x
  • Country ranking ?

    32
  • Producer ranking ?

    4
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The 2016 vintage of port wine is universally declared by the biggest port producers.

 

Although it won’t be officially confirmed by the Confraria do Vinho do Porto until September 2018, the 2016 vintage has already been universally declared by the majority of porthouses. That encompasses key producers such as the Symington Family Estates (which accounts for a third of all ports sold worldwide, including Dow’s, Graham’s, Cockburn’s and Warre’s), the Fladgate Partnership (producers of Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca, and Croft), and the House of Sandeman.

 

A universally declared vintage—which accounts for fewer than 2 percent of all ports produced—is dictated by nature and, on average, occurs once every three years. However, it has been five years since the last vintage port—the remarkable 2011—was universally declared, and many are comparing the two for their similar power and finesse.

 

“The 2016 was a much more difficult vintage than the 2011,” says Rupert Symington, CEO of Symington Family Estates and fourth generation of the founding family, who noted that this latest vintage was marked by a very hot growing season interspersed with an abundance of rain, which caused many growers, fearing crop loss, to pick early. But those who waited—like winemaker Charles Symington—were rewarded by a hot spell that dramatically increased the quality of the grapes.

 

“That was exactly what the vines needed,” said Rupert Symington, “because the moment you get rain, things shut down and you need a bit of time to get the vines up and running again, restarting the photosynthesis process that transports the sugars from the leaves to the fruit. It was a calculated risk, but it paid off.”

As a result, the 2016 vintages overall possess a depth of flavor and pronounced tannins, and like the 2011s, some are—uncharacteristically, for vintage port—ready to be enjoyed now, while others demand extended aging to bring out their maximum attributes. But beyond that, the two most recent and celebrated vintages of the 21st century are very different.

 

“The 2011 had some very fine, linear tannins,” says Symington, “but the 2016 is a more brooding wine; the biggest wines are bigger, and the mouthfeel is less overt. The tannins are there, but (with our wines) they are masked by a lot of fruit.”

All the 2016s will benefit from long maturation, some as much as forty years or more. Prices will generally be higher than the 2011 vintage, due to the low yield and extremely high quality of the harvest. That in itself portends rarity. Nonetheless, here are some recommendations when the 2016 vintages start appearing in the U.S. this fall.

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The Story

Graham's has a reputation as a producer of outstanding Vintage Port for well over a century. These wines are renowned for their remarkable richness, concentration and firm tannic structure: a combination which yields impressive longevity. Graham's Vintage Ports consistently attain the highest ratings in tastings and invariably attract very high bids at fine wine auctions.

Vintage Ports are only made in years of exceptionally high quality harvests, which on average occur two or three times in a decade. The weather in the vineyards is the principal determining factor: conditions must be ideal throughout the growing season, as well as during the subsequent harvest.

Graham's extraordinary quality is the result of the unique characteristics of the five vineyards that contribute to the Vintage Port.

Graham's declares a Vintage Port only in exceptional years, perhaps three times in a decade, and in the intervening years may produce a Quinta Vintage Ports from Quinta dos Malvedos or Quinta do Tua. These Quinta Vintage Ports are aged in our cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia for 10 years or more after harvest, before being released to the market, ready for enjoyment.

 

Graham’s Vintage Ports are outstanding for their consistent quality and long life.  James Suckling’s series of notes for old vintages tasted in 1990 confirm this – how many wines, after 40 or more years, are rated so highly and noted as “will improve with age” ? 

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Wine Information

The Graham’s 2016 ($150) is a classic in every sense, with a smoky eucalyptus bouquet, thick and sweet on the palate, full of black cherries accented with dark chocolate and a hint of mint. Opulent now, it will become even more so in decades to come.

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Vintage 2016

The 2016 harvest in the Douro brought perfectly-timed rain that turned a good year into a great one. Fortunately, despite a challenging growing season and a much adjusted and delayed picking schedule, those producers with excellent vineyard knowledge and confident decision-making, were rewarded with spectacular Vintage Ports.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

15 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

Near perfect and very nearly the wine of the vintage. Purply black. This has the exciting ‘purity and pristine fruit’, the trademark of the 2016 vintage, in spades. Immpeccably balanced. Great length. Densely flavoured with blueberries and dark fruits, spices, kid leather, chocolate. The merest hint of sweetness, but balance is such that it is almost difficult to pull out such an individual component. Cashmere-like tannins. This has decades ahead of it. 99+.

Worth noting that 2016 was the third vintage of their Stone Terraces VP, made from just 2% of the Quinta dos Malvedos estate, with extremely low-yielding vines. To date, it has eluded me, though the few reports I've seen are extremely positive. 

  • 99p

The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow's this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham's. Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow's will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham's is wonderfully delicious. That's one hallmark of the house. I'm not sure this is a truly great Graham's, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement. There were 6,325 cases produced, plus some bottles in other formats.

Part of the Symington Family houses, Graham's was declared this year, along with everything else. All of them were bottled, although not long in bottle. They are set for release in October 2018. Charles Symington said that 2016 started off very rainy, followed by a hot and dry summer, but with moderate temperatures. It was fairly apparent it would be a later vintage. In mid-August, some rain helped the maturation. At the beginning of September, there was a wave of hot weather. He said that was a crucial moment when he thought of starting harvest, even though it was not quite perfect, but they waited. Victory goes to the bold. Rain in the second week of September caused them to hold back another week, beginning harvest around 22 September. It was a very late harvest, creating a certain element of risk. Touriga Franca, he said, is particularly susceptible to rain. But there was no rain for the next 30 days, making harvest easy. Charles said that the "blue skies and mild temperatures from the 13th September to the 10th October allowed for the Nacional to be picked in late September and the Franca in early October in perfect conditions with fantastic balance. The freshness coming through in these wines being a defining feature of this vintage."

  • 95p

The 2016 Graham’s Vintage Port is inky black in colour. The bouquet is voluminous and intense, the aromas almost shrouding your head! Blackberry, black olive, clove and a touch of smoke, just a hint of pencil box in the background. The palate is brilliant, quite brilliant. Supple tannin, a satin-like texture, perfect balance and unerring purity, this is a fabulous Graham’s that effortlessly fans out and caresses the senses on the finish. This Graham’s has huge potential and is going to give a lot of pleasure for many years.

  • 96p

Opaque. Rich, fruity, dense, blackberries, spices, blueberries, anise nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruity, anise, spices, liquorice, dense, almost creamy texture, long. 96

  • 96p

The small production of Graham’s 2016 Vintage bottling consists of 6,325 9-litre cases, including 600 magnums and 352 Tappit Hens. Bottled in June 2018.
Extremely deep purplish crimson. Wonderfully pure nose – so direct and intense. Long and schistous somehow. Very fresh fruit quality. Almost like a mouthwash, it’s so pure and brisk. Linear.

  • 95p

Pliant and supple, the 2016 offers notable density and raciness in an up-front style that will drink well upon release. Succulent red/purplish fruit, spice, new leather and licorice are front and center. A wine of total allure, the 2016 hits all the right spots…It is one of the best values 2016 Ports readers will find in Portugal

  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Porto, Douro

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