First taste: Fonseca Guimaraens, Croft Roeda & Taylor’s Vargellas 2012 Vintage Ports
Last Friday I reported on David Guimaraens’ brilliantly insightful masterclass/tutored tasting of classic Port varieties. Please do take a look if you’ve ever wondered what single varietal “Port” tastes like (and to find out why I’ve used inverted commas). At the same time The Fladgate Partnership presented cask samples of their 2012 Vintage Ports. Below you’ll find my initial impressions of these babies together with a vintage report from the horse’s mouth.
2012 vintage report
Speaking on behalf of The Fladgate Partnership, CEO Adrian Bridge said, “The 2012s are showing wonderfully pure, vibrant fruit which often results from a cool ripening season giving the wines remarkable elegance and poise. Vargellas has attractive crisp acidity and expresses the Vargellas terroir with great precision. Roêda is particularly elegant and has seductive ripe fruitiness which is the hallmark of this great estate. The signature fruit quality of the Guimaraens Vintage is very much in evidence in the 2012 Vintage and the relatively cool ripening conditions give it an attractive freshness and elegance. These wines are ripe and mature and offer consumers the opportunity to purchase Vintage Ports for early drinking.”
Commenting on the viticultural year, Head Winemaker, David Guimaraens noted, “A dry winter followed by a cool Spring led to low yields but plenty of aromatic intensity. The cool ripening season was balanced by healthy growth giving the resulting Ports crisp acidity and a remarkable purity of fruit.”
Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port 2012
My pick of the bunch. Just glorious in its aromatic and fruit purity with violet-scented cassis and a long, very precise ever so Taylor’s finish well supported by firm but powdery tannins. Excitingly vibrant and fresh with lingering fruit and floral intensity.
Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 2012
A deeper hue with more opacity from this Port, the product of blending different estates (the other two are single quinta/estate vintage Ports). It’s more robust too with a charge of powdery, textured tannins behind its ripe plum and dried fig fruit with just a hint of tobacco. The most “traditional” in feel and, following Guimaraens’ masterclass, I’m certainly more conscious of the savoury dimension which Tinta Amarela seems to bring to the blend. Very good.
Croft Quinta da Roêda Vintage Port 2012
Deep purple and classic Croft in its purple palate prose, with an almost raw concentration of sappy, powdered cassis and black cherry and elegant lift of violets to the finish. It has just a hint of balancing green coffee bean and bitter chocolate to balance its sweetness. Youthfully, fruitily effusive. Very good.