2016 Vintage Ports II

The following samples of 2016 vintage Port have been sent to me since the early summer months and I have held on to them for tasting in the cooler weather. I have tasted most of the wine on previous occasions but not always in the best or easiest of circumstances. On this occasion I allowed the wines to open up over a day or so and it was fascinating to see some of the wines wax (or wane) in the glass.   The wines were presented blind and are listed in the order that they were tasted. 

Kopke  2016 **/***

Produced from 60% old, mixed vines from Quinta de São Luiz and 40% Touriga Nacional:  deep ruby in colour though paler that some in this line up (which may be accounted for by the relatively high percentage of old vines); fragrant, open brambly fruit though seemingly quite loose knit; soft and sweet initially with some firm tannins building in the mouth, light-to-middle weight with a fresh berry fruit finish on where the alcohol shows through. Drink from 2024 – 2035.  14.5 

Churchill 2016 ***

Big, ripe, heady, spirity and rather jammy aromas, bold, verging on overripe yet with a green edge; rich, full and fleshy in style, the fruit is hefty and rather coarse and jammy, big ripe tannins, rich and satisfying, but not showing a great deal of finesse at this stage.   2,000 cases produced. 15.5

Burmester 2016 ***

A 50/50 blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca from Quinta do Arnozelo in the Douro Superior: ripe and exuberant on the nose, rather medicinal berry on the palate, backed by firm tannins which build on to the finish. Rather disjointed. Middle weight/middle distance wine. 2028 – 2040. 15 

Cálem 2016 **/***

From quintas in the Douro Superior; 30% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz and 10% Sousão: deep, dense and quite closed in on the nose; similarly dense on the palate, full of ripe berry fruit but with a very slightly damp, casky undertone, full flavoured but rather disjoined, ripe tannins and a full rather spirit finish. 2028 – 2040. 14.5 

Quinta da Romaneira 2016 ***

Open, fragrant with minty ripeness on the nose; bitter-sweet cherry fruit, fresh vibrant, already approachable with a green edge, quite soft and a bit simple in this company, soft tannins. Lovely now (if you like your Port young), to drink over the next fifteen to twenty years. 16 

Cruz 2016 **/***

Aromas of sweet vanilla, soft berry fruit, fresh and attractive, very straightforward, simple without a great deal of structure or depth. Mid-weight. Drink over the short to medium term. 14.5       

Quinta do Ventozelo 2016  

A smell of damp wood on the nose; firm and well integrated on the palate but on the lean side, especially towards the finish, again marred by a touch of casky wood flavour. May be a poor sample but I fear it is the style of the wine .     

Ferreira ****

From Quinta do Porto and Quinta do Caêdo, a blend of 45% Touriga Franca, 40% Touriga Nacional, 10% Tinta Roriz and 5% Sousão: dense, closed at the outset a touch floral, with lovely pure ripe bramble fruit underlying, emerging both on the nose and on the palate, quite tight knit with seamless fine grained tannins on the finish, leaner and more restained in style than some but showing great promise for the medium to long term. 2030 onwards.  Just 10,000 bottles declared. 17

Sandeman 2016 ****

Grapes originating from Quinta do Seixo and Quinta do Vau, a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz 5% Tinto Cão and 5% Sousão: closed and dense on the nose, a touch of tar, muscular in the mouth, still tight knit with the powerful spicy, dry tannins that seem to have become the hallmark of Sandeman in recent vintages. At this stage the tannins dominate the fruit. Serious vintage Port, not as overwhelmingly extractive as some previous years and well balanced for a long future.  Just 10,000 bottles declared. Drink from 2032 +. 17.5

Quinta do Noval 2016 ****/*****

Restrained opulence and ripeness on the nose, lovely sweet, minty berry fruit, perhaps just a touch raisiny with dark chocolate concentration at its core, quite rich and fleshy in style, backed by firm, ripe tannins. All there, not a very big wine but beautifully balanced for the long haul. Drink from 2032 +.  18.5

Dalva 2016 ***/****

Restrained on the nose, lovely purity of fruit emerging both on the nose and in the mouth, well defined, fresh, ripe cherry fruit backed by firm tannins. Should develop very well over the medium term. 2028 – 2040. + 16.5  

Barros ***

From Quinta de Galeira, a property that I must admit I have never heard of, in the Douro Superior, a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Roriz, 20% Touriga Nacional and 10% Tinta Barroca: ripe plum and berry fruit both on the nose and on the palate with an austere green edge emerging, together with a touch of cardboard, plump in style, backed by ripe tannins and a stocky finish. Relatively inexpensive at €17 ex-cellars.  Drink over the medium term: 2026 – 2040.  16   


Offley **** 

Based on grapes from Quinta do Sairrão in the upper Torto valley with grapes from other growers in the Pinhão area, a blend of 45% Touriga Franca, 45% Touriga Nacional and 10% Tinta Roriz: demure on the nose, tight knit and not that expressive initially, taking  a long time to emerge, a big wine with a lovely dark chocolate core, stocky tannins building in the mouth, leading to a ‘wow’ of a finish,. Tasted twice and impressive on both occasions. 18  20,000 bottles. Drink from 2028 onwards.       


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