Round up: 2009 Vintage Ports reviewed
I’ve sampled 2009 Vintage Ports in (very tasty) dribs and drabs which I’ve covered in various blogs. Here I’ve collated my tasting notes for ease of reference.
Check out the Fladgate dedicated 2009 Vintage Port website here for their take on the vintage and click here and here for interesting reports on the diverging views of Fladgate and Symington on Jancis Robinson’s and Jamie Goode’s websites.
My take? At this early stage what certainly comes across is the ripeness of the vintage in terms of fruit sweetness and, in the case of the seemingly more extracted Fladgate top wines, these are high in everything! Fruit, tannin and a perception of higher alcohol too (though this could be down to serving temperature).
And I must say, my pick of the bunch – the elegant, very fine Warre’s – utterly charmed me and not just because, for every case sold in the UK, Warre’s and the Symington family will donate £48.00 to the British Charity ‘Help for Heroes’ and for every case sold in Portugal, €55.00 will be donated to the ‘Liga dos Combatentes’, the organisation that helps old soldiers in Portugal.
Niepoort Vintage Port 2009
Sweet fruited and scented – very 2009 – with maraschino cherries, cassis and bright raspberry fruit balanced by pippy, peppery notes and dark chocolate undertones. Long, flattering tannins and juicy acidity bring line and finesse to this youthfully curvaceous wine. Seductive. (Tasted 30 April 2011)
Skeffington 2009 Vintage Port
Expressive if quite simple with toothsomely sweet but bright and reasonably persistent red and black cherry and berry fruits. Firm but ripe tannins add a bit of balancing grip. Good. (Tasted 18,19 May 2011)
Croft 2009 Vintage Port
Croft 2009 is drawn entirely from Quinta da Roêda. An inky hue with Croft’s typically fleshy, yielding soft toothsomely sweet black cherry fruit with a hint of eucalypt on day one. While there’s persistence, iron fist tannins are a little intrusive, “stubbing out” the fruit. Needs time to settle. (Tasted 18,19 May 2011)
Fonseca 2009 Vintage Port
Fonseca 2009 is drawn from Quinta do Panascal and Quinta do Cruzeiro with a small proportion of wine from Quinta do Santo António, recently converted to organic viticulture. Bold and exuberant, the 2009 shows impressive depth, layer and structure with its heft of dark fruits edged with chocolate, gingerbread, orange blossom and dried herbs. Powerful firm but broad, ripe tannins carry a long finish. Impressive. Very good indeed. (Tasted 18,19 May 2011)
Taylor’s 2009 Vintage Port
A blend of Ports from Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta de Terra Feita with a “small contribution” from Quinta do Junco. Very inky, dark hue and tight but bright on entry and through the mid-palate. As always, less overtly sweet than the others and very well structured – tailored indeed – with good freshness and sinewy tannins. Both days I was disappointed by the finish, which seemed a little hollow. Or was it just very closed? One to review. (Tasted 18,19 May 2011)
Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha 2009 Vintage Port
If the Fonseca was bold and exuberant, the Vargellas Vinha Velha was big, bad and bold! A no holds barred very flashily fruited wine with lashings of gingerbread spice. No shortage of oomph or grip, it’s strapping black fruits barely clasped by ripe, powerful tannins. A belter, with a fiery finish. (Tasted 18,19 May 2011)
Warre’s Vintage Port 2009
There are just 500 cases of this wine released to mark the 200th anniversary of Wellington’s victory in the Peninsular War. Relatively pale compared with its Symington stable mates and, though initially sappy, peppery and seemingly “thin” on nose and palate, it builds in the mouth showing delightful intensity and poise to its perfumed ripe red and black berry and cherry fruits. An elegant, intense wine. Just lovely. (Tasted 6 April 2011 & 19 May 2011)
Dow’s Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2009
Deep purple with animated spicy pepper currently to the fore on nose and vigorous palate, beneath which lurks lush red and black berry and cherry fruits which had yet to take centre stage at the April tasting but were coming to the fore in May. Very good – rich, ripe and rolling, with beautiful balance. (Tasted 6 April 2011 & 19 May 2011)
Quinta do Vesuvio 2009
A raw youthful nose, but in the mouth it’s another story with plush and fleshy plum, damson, cherry and berry fruit edged with sweet cinnamon spice/chocolate gingerbread. Terrific fruit. Fine powdery tannins add to its sumptuousness. Long. Very good. (Tasted 6 April 2011 & 19 May 2011)
Pintas Vintage Port 2009
A deep inky purple hue with a super floral nose and palate with violets to its well defined dark berry fruits. Elegant with good structure behind. Lovely. (Tasted 6 April 2011)
Churchill’s Quinta da Gricha Vintage 2009
Dark ruby and, with really good depth of flavour and structure, it’s long, lingering and violet scented from nose to tail. Good freshness too. (Tasted 6 April 2011)