2016 Port: ‘Classic’ but tiny

The widely declared 2016 vintage in the Douro may be a classic but volumes are very small with the amount produced being, on occasion, almost half the amount made in an average declaration.

Last week, three of Port’s biggest names, Quinta do Noval, the Fladgate Partnership and Symington Family Estates, held a combined tasting in London to present their freshly minted vintage.

It is the first time since 2011 that there has been such a wide vintage declaration in the northern Portuguese region with practically all the major shippers declaring for their various houses.

Speaking at a briefing during the tasting, Adrian Bridge of the Fladgate Partnership, Christian Seely of AXA Millèsimes and Johnny Symington of Symington Family Estates all stressed the quality of the wines produced.

Bridge described them as “particularly extraordinary wines”, while Seely said he’d been “thrilled” by them right from the start, while Symington said they were “perfectly aligned”.

Yet 2016 was also a difficult year, with a warm, wet winter, then a cold, wet spring, a summer that was at times blisteringly hot and then rain right at the end of the season.

It was, said Symington, a year to “really know your vineyards” and also hold one’s nerve and wait to pick until after the rains.

“It’s a calculated risk,” he said. “Making great wines needs science, art and luck – and patience.”

The effect of the varied weather is clear on the amount of wine produced and volumes of the 2016 are extremely small.

Bridge noted that production of Taylor’s was around 6,000 nine-litre cases, easily half the amount in an average vintage (between 12,000-14,000). For Fonseca, meanwhile, some 5,000 cases were made and just 3,000 for Croft’s.

Symington said volumes were down 20-30% on 2011 which itself “wasn’t big”.

For the first time the company has actually printed the number of cases produced on the front label of each bottle.

The numbers are:

  • Cockburn’s: 2,450 cases
  • Warre’s: 4,250 cases
  • Graham’s: 6,325 cases
  • Dow’s: 5,480 cases
  • Smith Woodhouse: 1,500 cases
  • Quinta de Roriz: 390 cases

At Quinta do Noval meanwhile, just 170 cases of Naçional have been produced.

High demand is expected for the wines and prices will be up by as much as 20-25% on the release prices of the 2011s.

On the other hand, the 2011s have generally appreciated very strongly since their release and the price of the 2016s is generally below the going-rate of the ‘11s.

As pointed out by Liv-ex, a case in point would be the Dow’s 2011. Released at £450 a case, it has climbed 211% since then to £1,400. Its 2016 has been released at £624 so less than half the price.

Most other gaps are no way near as large. Cockburn’s 2011 is £460 and the 2016 is out at £450; Graham’s 2011 is £650 and the 2016 £624; Croft’s 2011 is £420 and the 2016 £470 and Taylor’s 2011 is £580 and the 2016 roughly the same price.

Nonetheless, as it has been such a long time since a big declaration, judging by the overall success of the 2011s and as volumes are so limited there is confidence that the 2016s will sell well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Supply Chain Assistant

Speciality Drinks
London NW10 7SF, UK

Supply Chain Co-ordinator

Speciality Drinks
London NW10 7SF, UK

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
West Midlands & Northants

Logistics Team Leader

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Key Account Executive

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Assistant Operations Manager

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Technical Manager

North South Wines
West Drayton, UK

Key Account Manager

MMI Maldives
Maldives

TERRITORY SALES MANAGER

Eurowines Limited
Harrogate, UK

Business Manager - Impulse

Australian Vintage
Croydon, UK

Exclusive Masterclass: Chablis on Tour

London,United Kingdom
29th Apr 2019

Vinexpo Bordeaux

Bordeaux,France
13th May 2019

London Wine Fair 2019

London,United Kingdom
20th May 2019
Click to view more

The Global Grenache Masters 2019

Deadline : 26th April 2019

The Tuscan Masters 2019

Deadline : 26th April 2019

Click to view more

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

View Results

Rioja Masters 2018

View Results

Click to view more