2016 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port
From the Winery
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 Fladgate’s Quinta de Vargellas on 17th September, with the Pinhão Valley estates following on the 23rd and 26th respectively.
Deep purple black with a narrow magenta rim. High notes of pure, intense woodland fruit with lively accents of green apple, fresh plum and raspberry. Around this core of bright, singing fruit is a heady aura of gumcistus and wild herbs. On a deeper register, exotic notes of cedarwood and jasmine provide an additional dimension of complexity. The wine has an attractive leanness and muscularity with sinewy, linear tannins that integrate seamlessly into the mid palate and then re-emerge to hold the wine in a confident grip. Energised by a racy acidity, the intense berry flavours continue to build into the long finish. Although the keynotes are refinement and poise, the wine displays the restrained vigour and stamina that are the hallmarks of the Taylor Fladgate style.
James Suckling 100 points
OMG. This is really the most amazing young Taylor's I have ever tasted. Full-bodied and lightly sweet with super power and intensity. So racy and focused. Yet this has such muscle and intensity. Needs at least eight years to show you everything it has to offer. Drink in 2025.
WE98 Wine Enthusiast
Ripe, structured while also fruity, this intense, perfumed Port is opulent while also elegant. Its tannins and great fruit are finely integrated and are rich with potential. Black fruits, berries and a juicy aftertaste add freshness to the wine. Drink from 2028.
WS98 Wine Spectator
This is packed with raspberry, blackberry and blueberry fruit flavors that play off one another, melding with anise, fruitcake and ganache notes. A warm tarry edge coats the finish, revealing an echo of bramble. A seriously grippy, strapping Port, this revels in its power. Best from 2032 through 2055. From Portugal
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 96 points
The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend set to be bottled about a week after this tasting. It was the final blend. It was aged for 20 months in wood and comes in with 102 grams of residual sugar. The Croft might be as rich—although I don't think so; we'll see as they age—but this is more expressive right now. The most delicious of the three Fladgate Group offerings, this has the sexiest fruit, although the Fonseca seems to have more pure power. Even allowing that it had a fair bit of air, this was showing surprisingly well for young Taylor's. That is speaking relatively, of course, because this still has power and energy. Personally, this year I'd definitely pick Fonseca, though. Fonseca just seems to have a little more upside potential. With Port, of course, things change over the decades. This is a first look, not a final word.
Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca
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