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Port houses join Symington in declaring 2016 vintage

Published:  12 April, 2018

Quinta do Noval and Quinta do Romaneira are the latest Port houses to declare 2016 a vintage year, following the lead of top Port house Symington Family Estates.

The former has declared a classic vintage Port under the Quinta do Noval name for 2016 as well as a Nacional Vintage Port 2016, made from one small parcel.

Its wines are brought to the UK via Gonzalez Byass.

Quinta da Romaneira meanwhile has declared Quinta da Romaneira 2016 Vintage Port to be “one of the most thrilling wines we have produced at the estate since its acquisition in 2004”, according to managing director Christian Seely.

The move from the producers, which are both helmed by Seely, follows a widespread declaration by Symington Family Estates across all of its houses, including Cockburn’s, Dow’s, Graham’s and Warre’s, Quinta do Vesuvio and Smith Woodhouse, building yet more anticipation around the 2016 vintage.

Vintage years after are declared in the spring of the second year following harvest.

More are likely follow in the coming days, building up to April 23 (St George’s Day) which is the day that some Port houses, including Taylor's, have traditionally made their declarations.

Seely said: “Rumours of the exceptional quality of the 2016 wines have been circulating for some time, and with justification. The individual wines were wonderful, and we are sure that the final blend for our 2016 will be one of the great historic Vintage Ports of Quinta do Noval.

“In spite of the unusual and extreme climatic conditions of the year, the end result is of outstanding quality. The wines are balanced and fresh, with excellent structure, very intense bright fruit and aromatically very expressive.”

As MD of AXA Millésimes, subsidiary of French insurance group AXA, Seely is responsible for Quinta do Noval.

He is also managing director and part owner of Quinta da Romaneira in the Douro, which has undergone extensive rennovation since its acquisition in 2004.

The freedom to declare a vintage year lies with producers, who bestow the title to celebrate wines from outstanding years.

Declarations for Quintas, or individual plots, can also be declared to highlight the wines from single estates or vineyards in a particularly good year.

The Symington Family’s declaration earlier this week is only the fourth vintage declaration of all the family’s Port companies since 2000 and its first since 2011.

Vintage Port accounts for only a fraction of total Port production but continues to play an important role in highlighting top tier Port, with producers using vintage years as benchmarks of quality.