PORT VINTAGE GUIDE
Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:
2017 - The 2017 vintage is a watershed for quality but also for reasons more momentous than the wines themselves—for the second consecutive year, the major port houses declared the vintage. By tradition, general vintage declarations are rare, with typically only two or three per decade meeting the standard. A consecutive declaration, however, seems to be more like a once-in-a-century occurrence, with the last ones in 1991/92 and 1872/73. The growing season was incredibly hot and dry, even by Douro standards, but it was also free of disease pressure. The small crop yielded wines of structure and intensity, features that juxtapose perfectly with the elegance and finesse found in the potentially legendary 2016 vintage. The best of these 2017s will outlive all of us. So, it was almost by default that Porto's most important players took this extraordinary stance and recognized the year for its inherent greatness, now and for many decades to come.
2016 - It's no surprise that this is first unanimous vintage declaration since 2011 in the Douro. A warm February and March led to early bud break, but a cool and wet spring delayed flowering and reduced potential yields. Very warm temperatures from mid-summer through harvest turned the vintage around, but the punctuation of rain showers in late August and mid-September was the true difference maker. Cool nighttime conditions during harvest allowed for long and complete extractions. The young wines show strong veins of black fruits bolstered by impeccably suave tannins and a refined streak of acidity that checks the ripeness of the hot vintage. Many critics rightly consider 2016 a worthy rival to the utterly classic 2011s.
2011 - Regarded by many critics as the greatest vintage of the past two decades and drawing comparisons to the legendary 1945 and 1963 vintages, 2011 is a new benchmark for Port. Bouts of fungal disease early in the season significantly reduced yields, but warm and dry weather from June onward provided the recipe for greatness. August showers arrived at an opportune time and harvest weather was perfect. The finished wines have a combination of ripeness and acidity that seems to occur only once or twice in most Port lovers' lifetimes. Perhaps more than any other vintage prior, the schistous terroir of the Douro really shines through in the wines. Cellaring potential is outstanding.
2007 - While it's now universally declared a great vintage, few producers in the Douro could have expected as much halfway through the year. An unusually long, cool growing season for the most part, 2007 saw harvest last until October 20th, a full two weeks later than the norm. However, this extended hang time allowed the grapes to accumulate sugars through proper ripening rather than dessication. Indeed, rainfall was well above average for the year. The resulting wines are some of the most polished and refined young vintage ports to emerge in the past two decades. Their inherent balance and harmony will reward extended cellaring along side the other stellar vintages of the 2000s.
2003 - An early bud break, punctuated by significant rains in April, set the stage for a perfect flowering in mid-May. The notorious 2003 heatwave that gripped Europe did not arrive in the Douro until mid-August, but timely rains at the end of June and July helped mitigate the stress on the vines. Strict selection during the early harvest depressed yields, but the fruit and resulting wines show an uncanny combination of ripe fruit and structured tannins. These wines should be notoriously long-lived in the cellar. .
2000 - The season was ushered in by an unusually cold and dry winter, and the trend continued during bud break, reducing potential yields. Further losses occurred from heavy rains in April and May, as coulure took its toll. As is the case with all great declared vintages, mid- and late summer were dry and warm, with a September heat spike pushing the fruit past the ripeness threshold and picking taking place in ideal conditions. Perhaps the richest, most powerful port vintage in the past two decades, with profound aromatics serious structure for the long haul.
1997 - The growing season featured a cool, wet mid-summer bookended by an unseasonably warm spring and a hot, dry August and September. Harvest proceeded without incident. The finished wines showed initial signs of greatness, and the vintage was almost unanimously declared. Not quite as opulent and concentrated as the 1994 vintage, 1997 displays sinew and finesse comparable to 1983 – eminently ageworthy ports in a style which makes for a fascinating juxtaposition to the 1994s.
1994 - Arguably the benchmark vintage of the 1990s, it was a relatively wet vintage compared to the three prior drought years, but the majority of precipitation arrived by late May, and the rest of the season was ideal. The early, wet weather served to check yields just enough to boost quality at harvest. At release, many critics considered the wines a bit heavy-handed, but 20-some years on, they've shed their baby fat and are only now beginning to show their true greatness. The best wines of the 1994 vintage will continue to evolve magnificently for the next 30 years.