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2016 will be remembered as a year that produced wines of remarkable structure, balance, and elegance, a profile which closely matches Warre’s traditional Vintage Port style. Words such as charm, grace, finesse, and elegance are rarely absent in descriptions and reviews of Warre’s superb Vintage Ports, be they from the 19th, 20th, or 21st centuries.
Typically Warre’s in its feminine charm, exuding floral aromas of violets and rockrose. Supple, ripe black fruit flavours, underscored by fresh acidity, rendering superb balance and elegance. Long, lingering finish with delicate tea-leaf notes.
Over the centuries Warre's has made memorable wines which have earned for it First Growth status alongside a very small group of other elite producers. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Warre’s produced some of the greatest Vintage Ports ever made such as the 1870, 1887, 1896, the great 1904, the legendary 1908 and several more, all of which played a very significant role in establishing Port as one of the world’s finest wines.More recently, Warre’s stature in this field was further consolidated with the superb 2000 and 2003 Vintage Ports which attracted worldwide acclaim.
Warre’s Vintage Ports are peerless in their expression of poise and elegance. Whereas some other Vintage Ports can be almost overwhelming in their richness, Warre’s Vintage wines combine elegance, length and balance whilst still retaining the underlying rich opulence of great Vintage Port.
This unsurpassed style is derived from the inherent characteristics of Warre’s two principal vineyards: Quinta da Cavadinha and Quinta do Retiro Antigo. They complement each other very well. Cavadinha’s location, aspect and altitude translate into a cooler ripening cycle providing the freshness, fine subtle floral aromas and ideal acidity, the latter contributing significantly to the wines’ longevity. Retiro Antigo’s location in the hotter Rio Torto Valley, combined with the fact that just over 70% of the vineyard is made up of old, mixed vines, results in wines that show great intensity, concentration and complexity. Their powerful structure also provides great staying power.
Over the next few years, fruit from Quinta da Telhada will gradually be added to offer an even wider dimension to what is already one of the Douro’s most accomplished Vintage Ports. With its high proportion of Touriga Nacional plantings at an ideal age, this vineyard is set to become an invaluable component of future Warre’s Vintages.
Food pairing suggestion: One of the best pairings with Vintage Port is cheese (cream cheese, blue cheese and cured cheese) but it can also be enjoyed alongside many desserts, or simply on its own.
Total acidity: 4.70 g/l
Bottled: during May 2018 with no filtration
Winemakers: Charles Symington and Mário Natário
Vines: Old vines 46%
Blend: Touriga Nacional 37%, Touriga Franca 17% + others
Production: 4,250 cases (12/75cl) – 13% of Warre’s total vineyard production
Tasting Note: Typically Warre’s in its feminine charm, exuding floral aromas of violets and rockrose. Supple, ripe black fruit flavours, underscored by fresh acidity, rendering superb balance and elegance. Long, lingering finish with delicate tea-leaf notes.
WARRE’S 2016 VINTAGE PORT:
The 2016 Vintage Ports are exceptional with tannins that are amongst the most refined ever, supporting beautiful red-fruit flavours with extraordinary intense, purple colour. They have impressive structure and balance, with Baumés, acidity, tannins and colour in rare and perfect alignment. This is no doubt a result of the later ripening cycle which allowed our grapes to mature evenly and completely. Production of each of our 2016 Vintage Ports is approximately 1/5th below our previous declared Vintage following rigorous selection in the tasting room.
Superior, harvesting began unusually late on September 15th. The vines’ protracted development suited Warre’s Cima Corgo properties and the Cavadinha vineyard, due to its aspect and altitude has a cooler, longer maturing pattern and reaches its best in years such as this when extended periods of ripening favour balanced grape maturations. A prerequisite of a classic declaration is for Touriga Franca to fulfill its maximum potential, and this is exactly what happened in 2016. The vintage was ten days longer than in 2015, allowing this and other varieties in all three Warre’s properties across the Douro Valley, to ripen fully with beautifully balanced Baumés, acidity and phenolics. There were occasions through the viticultural year when such a favourable outcome was far from certain. A warm winter and cool spring, both wetter than normal, required a great deal of work to protect the vines. While the generous rainfall was to prove providential in sustaining the vines through the hot and dry summer that followed (‘like money in the bank’ in Charles Symington’s words), it did catch many growers off guard during the spring and led to a 20% reduction in the crop across the region. At Warre’s vineyards, timely interventions not only saved the crop but ensured that the promise of quality would be realised during the vintage.
The hot summer, with several heatwaves and very little rain, strained the vines. However, the water reserves in the soil sustained maturations which advanced slowly until the late harvest. The cumulative rainfall at Cavadinha, to the end of August, was 52% higher than average, and this made all the difference. Furthermore, as so often happens in declared years, late summer rainfall proved decisive and made 2016 an exceptional year, rather than just a very good one. The 18mm of rain recorded at Cavadinha on September 12th and 13th was precisely what was needed for the grapes’ complete and balanced ripening. Nearly half the Warre’s 2016 is made up of old, mixed vines from both Cavadinha and Retiro. In sections of these vineyards, as many as 30 to 40 different varieties are planted together, and at Retiro they are between 80 and 100 years old with a predominance of Touriga Franca, a variety that has typically prospered in the Rio Torto Valley, home to Quinta do Retiro. These vineyards produced tiny yields, just 630g/vine.
The structure and complexity of the old vines was balanced with great acidity and freshness from the Cavadinha grapes and the superb floral aromatics from the two Touriga varieties harvested at Quinta da Telhada. Due to the very cool nights during the vintage, the grapes arrived at the Cavadinha lagar winery so cold in the mornings that, in effect, they had a ‘cold soak maceration’ before fermentation began, favouring excellent aromatic extraction. Harvesting finished at Cavadinha on October 10th, a couple of days before the weather broke. More perfect harvesting conditions could not have been hoped for.
2016 will be remembered as a year that produced wines of remarkable structure, balance and elegance, a profile which closely matches Warre’s traditional Vintage Port style. Words such as charm, grace, finesse and elegance are rarely absent in descriptions and reviews of Warre’s superb Vintage Ports, be they from the 19th, 20th or 21st centuries. 2016 was a late vintage. Picking only began at Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha and Quinta do Retiro on September 19th and September 23rd, respectively. Even at Quinta da Telhada, situated in the hotter Douro.
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.