier to put out a small amount VP every year from the top grapes of their one Quinta (I realize Noval now has Passadouro but didn't until recently). They don't need to market it much as their market share in the world is tiny compared to a company like TFP. They also generally don't have the large range of other products that a large company does. So they may not need to use those not quite so great years as much to bulk up their supplies for other commodity Ports/wines.

In the end, I think people tend to over simplify what is really a complicated commercial decision.

Personally, I do like the QVP/not quite so great years (whatever you prefer to call them). I don't always want to wait 40 years to drink a more mature VP. Using Vesuvio as an example, I love their "off" years that mature a little faster. It really gives a good glimpse into how the "big boys" from the same Quinta will age in another 20-30-40+ years. And as Alex mentioned, it's fun and very educational to compare them and see how mother nature influences vines...and they are very good Ports. As a bit of a side, I've recently been making the effort to try more slightly older QVP's/SQVP's in the 15-30-ish year range and they've really opened my eyes to what I've been missing.

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JacobH
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by JacobH » 18:43 Sat 08 May 2021

Andy Velebil wrote:
15:11 Wed 05 May 2021
I didn't see this part mentioned, apologies if I missed it, so will bring it up. It is much easier for a smaller producer to make a VP every year than a very large one. While it may seem counter intuitive, it isn't always feasible for a larger company to make and market a VP every year. For a larger company, there is the expense of sending out tons of samples to wine reviewers and wine reps, holding tastings, publicizing it, etc. For something like a QVP (SQVP) that level of marketing isn't needed and thus the expense is much lower and more feasible on an annual basis.

Another issue is using those "declassified" (for lack of a better term) top end grapes for other things. This has a trickle down effect all the way to the commodity Ports. It allows a producer to bulk up their stores of Port for other things as well.
These are interesting points. I actually wonder if they go in different directions? The bigger producer will have more quintas to supply them with their highest quality grapes so declaring a SQVP means you aren’t going to miss out on using those stocks for something else. For example, I assume with Taylor’s the best-quality grapes from from Quinta do Junco are available for trickling down every year when they don’t declare a VP, even though they could probably make a SQVP from it, whereas if someone like Quinta de la Rosa switches to declaring every year then their top-quality grapes are never going to be available for other purposes.
Andy Velebil wrote:
15:11 Wed 05 May 2021
In the end, I think people tend to over simplify what is really a complicated commercial decision.
You make it sound like this is a bad thing! ;-)
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Chris Doty
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Chris Doty » 12:58 Sun 09 May 2021

JacobH wrote:
18:43 Sat 08 May 2021


These are interesting points. I actually wonder if they go in different directions?
Yeah, I think with marketing expense in particular; angelus doesn’t need to send dudes telling people they made a wine this year. We know. We buy. Ditto Pegau. Ditto Donnhoff. Etc etc

At present, the market assumes Portugal is incapable of making stellar wine consistently (don’t believe me, check the prices!).

Wine drinkers everywhere need one simple video explaining all the factors over the last 21 years that have changed the game (global warming, enormous investment in hygiene and generally just a more competent and competitive drive — rather than some old relaxed gamer just trying to push one or two more vintages out before retirement).

Adrian Bridge has pushed all his chips into the middle of the Oporto table — I see you.

Commodore Seely ain’t no one’s biatch, and he thinks generations deep too, even though he Axa — I see you.

Don’t need to mention the Symingtons — I see you.

Quevedo never been hotter — call me, maybe.

These cats stacking chips and respect all around the globe, and their tippy top best ever wines sell for <10% of “respectable” Frenchies with half the alcohol 🍷

Ymmv

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by PCM » 17:22 Tue 11 May 2021

Quinta de Ventozelo has declared their 2019 Vintage Port (source: https://www.revistadevinhos.pt/noticias ... ntage-2019 )

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Chris Doty
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Chris Doty » 20:16 Tue 11 May 2021

PCM wrote:
17:22 Tue 11 May 2021
Quinta de Ventozelo has declared their 2019 Vintage Port (source: https://www.revistadevinhos.pt/noticias ... ntage-2019 )
Thanks!!

Hadn’t heard of these guys before. Will see if it can be found stateside

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by MigSU » 21:54 Tue 11 May 2021

Chris Doty wrote:
20:16 Tue 11 May 2021
PCM wrote:
17:22 Tue 11 May 2021
Quinta de Ventozelo has declared their 2019 Vintage Port (source: https://www.revistadevinhos.pt/noticias ... ntage-2019 )
Thanks!!

Hadn’t heard of these guys before. Will see if it can be found stateside
Quinta de Ventozelo is one of the largest estates in the Douro, with some 400 hectares. It was acquired by Gran Cruz in 2014.

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by PCM » 10:29 Wed 12 May 2021

A little bit late, but on April, 23 Wine & Soul declared their 2019 Vintage Port (source Sandra Tavares FB-page: We are happy to announce that we declared our Pintas Vintage Port 2019, will be released in September 2021!!!✨✨✨✨✨)

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Axel P » 10:06 Thu 13 May 2021

Sogrape with Sandeman Seixo and Ferreira Porto SQVP.
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by forest26 » 18:52 Fri 14 May 2021

Sophia has declare a 2019 QdlR VP

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by forest26 » 18:54 Fri 14 May 2021

Oscar has declared a 2019 Quevedo VP

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by PCM » 22:27 Mon 17 May 2021

Hi Alex,
May I ask you: is there a special reason for not mentioning the declarations of the Symington family (SQ)VP's and the Taylor Fladgate SQVP's in the overview on the first page of this thread? You updated with Pintas, Ventozelo, Sogrape and Quevedo (not yet Quinta de la Rosa), but i miss the a.m.!

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Chris Doty
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Chris Doty » 00:12 Tue 18 May 2021

Press notice says “Quinta do Vesúvio”.
• Bottle label says “Quinta do Vesuvio”.

Accent, or no accent? Ú, or U: tell me.

Above Julian wrote^

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Chris Doty
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Chris Doty » 11:23 Tue 18 May 2021

Chris Doty wrote:
20:16 Tue 11 May 2021
PCM wrote:
17:22 Tue 11 May 2021
Quinta de Ventozelo has declared their 2019 Vintage Port (source: https://www.revistadevinhos.pt/noticias ... ntage-2019 )
Thanks!!

Hadn’t heard of these guys before. Will see if it can be found stateside
Having not found stateside, order placed to a Portuguese address.

https://www.vivino.com/quinta-de-ventoz ... ?year=2011

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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by MigSU » 11:42 Tue 18 May 2021

Chris Doty wrote:
11:23 Tue 18 May 2021
Chris Doty wrote:
20:16 Tue 11 May 2021
PCM wrote:
17:22 Tue 11 May 2021
Quinta de Ventozelo has declared their 2019 Vintage Port (source: https://www.revistadevinhos.pt/noticias ... ntage-2019 )
Thanks!!

Hadn’t heard of these guys before. Will see if it can be found stateside
Having not found stateside, order placed to a Portuguese address.

https://www.vivino.com/quinta-de-ventoz ... ?year=2011
How will you pick it up?

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Chris Doty
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Chris Doty » 12:29 Tue 18 May 2021

One bottle at a time...

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Alex Bridgeman
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Re: 2019 Declarations

Post by Alex Bridgeman » 12:00 Mon 24 May 2021

PCM wrote:
22:27 Mon 17 May 2021
Hi Alex,
May I ask you: is there a special reason for not mentioning the declarations of the Symington family (SQ)VP's and the Taylor Fladgate SQVP's in the overview on the first page of this thread? You updated with Pintas, Ventozelo, Sogrape and Quevedo (not yet Quinta de la Rosa), but i miss the a.m.!
Purely my oversight. Thank you for nudging me.

And please, if anyone spots any other mistakes from me - let me know.
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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