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Medium saturated color. Here’s another unusual yet pleasurable bouquet, which features lots of ´leaf and stem´notes. We also pick up scents of earth, pepper, green tea, soy sauce and decayed flowers. Very good in the mouth as well. The 1988 is big, rich, sweet, and chewy with a syrupy viscosity. It’s nicely balanced, not too heavy or over-the-top. Many participants think it’s somewhat “austere” and “too young”, but a vocal minority disagrees. Very creamy, elegant, delicious finish. 

Score: 91

Neal Martin


The Story

Quinta de Vargellas is pre-eminent among the wine estates of the Douro. Located in the wild and hilly eastern reaches of the Douro valley, it has been prized as a source of the finest Port wines since the 1820s. Today it ranks among the great vineyards of the world.

In years when a Taylor’s Vintage  is not declared, the decision may be taken to bottle a Single Quinta Vintage Port. This is made entirely from grapes grown on the Vargellas property and bears the name of the estate on the label.

A Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port is generally more early maturing than the declared Taylor’s Vintages. Often quite approachable when young, they will nevertheless mature well for many years if laid down.

The elegant and scented Port wines of Quinta de Vargellas are the most reputed Single Quinta Vintages. Regarded as more prestigious and collectable than many shippers’ declared Vintages, they often appear for sale at auction. Like a declared Vintage, a Quinta de Vargellas Single Quinta Vintage Port is released soon after bottling. However, some of the Port wine is generally kept back to be offered for sale when approaching drinking age.


Wine Information

A warm wet winter was followed by a dry period in the early Spring.  No rain fell at all in the Upper Douro in March, and the average temperature was 20ºC, which was unseasonably high for the time of year. No rain fell in August, and the second half of this month and the first week of September were extremely hot, the average temperature for these two months being just under 27ºC.

Weather conditions were ideal for the vintage with warm, sunny days and cool nights, and no rain fell at all during the harvest.  Due to the very hot weather prior to the Vintage, there was considerable dehydration of the juice which resulted in more concentrated musts with good flavour and colour.


Vintage 1988

Port Vintage: A disastrously small vintage that saw most quintas losing 50% of their production, and some as much as 70%. No declarations were made, and only a handful of Single Quinta Vintage Ports were produced. They are best for drinking fairly young, rather than ageing.


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Pungent, ripe fruit with rich jammy nose. Smooth, velvety wine with nice volume and balance. Fruit is full, luscious and delightfully fresh still. Lots of plum jam, prune and liquorice. Perfect drinking now.

  • 93p
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Porto, Douro

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