Fladgate Partnership (Taylors, Croft, Fonseca)

In addition to classic Vintage Ports from each of the four houses, there will also be two ‘old vines’ bottlings. Taylor’s will release a 2017 Vargellas Vinha Velha, the rare Vintage Port from the oldest vines at Quinta de Vargellas. This will be only the eighth Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage Port ever made. Further exciting news for rare wine enthusiasts is that, for the first time, Croft will release a rare Vintage Port from the oldest vines of its magnificent estate of Quinta da Roêda. Called Serikos, a reference to Roêda’s post-Phylloxera involvement in the production of silk, the wine captures the essence of the property’s historic vineyards. Quantities of both of these ‘old vines’ bottlings will be very limited and subject to tight allocation. The Fladgate Partnership’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, commented: “After the long interval that followed the 2011 Vintage release, we are delighted that the highly acclaimed 2016s are now followed by the superb 2017s. All our houses and their properties have produced exceptional wines, with impressive density, depth and aromatic potential.” He added: “It is clear that 2017 was a stunning year for the old vineyards. In addition to a Vargellas Vinha Velha release, we are very excited to be launching Serikos, a Vintage Port from the oldest vines of Croft’s Quinta da Roêda.”
2017 Harvest in the Douro Valley
Following a wet year in 2016, the winter was drier than usual, raining 22% less than the 30 year average. Although January was particularly cold, budburst occurred earlier than usual on the 10th March. The warm and dry month of April set the scene for an early season right from the outset. The combination of an average temperature for April in Pinhão of 16.83ºC with very low rainfall of only 7.2 mm led to a rapid development of the growth of the vines. The 1970-2000 average for Pinhão is 14.1ºC Average Temperature and 58,8mm of rain.
May continued equally warm and dry, with flowering occurring between the 3rd and 11th May in A Grade vineyards. The first three weeks of June were extremely hot, which together with very low levels of humidity damaged many bunches. This is known as, or refered to as the “Queima de S.João. This year we saw a repeat of the drying up of Tinta Barroca bunches that also occurred in 2011. Veraison was first detected during the week of 18th June, exactly one month earlier than 2016. With the exception of a thunderstorm that occurred in parts of the Cima Corgo on the 6th July, the summer was exceptionally dry, with no rain falling during August and September.
As expected the ripening was considerably early, and overall, sugar levels were much higher than normal.
For the same date at the end of August, the average Baumé at Vargellas was 3º higher than in 2016, and 2º higher than most of the previous 9 years. These very high sugar levels are beneficial for Port as it allows for longer fermentations and better colour extraction. This was particularly important in 2017 as the skins were very thick. Picking started at Quinta da Roêda on the 31st August and at Vargellas on the 1st September, something not seen in my generation, however not unheard of before. Dick Yeatman´s Harvest Report from 1945 records the first lagares being filled at Vargellas on the 3rd September.
The temperatures during harvest were mild, with cool nights, which played a key role in ensuring that the ferments did not reach excessively high temperatures, and the grapes kept their balanced ripeness.
The concentration of the grapes together with the high sugar levels produced Ports with very high colour intensity and dense firm tannins. The ideal temperature conditions during August and the harvest have resulted in very few musts with overly ripe characters, which is satisfying considering how arid the year has been.
At a time when out of the ordinary years are all put down to climate change,it is comforting to read Dick Yeatman’s 1945 Harvest Report and see an almost identical season

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Symington Family

The Symington family are pleased to announce 2017 as a Vintage Port year.
The first ever consecutive declaration for the Symington family is a milestone moment in their long history and is the result of two very different but extremely high-quality years for port in the Douro. Nothing less than a spectacular year would have justified the first general ‘back-to-back’ Vintage Port declaration by our family since Andrew James Symington arrived in Porto in 1882.

The 2017 wines were the result of an advanced growing cycle which led to the earliest harvest ever recorded in the Symington family’s 137-year history as winemakers and port producers. Warmer, drier conditions than usual resulted in small, compact bunches of grapes in excellent condition, with yields amongst the lowest of the century so far, 20% below the 10-year average. The resulting wines are characterised by extraordinary intensity, concentration and structure, combined with stunning aromas and freshness.

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Winelist last updated: 7/10/2020 12:14:30 PM

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