What are the scores on the Warres?
(and Taylor's, Fonseca and Niepoort)
Having spent some serious time with the 2017 Ports now, it's so much easier to see what all the fuss is about. Two things stand out. The first is the importance of the old vines on these ancient granite terraces. This year they've triumphantly extracted the maximum terroir influence from the hillsides despite having to cope with drought and a harsh season. Secondly, although the Ports themselves start life as a product of nature, there's crucial intervention in the addition of the spirit which allows them to be Port. That grape brandy has disproportionate power beyond its alcohol. In the 2017s the years of research put into production methods for this has come to fruition and it's already integrated into the wine - something that in the past has taken decades. These are gorgeous, perfumed, complete wines. And the critics are over the moon. Neal Martin's top ten ever Port scores mostly feature 19th or early 20th century wines, but there are two 2017s among them. Julia Harding even admits to being slightly embarrassed by how high her scores are on the usually extremely conservative jancisrobinson.com.
'Black cherry colour with narrow purple rim. Gorgeous pure hedgerow black fruit and no sense of the alcohol on the nose – it has been completely integrated with the fruit already. Ripe blackberry, elderberry and blackcurrant and a touch of spice, wild fruit. Incredibly intense on the palate but not showy and the tannins make it taste almost dry. Wonderful texture, great freshness, the tannins ‘sweep the sweetness out of the mouth’, as Mondavi once said to Niepoort. Incredible purity, freshness, intensity and harmony. I’ve put a start date of 2025 but this is ridiculously delicious now even though it clearly has massive potential longevity. An incredible dark, rocky purity with a long savoury finish, the fruit is intense but not ultra-fruity. This reminds me of the rocky Douro from which the wines come. Sheer beauty with hidden power. Glorious, very long, totally moreish even now.' - 19.5 points, Julia Harding, jancisrobinson.com
'The 2017 Taylor's Vintage Port comes from their three quintas: Vargellas, de Terra Feita and do Junco, picking commencing at Vargellas on September 1, the earliest since 1945. Now this boasts a bold and more flamboyant bouquet vis-à-vis the Croft with layers of blackcurrant, blueberries, violet and allspice. Wonderful definition here and as it ratchets up through the gears with aeration manages to maintain impressive delineation. The palate is medium, rather full-bodied. The first impression is one of freshness, completely disguising that summer's dryness and warmth, a disarming finesse built around the frame of tannins that would have been impossible years ago. It is a silky-smooth Taylor's, one of the most polished 2017 Vintage Ports with energy and tension flooding through the finish. Aristocratic as ever, totally Taylor's, yet still translating the growing season with aplomb.' - 98 points, Neal Martin, vinous.com
Click on the wine names below to see other tasting notes. /CW
Offered subject to remaining unsold; for shipment spring 2020