Port 2017: A Superlative Vintage




 

“In my 25 years as a winemaker in our family vineyards, I have never seen a year like this. We have made some really remarkable wines.” - Charles Symington

“At a time when out of the ordinary years are all put down to climate change, it is comforting to read Dick Yeatman’s 1945 Harvest Report and see an almost identical season to 2017. Let us hope the Ports from the 2017 harvest also follow the quality of those from 1945.” David Fonseca Guimaraens

It is our pleasure to offer the superlative 2017 Port Vintage. A rare occurrence in Porto, 2016 and 2017 are the first widely declared consecutive vintages since 1934 and 1935. It is no secret that quality is outstanding, but volumes are down with significantly lower yields than in 2016. Symington Family Estates, which includes Dow, Graham, Warre and Cockburn, was the first to declare the vintage. As Charles Symington says in his vintage report: “I have never seen a year like this. We have made some really remarkable wines.” Demand is sure to be high.

The 2017 vintage enjoyed excellent conditions: well-distributed rainfall early on followed by dry heat (the hottest June since 1980) and, somewhat unusual for the Douro, an early harvest in August with perfect temperature conditions. As David Fonseca Guimaraens points out, The concentration of the grapes together with the high sugar levels produced Ports with very high colour intensity and dense firm tannins.” The correlation of temperature and rainfall is similar to the legendary 1945 vintage, which has drawn enthusiastic comparisons. Low yields and high sugar levels will no doubt make this one of the most long-lived Port vintages of recent times.

James Suckling is the first major critic to have tasted the vintage, with very high scores across the board.  He is yet to taste the Fladgate Ports (Taylor, Fonseca and Croft).
 

Dow's 2017

£330 per 6 bottles in Bond

Pure grape aromas that remind me of fermenting must but then goes to stems and dried flowers. Full-bodied, medium sweet with fine-grained tannins that coat your palate. Powerful and muscular yet remains agile and beautiful. Grows on your palate. Wonderful ripe fruit in the middle palate. Try after 2030
98 Points, James Suckling

 

Graham's 2017

£330 per 6 bottles in Bond

Wow! Amazing aromas of crushed blackberry and blueberry, stems and rose petal. Entrancing. Full-bodied, very tight and powerful with ultra-fine tannins. Intense richness of crushed berries, chocolate, hazelnut and coffee. 5,250 cases. Try after 2026. 
97 Points, James Suckling

 

Taylor's 2017

£325 per 6 Bottles in Bond

Opaque black at the centre with a narrow purple rim. Uncompromisingly Taylor’s in style, elegant and precise. The nose is threaded with very fine, linear fruit, heady and complex but restrained by a graphite minerality. Quinta da Vargellas has imprinted its signature fragrance of violets, which hangs like a scented veil over the wine, and there are discreet terroir notes of citrus, wild herbs and gumcistus. The nose is still reserved and discreet but there is impressive depth and background, as well as hints of complexities still to emerge with time. The palate is held in place by lithe, muscular tannins, firm and grippy on the finish, and ends with a powerful surge of crisp, pure berry fruit. A beautifully delineated wine, with the hallmark Taylor’s poise and definition and the tantalising promise of pleasures still to come. 
Producer’s Vintage Report

 

Fonseca 2017

£320 per 6 bottles in Bond

A narrow magenta ring around a core of inky purple black. The nose opens with a burst of dark, woodland fruit, dense and succulent, blended with fresher, more vibrant red berry

aromas. A slatey minerality holds this exuberant fruitiness in check. At this stage, the nose is still reserved and discreetly aromatic, revealing leafy, balsamic scents and cedary notes of sawn wood. The first impression on the palate, as on the nose, is of tightly packed, dense dark berry fruit, which then explodes on the mid-palate and surges into the long finish. The texture is round and velvety but the taut, sinewy tannins and a strand of crisp acidity provide firmness and structure. The layered, complex fruit typical of Fonseca holds sway over this weighty, powerful wine. 
Producer’s Vintage Report

 

Quinta do Vesuvio 2017

£270 per 6 bottles in Bond

Finished aromas of crushed berry, graphite and stone. Full body, very sweet with a tangy almost sweet and sour character. Distinct flavors of dried oranges and dark berries. Medium tannin structure. Very ripe yet fresh. Try in 2025. 
95 Points, James Suckling

 

Warre's 2017

£270 per 6 bottles in Bond

Loads of wet earth and grape aromas with hints of stems. Old vine aromas of bark and moss. Full-bodied, sweet and structured with a big kick on the end. Very impressive. Exceptional layers of fruit and energy. A stronger and more musfonsecacular Warre. 3,600 cases. Try after 2028. 
98 Points, James Suckling

 

Cockburn's 2017

£240 per 6 bottles in Bond

Insane aromas of crushed berry, flowers and lifted ester like a fermenting lager. Full body, tannic yet so finely grained in texture. Extremely long and beautiful. It goes on for minutes. 2,500 cases. Try in 2026. 
98 Points, James Suckling

 

Croft 2017

£240 per 6 bottles in Bond

Dense inky core fading to a magenta rim. A seductive Croft nose, ripe and voluptuous but with the depth and density characteristic of the 2017 vintage. As usual, plump, juicy blackcurrant, black cherry and raspberry form the backdrop. However, the nose is soon drawn into a vortex of heady, complex aroma in which resiny scents of eucalyptus and gumcistus blend with pungent notes of sage and mint, fresh hints of grapefruit and a mellow spiciness. On the palate, firm, sinewy tannins are wrapped in a thick envelope of dense, velvety texture. As is often the case, this is one of the most exotic and beguiling wines of the vintage. However, it is also a weighty wine, dense and deeply coloured, with the concentration and stamina to ensure a long life in bottle. One of the finest Croft Vintages of recent years. 
Producer’s Vintage Report

 

Taylor's Vargellas Vinha Velha 2017

£375 per 3 bottles in Bond

Impenetrable ruby black core and narrow purple rim. As usual with the Vargellas Vinha Velha, the nose is beautifully balanced and complete, revealing multiple layers and dimensions of aroma as it opens up in the glass. The base is a coulis of dense, dark berries, with brambly woodland fruit, cassis and black cherry aromas. The voluptuous richness of the fruit is tempered by an attractive flinty, mineral edge and the discreet pungency of wild herbs and cedar wood. As the wine evolves, evocative aromas emerge, such as beeswax, leather and cigar box, like the unexpected resonances of an antique instrument. The palate is supported by thick granular tannins and is packed with dense black and red berry fruit flavour that rises in a crescendo on the finish. A wine of majestic scale and proof, if any were needed, that 2017 was an exceptional year for old vines. 
Producer’s Vintage Report

 

Croft Serikos 2017

£300 per 3 bottles in bond

Inky black centre in a slender ring of deep purple. The nose opens with a dazzling peacock’s tail of scents and aromas. The rich, ripe fruit, which is a consistent feature of the wines of Quinta da Roêda, has developed a kaleidoscopic complexity, crisp red berry aromas blending with ripe, succulent black fruits and a fresh grapiness. The signature Roêda eucalyptus and rock rose scents merge with hints of crushed mint, fresh citrus notes and a pot-pourri of savoury herbs and dried rose petal. The wine opens a treasure chest of surprising nuances as it develops in the glass. On the palate the wine is thick, dense and silky, packed with opulent fruit and supported by a mesh of tightly-woven tannins. This magnificent expression of the oldest vineyard plots at Quinta da Roêda showcases the old vines’ remarkable qualities and their ability to open doors on unexpected new dimensions of aroma. 
Producer’s Vintage Report

 

Capela do Vesuvio 2017

£249 per 3 bottles in bond

This is an old-vine Port with two-thirds coming from ancient ones. Bark, black tea, crushed grapes and mahogany. Big and grippy. Old, traditional styled Port with incredible depth and power. Big yet polished tannins. This is foot-trodden. Co-fermented. Real deal. 470 cases. Try after 2030. 
99 Points, James Suckling


Quinta do Noval 2017

£300 per 6 bottles in bond

Big grip in this wine with dark blackberries, blueberries and floral notes. Fine tannins. Ripe but sweet and pretty. Shows a lovely finish. Try after 2027. 

97 Points, James Suckling

  

Please contact clients@armitwines.co.uk if you are interested in any of these fantastic ports we have to offer.

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