Taylor’s has announced that it will release a classic Taylor’s Vintage Port from 2018. Comments are as follows:
“Although a Classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s has been able to make a third in a row. This is very unusual but our principle is that we declare a Classic Vintage when the quality is there. This is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration. All our properties are farmed so that every grape has the potential to become Vintage Port. In 2018, overall conditions were excellent but in the Douro Superior they were exceptional. Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas produced outstanding wines. In view of the current economic situation, we will bottle in July as usual but will not release the wine until early 2021”.
“The 2018 viticultural cycle had a challenging start but, as the harvest drew nearer, the conditions for making outstanding Vintage Port all fell into place. This was particularly true of the Douro Superior, which enjoyed the combination of intense summer heat and abundant ground water which often produces great Vintage Port. It gave us the excellent phenolic maturity typical of a hot ripening season but the elegance and fresh acidity we normally associate with cooler years. What stands out in the Taylor’s 2018 are its impressive, linear tannins, its depth of aroma and its wonderfully complex multi-layered fruit.” •
NOTES ON THE 2018 VITICULTURAL YEAR AND HARVEST
The 2018 vineyard cycle was unusual and had a marked effect on the character of the wine. The previous year had been very dry and hot and by 15th January nearly two thirds of the country was suffering from drought, the Douro Valley being one of the worst affected areas. Luckily, heavy rainfall in March avoided damage to the vines and replenished ground water reserves. The growing season from March until the end of June was relatively cold and wet, bringing mildew in some areas. Devastating hailstorms on 28th May caused extensive damage to vineyards in the Pinhão area, including Taylor’s Quinta do Junco. The development of the vines was about three weeks behind that of 2017, flowering occurring in late May and véraison in the last week of July. Dry, warm conditions prevailed throughout July followed by a wave of very intense heat in August. On 3rd August, the weather station at Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas recorded a temperature of just over 44°C. The extreme heat allowed the vines to make up some lost time and the abundant groundwater accumulated earlier in the year meant that, in spite of the hot conditions, ripening of the crop was gradual and balanced. Picking at Quinta de Vargellas began on 17th September in hot, dry weather which continued for the duration of the harvest. Yields were very low and winemakers’ notes report that the new wines displayed elegance, freshness of fruit, good acidity and intense colour. •
CASES PRODUCED 7.800
Impressive purple-black core with a narrow purple rim. An intense burst of powerful woodland fruit, a dense coulis of blackberry and blackcurrant, almost overwhelms the nose. The black fruit aromas are infused with discreet notes of cherry and mocha. As would be expected of Taylor’s, the fruit is very fine and focused, but the year seems to have given it an additional layer of density and weight. A familiar veil of violet scent hangs over the wine, together with a fragrance of rose petal and wild, minty herbal aromas. On the palate, the wine has beautifully ripe tannins, which integrate perfectly into the mid-palate, providing both structure and volume, and then break out on the finish with a firm wiry, grip. The palate closes with a powerful tide of fresh, complex fruit flowing endlessly through the finish. In the 2018, the Taylor traits of fine fruit and inner power combine seamlessly with the ripeness and depth typical of the vintage. •
Taylor’s was founded over three centuries ago in 1692 and has been family owned and run throughout its history. Taylor’s is recognised as a benchmark for Vintage Port, its classic Vintages attracting the highest scores and auction prices. Known for their elegance, longevity and distinctive scented character, they are blended from the finest wines of the firm’s own ‘quintas’ or estates. These three famous properties – Vargellas, Terra Feita and Junco
– occupy distinct geographic locations and each contributes its own unique character and dimension to the subtle harmony of the blend. These proper- ties represent the best of innovation and tradition, combining the most advanced viticultural practices with traditional foot treading, still unsurpassed as a method for making Vintage Port. •
Quinta do Junco is another famous old Pinhão Valley estate which by 1761 had achieved ‘feitoria’ status, then the highest classification for a port vineyard. It was added to the Taylor’s stable in 1997 and contributes to the Taylor’s Vintage Port blend in a small but increasingly important way. Its wines are massive in scale, lending an additional layer of density and structure to the blend. Occupying a steep but
open south facing hillside to the west of the Pinhão river, the vineyards of Quinta do Junco are well exposed to both sun and wind, benefit- ing from long hours of sunlight but avoiding the intense heat of less well aerated locations. A large area of the property was replanted by Taylor’s in vertical rows, a system which has benefits for both wine quality and the environment. However the estate also includes 15 hectares of very old vines planted on traditional walled terraces.
A traditional component of Taylor’s classic Vintage Ports, the wines of Quinta de Terra Feita are full-bodied, powerful and full of rich berry fruit flavour. They provide depth and volume to the blend. Located on the warm lower slopes of the Pinhão Valley, Terra Feita is one of the oldest port estates. Already identified as a source of the finest ports in the 1757 classification of Douro vineyards, Terra Feita has supplied Taylor’s with outstanding wines since the 1890’s. Acquired by Taylor’s in 1974, the property has been the site of pioneering work in batch planting and vineyard landscaping
The wines of Quinta de Vargellas traditionally form the ‘backbone’ of the Taylor‘s Vintage Port blend. This outstanding estate, recognized as one of the world’s finest vineyards, was acquired by Taylor’s in 1893 although its reputation as a source of the finest ports dates back to the 1820’s. Located in the remote eastern reaches of the Douro Valley, Vargellas is known for its elegant, scented wines, with their fine focused fruit and well integrated sinewy tannins. It is also known as a source of one of the rarest and most collectible Vintage Ports of all, Vargellas Vinha Velha, made in very small quantities from the produce of the oldest vines on the estate. •