2019 Vintage Ports - Part II

This is my second flight of wines from the 2019 Vintage, the fourth good year in a row of most Port shippers. Though not as widely declared as either 2016 or 2017 there are clearly some outstanding wines at Single Quinta level as well as a handful of classic declarations. 

For the benefit of those reading about the 2019s for the first time I will repeat the synopsis of the vintage from my last posting on the subject with a few extra comments from producers of the wines listed here.   The 2019 Ports are the result of an erratic growing season, with a little over 50% of the average winter rainfall and almost none during the summer months. However there was an absence of extreme heat: fortunately June temperatures were 4oC below average in the Douro Superior.  Light rain at the end of August, again on the equinox and then in mid-October swelled the grapes and contributed to even maturation. Lower than average temperatures during vintage helped to preserve freshness and definition in the grapes and allowed later ripening varieties to reach their full potential. The late ripening Touriga Franca grape (often not picked until well into October) performed particularly well. Yields were close to average in contrast with the small, concentrated years in 2017 and 2018.  The Symingtons picked grapes over six weeks – making this one of the longest harvests in recent years. The resulting wines are in Charles Symington’s words ‘lively and exuberant’ in contrast to the concentration from exceptionally small years in 2017 and 2018. Luís Sottomayor from Ferreira and Sandeman describes 2019 as ‘a very year with freshness and great balance’. Márcio Nobrega, Head of Viticulture at Sogevinus, also highlights the freshness of the year describing the wines as ‘aromatic with assertive tannins’.   For Christian Seely at Quinta do Noval, ‘the purity, complexity and character of the 2019s reflect these ideal conditions’. Noval also declared Quinta do Noval Nacional. Dirk Niepoort (who did not declare in 2018) is impressed by 2019 for ‘finesse, no exuberance and an overarching balance to the wine that will continue to develop for years to come.’ At the launch of his wine he compared the 2019 to 2000 (see earlier post on this website). 

The wines below are listed in the order that they were tasted (and retasted). 

Quinta do Passadouro 2019 ****

Now belonging to Noval, this is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz picked between 9th of September to 18th of October (The quinta ranges in altitude from 100 to 300 m above sea level. Deep, dense, ripe and plummy on the nose with more still to give; similarly rich, broad and plummy (with just a hint of stewed plums) on the palate, firm, fine grained, tannins rising in the mouth yielding to a soft yet spicy finish. Lovely vibrant middle-to-long-distance wine. 17.5
Quinta do Noval 2019 ****/*****

A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Cão, Sousão and Tinta Roriz, foot-trodden in time honoured fashion in granite lagares: deep opaque inky black hue; tight knit and unyielding with underlying minty ripeness on the nose; well-defined minty fruit with great purity and intensity on the palate, dark chocolate depth at the core, firm but ripe linear tannins with, long lovely freshness (the hallmark of this vintage) present on the finish. 2,780 cases representing 14% of the estate’s total production. 18.5   

Cálem 2019 ****

From the Douro Superior, a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, and Sousão: bright crimson in hue on the rim; open on the nose with lovely smoky-dusky black cherry fruit; sweet and succulent initially on the palate, nicely defined with gripping peppery tannins lingering on the fresh, berry fruit finish. 3992 bottles declared. 17.5

Barros 2019 ***/****

From the Baixo and and Cima Corgo, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz with a small percentage of Sousão: a bit subdued on the nose initially becoming floral and a touch balsamic as it opened up; attractive sweet berry fruit backed by dusty tannins leading to a rather angular finish, a bit skinny compared with some of the wines here. 4112 bottles declared. 16.5

Burmester Quinta do Arnozelo 2019 ***

From a property on the south bank of the river in the Douro Superior (formerly ascociated with Cálem), a blend of Touriga Nacional (picked first), Touriga Franca, then Tinta Roriz (picked last): lovely crimson hue; open, floral mid-weight with vibrant supported by grippy tannins. Lovely firm fruit showing elegance and definition on the finish. 6,591 bottles declared. 16

Kopke, Quinta de São Luíz 2019 ****

From Touriga Nacional from the lower and middle parcels on this estate in the Cima Corgo with a field blend of very old vines (over 80 years old); very deep in colour; rather sullen initially on the nose but with berry fruit and menthol ripeness opening up on the nose and on the palate, firm gripping tannins with a spicy, linear finish showing the vitality and freshness of the year. 4153 bottles declared. 17 

Sandeman, Quinta do Seixo 2019 ****

With a ‘significant proportion’ from a field of wines ‘over 100 years old’: deep and opaque, tight knit and a bit angular on the nose initially with ripe cherry fruit, underlying dark chocolate concentration, graphite and the merest hint of new wood (surely not?); lovely seamless cherry and dark berry fruit backed by dusty-spicy tannins leading to a big, bold black pepper finish. Long and full of vigour. 17.5

Ferreira, Quinta do Porto 2019 ****    

From predominantly south facing vineyards, again with a ‘significant proportion’ from a field of wines ‘over 100 years old’: deep and dense with big, brooding meaty weight on the nose and  palate, ripe berry / cassis-like fruit and minty ripeness supported by supple, chewy tannins which form a bold and seemingly dry finish. Lovely weight and depth. Impressive -  this should be a keeper. 18  


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