Two x 2014

Though challenging, the 2014 harvest in the north of Portugal was not the damp squib that it proved to be in the south.  After a wet winter, spring was mild and budburst was early. But the weather remained unsettled through the early part of the summer, with some vineyards suffering localized hail damage. In early July an unusually heavy rainstorm caused severe erosion and many farm tracks were blocked by rock falls. The remaining summer months were mild rather than hot but with the early budburst, picking began as early 11 September in parts of the Cima Corgo. Shortly after harvest began the weather broke and vintage became sowthing of a stop-start affair for the next two weeks. In general 2014 seems to have turned out much better than expected, especially as the rainfall during picking was uneven across the region.  As most of the old vineyards that produce the best Ports are picked first (many before the rain), 2014 has produced some rather promising vintage Ports. 

Churchill 2014 ***/****

Good deep youthful colour; semi-open, ripe liquorice and cherry fruit character with a touch of esteva (gum cistus) on the nose; soft and suave initially with firm tannins rising in the mouth, mid-weight and well focused with a sinewy tannic structure all the way through to the finish. A lovely wine for the mid-term. 16.5

Quinta do Noval 2014 ****

Very deep, opaque ‘black’ colour; heady, ripe  liquorice and dark chocolate on the nose; plump fruit backed by full, ripe tannins, quite fleshy in style but just stops short of opulence. Very pure berry fruit character which extends long after the tannins have subsided on the finish.  Lovely balance.  Expect this to be a keeper. 18   

Scoring

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