The Fladgate Partnership 2015 Vintage Ports from Croft, Fonseca & Taylor’s
Not the most Portuguese of tiles, but perhaps the most Portuguese of wines – Vintage Port. Each sporting the colours of their house….In my latest post on 2015 Vintage Ports you’ll find my notes on The Fladgate Partnership’s trio of releases. Two are Single Quinta Vintage Ports – Croft Quinta da Roeda and Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas. From Fonseca comes a Bicentenary release of Guimaraens 2015. First made in 1931, Fonseca Guimaraens is produced in years that produce more supple and early maturing wines. I’d say this is a more structured example from a year which has produced some superb long distance runners in Pintas & Quinta de Noval 2015 Vintage Ports.
I’ve set out Head Winemaker David Guimaraens’ report of the vintage at Vargellas, Croft and Fonseca below. The 2015 Single Quinta Vintage Ports from Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft will be offered on allocation to the trade through UK agents Mentzendorff & Co., and will ship at the end of 2017.
Tanners Wines have an en primeur offer for all three Ports, including a mixed set with one bottle of each. Details here. N.B. Tanners’ prices given below are offered ‘Lying Abroad’. This means that you pay for the wine itself when you place your order and the duty and shipping (currently £3.75 ex VAT per 75cl bottle for mainland UK delivery) and VAT at the prevailing rates on the whole at the time of shipment. They anticipate shipping the Ports in late 2017 or early 2018.
“The months leading up to the 2015 harvest were unusually dry, with rainfall well below average, but across the board the grapes were extremely healthy, and the resulting wines very fine. The condition of the 2015 crop at Quinta de Vargellas will be remembered as one of the best of recent years; perfectly formed, disease-free bunches and very little raisin. The Fonseca properties in the Pinhão area recorded rainfall about a third less than the ten year average. Despite this, ripening was well-balanced and at harvest time the crop was in excellent condition. The first grapes were ready to pick by the end of the first week of September and first-rate wines were made right through to the end of the harvest in early October. Quinta da Roêda in 2015 saw perfectly healthy grapes picked from both the extensive area of old vineyards, to the more recent plantations. Dry conditions in the early summer brought forward the start to the ripening season and as expected the Roêda harvest got off to a relatively early start on 7th September, with winemakers at Croft recording excellent extraction.”
Croft Quinta da Roeda Vintage Port 2015
Cinnamon-edged black cherry, noyau (bitter cherry kernel), bramble and leaf notes to the nose and palate with perfumed bergamot/orange blossom and milk chocolate nuances. Sweet cherry on the entry with nice acid push/persistence and mouth-coating, spicy tannins for balance. Intense in flavour but lighter – less broad – on the palate than its stablemates (as you would expect from Croft). But with more underpinning than initial impressions suggested. More spice, with liquorice into day two. £78/6 bottles en primeur at Tanners
Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 2015
A darker, more brooding nose, a little dusty (in an earthy, not impure way) with pronounced liquorice spice and orange citrus notes to its fleshy plum and sweet raspberry fruit. Dusty, mineral tannins swallow up the fruit on the finish, making for a tapered, firm finish. But one senses a plush undertow of fruit, for now, a little callow and held back. No shortage of structure here. On day two, the aromatics are opening up, with lots of spicy liquorice and lifted orange blossom and anise. Book-ending tannins remain firm and savoury. £132/6 bottles en primeur at Tanners
Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port 2015
The deepest hue of all, with polished black currant and berry fruit and surprisingly flamboyant (for Taylor’s) orange blossom/citrus to the nose. Lovely intensity of juicy, succulent black currant, berry and cherry, with bitter chocolate, earthy raspberry and that pronounced citrus character to its long, involving finish. Love the energetic parry of fruit, acidity and ripe but firm iron filing (very mineral) tannins. Great line and length, polish and elegance, with no loss of poise or fruit on day two. Really very good indeed. Snap this one up when it hits the shelves or nab it en primeur – £132/6 bottles en primeur at Tanners