Fladgate joins in 2016 vintage Port declaration

The Fladgate Partnership has joined fellow Port producers Symington Family Estates and Quinta do Noval in declaring 2016 a vintage year for its Croft, Taylor’s and Fonseca brands, calling it a “classic” vintage for all three houses.

Fladgate has declared a vintage across its Croft, Taylor’s and Fonseca Port houses

According to custom, all three houses made their declaration announcement on 23rd April, which is St George’s Day in England, reflecting the country’s historical links to the Port industry.

Describing the 2016 vintage, Adrian Bridge, managing director of The Fladgate Partnership, said its hallmarks were “purity and refinement”.

“The vintage Ports of the three houses are stylistically distinct but all display elegance and poise, a wonderful purity of fruit and tannins of great quality,” he said, adding: “Yields at the harvest were below average. The amount of 2016 vintage Port offered will be relatively restricted and allocations will be tight. The 2016s are likely to become rarities in future, particularly given the trend towards enjoying vintage Ports young.”

It is the first general declaration for Fladgate across all three houses since 2011. Last year it declared vintage only for its single quinta Ports, including Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas and Croft’s Quinta da Roêda.

“Two factors stand out in 2016,” said David Guimaraens, Fladgate’s Partnership’s technical director and head winemaker. “Heavy rainfall in spring meant that the vines had plenty of water throughout the summer. Secondly, the ripening season started relatively late and lasted well into September. This led to very gradual and even ripening of the crop with all elements in perfect balance at the time of the harvest. Picking started later than usual on all of our houses’ estates, particularly those located in the Pinhão Valley.”

Commenting on the resulting wines, Guimaraens added: “Harvesting conditions at the end of September and early October were perfect, with cool nights contributing to long fermentations and gentle, complete extraction. As a result the wines are solidly structured with firm, well integrated tannins and display very fine fruit quality.”

The 2016 vintage Ports from Croft, Fonseca and Taylor’s will be shipped later in the year and should be available in most markets by the autumn.

It follows earlier announcements from Symington Family Estates, which has declared 2016 as a vintage across all of its Port properties, the first time it has issued a general declaration since 2011. It is also only the fourth time Symington Family Estates has issued a general declaration for Graham’s, Dow’s and Warre’s (and now Cockburn’s too) since 2000.

Quinta do Noval has also declared a ‘Nacional’ vintage, with managing director Christian Seely noting that the mixture of rainfall and intense heat, and the need to wait to pick individual plots at optimum ripeness, had resulted in wines with “excellent structure, very intense bright fruit and aromatically very expressive.”

It is the sixth consecutive year that Noval has declared a vintage year.

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