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2000 Vintage Ports 

2000 was a really good vintage in the Douro, and looks likely to be the best vintage since 1994 Port. Yields were lower than in 1997, and this has resulted in good concentration in many of the wines.

I recently had a chance to taste nine wines from 2000 courtesy of UK supermarket Waitrose. These will be available by mail order and in the flagship Kingston and Canary Wharf stores for the indicated prices.

I was pretty impressed with the overall quality here. It’s quite tough to assess wines like these – designed for 15–20 years’ ageing – in their youth. Generally, it’s best to concentrate on the palate, because the nose will develop in bottle.

Wines that give too much away at an early stage may not last the course so well. Concentration, structure and balance are the three keys, along with the relative sweetness and personality of the wine. The wines tasted here had all been decanted some hours previously. One wine that would compete with the best here, but which wasn’t included in this selection, is the Niepoort Vintage 2000 – a stunning effort.

Quinta de Roriz 2000
A sizeable 150 ha property that has been owned by the Van Zeller family since 1815. This is an opaque colour, and is bold, rich and spicy, with lovely vivid fruit. There’s quite a bit of tannic structure and a fair bit of sweetness. A really lovely, well balanced wine. Very good/excellent 93/100

Quinta do Noval 2000
Sweetly fruited herb-tinged nose. Sweet herby palate with bold, firm tannins. Quite expressive. Very good/excellent 90/100

Quinta do Vesuvio 2000
Herbal, spicy nose with a leathery edge. Firm, spicy palate with good acidity and firm tannins. An expressive style. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£35)

Churchill 2000
This was slightly musty – it wasn’t clearly corked, but it wasn’t completely clean. Apparently this is consistent over a number of bottles (Waitrose held these tastings over a few weeks with fresh wines at each). I’d avoid if this is the case. (£40)

Dow 2000
An open, sweet herbal style. Ripe and rounded with some spicy structure, and noticeably sweeter than the other wines here. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£45)

Warre 2000
Rich, bold and spicy with firm tannins and great concentration. A rich, full wine of great balance and potential. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£45)

Graham 2000
Made with robotic lagares. Firm, taut spicy nose. Wonderful concentration and structure on the palate: a big, spicy, tannic style. Not overly sweet. Excellent 95/100 (£50)

Taylor 2000
Very tightly knit. Lots of fruit. Hugely concentrated with sweet ripe fruit and bold, spicy tannic structure. A huge wine showing impressive structure. Excellent 95/100 (£55)

Fonseca 2000
Smooth sweet fruit. Rich, with firm tannins and a tight structure at the moment. Quite lush. Intense and brilliantly balanced. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£55)

wines tasted October 2003

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