Single Quinta Vintage Ports from the Noughties (Part I)

In the course of updating my book, Port and the Douro, I asked a number of leading shippers to submit single quinta vintage Ports from the decade 2000 – 2010 for tasting.  The first part of the tasting includes a very impressive set of Ports from the 2004 vintage.  

Taylor’s Vargellas Vinha Velha 2000 *****

Mid-deep colour, broad purple rim (these wines from the oldest vineyards on the estate are never quite as deep or dark as wines from more recently planted vines); very expressive, open, floral pure berry fruit (bilberry); firm and focused, rapier-like tannins, right the way through to the finish, long and linear. Great poise and very, very fine.  19

Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos 2001 *** / ****

Deep centre, thin purple rim; quite closed on the nose with underlying ripe berry fruit; firm and foursquare in style, big, bold spicy-peppery fruit. Solid, long with a ripe full, finish. A bit clumsy at this stage, needs time to emerge.  16.5

Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha 2001 ****

Deep centre, thin purple rim; aromatic berry fruit; soft and elegant, sweet and succulent, not nearly as powerful as the Malvedos with a fine tannic flourish and a lovely lithe finish.   17 

Silval 2001 ***

Very deep, opaque centre with a thin purple rim; strange, rather meaty aromas, slightly burnt and rubbery (may just be at an awkward stage); big and plump, marred by slightly cooked fruit, spicy and a touch jammy (blackberry jam) with a rich, broad finish. 15.5 

Taylor’s Quinta de Terra Feita 2001 ****

Very deep centre, just turning on the rim; cloves on the nose with ripe berry fruit; rich and plummy in style, broad and sweet with firm tannins rising in the mouth and fanning out on the finish. Very impressive.  17.5

Dow’s Quinta Senhora da Ribeira 2001 ****

Deep, dark centre, thin purple rim; ripe and expressive on the nose, really sings from the glass; big, rich, broad sweet plum and berry fruit, full yet focused with a solid tannic backbone rising on to the finish, fine and linear. 18

Quinta do Vesúvio 2001 ****

Deep centre, just starting to show age on the rim; dense, opening up to reveal rip, plummy fruit on the nose; soft, sweet, supple plum and berry fruit initially with tannins rising to an explosive finish. A lively streak of acidity running all the way through.  17.5 

 Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas 2001 ****

Deep centre, purple rim; again opening up on the nose to reveal ripe, plummy fruit, perhaps a bit more expressive at this stage than some of the other 2001s; firm, tight-knit tannin structure, right the way through to a peacock’s tail of a finish, fruit reveals itself on the finish.  17+

Fonseca Guimaraens 2001 ****

Deep and very youthful in appearance; still closed, giving very little away on the nose; rich, ripe, quite fat in style, broad ripe tannins rising in the mouth leading to a big finish. Needs more time: another 3-5 years in bottle. 17

Quinta de Vargellas 2004 ****

Deep centre, thin purple rim; tight and angular on the nose, needs time to open up, underlying ripe fruit; sweet and spicy with big, bold peppery tannins rising in the mouth, rather masking the fruit at this stage, big powerful expansive tannic finish. Needs another five years in bottle.   17

Quinta do Noval 2004 *****

Black, opaque, thin crimson rim; closed, dense on the nose with underlying richness and brooding potential; rich, complete and very fine, intense cassis fruit, fine grained tannins, powerful yet round, not angular. Still needs another 10 years in bottle.  19 

Fonseca Guimareans 2004 ****

Deep centre, purple rim; ripe, still closed with underlying minty fruit; again dense, mouth-filling with fine-grained tannins and some lovely blackcurrant fruit underlying, rich, broad, still needs another 5 years to open up. 17.5

Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha 2004 *** / ****

Deep, youthful colour; fragrant, floral, aromatic, already open, charming and very expressive; lovely elegant, sweet blackberry fruit with fine tannins rising in the mouth, leading to a balanced finish. Ready now (just) but will develop well for another 20 years.   16.5

Taylor’s Vargellas Vinha Velha 2004 **** / *****

Not as deep as some though youthful in appearance (see my note above); very pure and expressive on the nose, not big or closed, just very beautiful and wonderfully pure, tight, fine grained tannins, building in the mouth but with the purity of fruit retained all the way through, focused and poised. Exquisite. 18.5 

Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos 2004 ****

Very deep in colour; rich and plummy, opulent in style, still with plenty more to give; reflected on the palate, rich sweet and plummy, ripe tannic backbone, rising through to the finish.  17

Croft Quinta da Roeda 2004 ****

Another very deep, dark wine, just starting to turn on the rim; lovely, expressive floral aromas, mint, esteva (gum cistus) too; open, opulent plummy with a touch of clove. Plump with ripe broad tannins right the way through to the finish. Very impressive.  18

Dow’s Quinta Senhora da Ribeira 2004 **** / *****

Very deep in colour; still closed but suave, dense, brooding cassis fruit underlying; very fine, pure, minty berry fruit, ripe and already delicious, ripe tannins leading on to the finish with that cassis fruit coming back for a final flourish. A wow of a wine. 18.5

Fonseca Quinta do Panascal 2004 ****

Very deep youthful colour; slightly hot, touch of Bovril on the nose at this stage, more to give; solid foursquare, dark chocolate character, big and very impressive, well-structured  and complete with a streak of fresh fruity acidty running all the way through to the finish.  17.5

Quinta do Vesúvio 2004 ****

Deep and youthful in appearance; ripe, perhaps a touch cooked and baked on the nose initially but opening up to reveal plums and cassis; very full, ripe and opulent in style, tight-knit, powerful tannins with a peacock’s tail of a finish. 17


Location: Dick's Bar, The Yeatman Hotel, Vila Nova de Gaia


19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty