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“Two factors stand out in 2016. The spring was extremely wet meaning that the vines had plenty of water throughout the summer. Secondly, the ripening season started relatively late and lasted well into September. This meant that the crop was very evenly ripened and all elements were in perfect balance at the time of the harvest. Picking started later than usual, particular in the Pinhão Valley where the Taylor’s properties only began their harvests in the last week of September.”
“The hallmark of the Taylor’s 2016 is the very fine fruit quality and the magnificent tannins supported by a lively acidity.”
David Fonseca Guimaraens, Head Wine Maker
Taylor’s Port is the last of the original English founding port companies to remain family owned. It has never been bought, sold or taken over. The company is run by descendants of the founders. This ensures its outlook and philosophy remains focused on the production of top quality ports.
Taylor’s were also the first to invest heavily in property in the Upper Douro. The recent acquisition of Quinta do Junco illustrates the continued commitment of the firm to producing premium quality wines. Their Estates at Vargellas, Terra Feita and Junco, have been carefully selected and all have the prize Casa do Douro “A” classification. The main grape varieties used are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão and Tinta Amarela.
Each Estate has a carefully planned programme of new planting to maintain the standards of the estate wines - used for the famous Taylor’s Vintage Ports, single Quinta wines, and the backbone of Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage Port.
Taylor’s Vintage Port is made from grapes grown on the firms two properties Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta de Terra Feita. The stature of its Port is acknowledged by experts everywhere - and by the international wine auctions which regularly price Taylor’s Vintage Port ten to fifteen per cent above its rivals.
The weather pattern during the growing and ripening seasons had a decisive effect on the character of the 2016 wines, with their elegance, refinement, crisp acidity and magnificent tannins. Spring was unusually wet, with heavy rain and relatively cool conditions throughout April and May. This had the benefit of restoring ground water levels, depleted by the previous year’s drought, and creating reserves for the hot summer that was to follow. However, the wet spring conditions also resulted in loss of fruit in some areas and a significant reduction in yields. They also delayed the start of the ripening cycle.
Véraison started late, with the first signs visible around the second week of July. From early July, hot dry conditions prevailed until well into September. In spite of the heat, maturation was even and gradual. Together with the late start to the cycle, this meant that, at the end of August, the crop was still far from ripe. Some rainfall in mid-September helped to round off the maturation.
Producers that delayed picking until after the rains were rewarded with perfect harvesting conditions, with cool nights helping to extend fermentation times and allow for gentle extraction. The first grapes were picked at Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas on 17th September, with the Pinhão Valley estates following on the 23rd and 26th respectively.
Deep purple, the aromas here are lifted, beautifully intense and concentrated, but restrained, with pink rose and lilac, holding so much back, the palate is very polished, and silky, with plenty of spicy peppercorns on the back, this has an impressive shape, the texture is very impressive, a calm density. There is a sense of chest-pouting, majesty and Taylor’s hall mark delicate spiced length. A beauty and definite buy.
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.