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Taylor's declares 2018 a classic vintage

Published:  23 April, 2020

The Fladgate Partnership has declared 2018 a ‘classic vintage’ for Taylor’s but not for its Fonseca or Croft Port brands. 

Fonseca will release a 2018 Guimaraens vintage Port, the first bottling under the Guimaraens label since 2015, while Croft will release a 2018 single quinta vintage Port from its Quinta da Roêda estate.  

By tradition, Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft Ports have announced whether they will release a vintage Port and, if so, which wines they will bottle. But the harvest of 2018 had produced an “unusual situation”, said The Fladgate Partnership.

“This is a year in which overall conditions were excellent but exceptional in the Douro Superior. As Taylor’s is the only one of our companies with extensive land holdings in this part of the Douro, it has been able to make a classic. All our properties are always farmed so that every grape has the potential of being made into vintage Port,” said Adrian Bridge, CEO, The fladgate Partnership. 

Although a classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the “exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s is able to make a third in a row”, he added. 

“This is very unusual but our principle is that we only declare a classic vintage when the quality is there and this is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration. Indeed, in view of the economic situation in which we find ourselves, we will bottle in July as usual but will not offer the wines until early 2021.”

The Douro Superior had enjoyed the combination of abundant ground water and hot summer weather which often produces great vintage Port, added head winemaker David Guimaraens. 

“It has given us the excellent phenolic maturity typical of a hot ripening season but the fine multi-layered fruit, fresh acidity we normally see in cooler years.” 

Commenting generally on the year, Guimaraens said: “The 2018 harvest has produced outstanding Vintage Ports, although the year was not without its challenges. These included the severe hailstorm which devastated many Pinhão Valley vineyards on 28 May including those of Taylor’s Quinta do Junco.” 

It was is important to note that the 2018 wines "have the highest colour intensity of recent vintages, always a sign of good extraction and longevity, he concluded.