Fladgate Partnership declares Vintages 2017

The flagship port wine company had no doubt about declaring vintage in 2017. The year brought together the ideal conditions for its production.

This year, for several professional chores, I ended up not being present in evidence of two emblematic port wine companies that declared 2017 vintage year. A of them - The Fladgate Partnership - managed to arrange a second date, and there was I tasting the vintages of the brands Taylor's, Fonseca, Croft and Krohn, plus of two traffic jams of old vineyards, and on top of that having the winemaker David Guimaraens present to tell me amazing stories like, by the way, always does.

For those who do not know, vintages are the highest category of port wine, in the Ruby family, for this reason do not always come out, only in years in which producing companies consider exceptional. These will be available very soon, this being the seventh statement that The Fladgate Partnership makes this century, after the years 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2016.  According to David, 2017 was a great year. He met the ideal conditions, as it was incredibly dry, early in the folding and early at least three weeks in the vegetation, causing the harvest to start earlier.  The low yields of the vine eventually resulted in dense musts, with a remarkable balance. According to David, who was investigating the old harvest reports, the last time there were identical conditions was in 1945, the year of ripe grapes and very thick films, which resulted in legendary, structured, deep and very aromatic wines. 

One of the most interesting of the Port wine tasting is that each house usually works with different brands and, each of them, with different styles, hence be very interesting perceive their characteristics and differences. But despite the differences among themselves, the vintages 2017 tasted - Taylor's, Taylor's Vargellas Vinha Velha, Fonseca, Croft, Croft Quinta da Roêda Serikos and Krohn – have some things in common, which mark a linear quality: all grapes were stepped on foot, in granite mills; the variable of iron remained the same over the years (100%) and the brandy is always of excellent quality, neutral and from various origins in the Europe.

All of them, from some so, they excelled. Taylors' profile is undoubtedly striking, with his tannin dry, very defined and balanced, but the Taylors Vargellas Old Vineyard evidenced much more, being a rare vintage made from the vineyards oldest of Quinta de Vargellas. A wine that, to this day, has only been launched eight times and in very limited quantities. It's a dense and deep wine retinto, full-bodied and engaging, with everything in place. A wine that is also perfect for collectors who like to acquire these rarities as Investment.

Crof also launched the its vintage, more austere and herbaceous style, and another Croft, the first to be produced with the grapes of the old vineyards of the Roêda, baptized of Serikos, Greek word meaning silk. A wine also powerful, lush in fruit and very silky (hence the name). It is recalled, by the way, that Roêda has one of the vineyards more extensive and well preserved old douro valley vineyards, planted in the early 19th century.  

Finally, vintages of the brands Fonseca and Krohn. The first is a wine that chews, marked by pinhão's terroir and Quinta do Panascal. Fruity, complex, earthy, fat, greedy and seductive. Krohn, made with grapes from Quinta do Retiro Novo proves to be fruity but also austere, evidencing a slight bitter mouth with spice. This is probably the most 'forgotten' mark of Fladgate Partnership, but unfairly, for in proof behaves almost always in a very balanced way.