A quick look at some top 2018 Vintage Ports

2018 is the third in a run of good vintages for Port, maybe fourth if you count 2015, too. So the old rather anglo tradition of ‘declaring’ a vintage is looking a bit antiquated now – there used to be three a decade, and for some houses we have had three in a row. I’ve had a chance to look at the following wines. Very different in style, they’ve all impressed.

Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port 2018 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol. This is amazingly good. Aromas of sweet black cherries, blackberries and some fine spices. Quite floral. There’s a hint of olive and cured meat, too. The palate is focused and bright, with raspberry and blackberry notes, as well as some grippy structure. Sweet, primary and quite intense, with nice tension between the sweetness and the structure. This is a really promising young vintage port with amazing potential for development. Pure, focused and direct, with nice grip. Has a supple, sweet mouthfeel, with some softness and richness. Ageing potential is medium term. 95/100

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2018 Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. This is dark, dense and concentrated. It has bold, structured blackcurrant fruit with some floral black cherry notes. This has a fresh, slightly minty palate with focused, linear black fruits, showing good structure and density. There are some savoury, tarry, olive and herb notes here, providing a good counter to the sweet, linear fruit. Serious stuff with good potential for long ageing: this is pretty structured, but it also has lovely fruit and nice sweetness. 97/100

Dow’s Quinta Senhora da Ribeira Vintage Port 2018 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol. Fabulously floral and aromatic on the nose, with sweet cherry fruit and some blackcurrant hints. Very pure and enticing. The palate is vivid and fresh with raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant notes, showing sweetness and lovely primary fruit. Very generous and textured with the tannins cloaked in sweet fruit. Pretty and quite elegant, and with a promising future ahead of it. 95/100

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2018 Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. This has a lovely, classic Vintage Port nose of sweet primary cherry and blackberry fruit with some floral overtones. The palate has nice brightness, with fresh cherry and berry fruits, a slight saltiness, good structure and a lovely focus to the fruit. It’s taut and compact at the moment, showing grippy tannins and fresh fruit flavours, and will likely age in a very elegant way, and will continue to develop for a long time. This is quite beautiful. 96/100

Sandeman Vintage Port 2018 Douro, Portugal
From the Sogrape stable. This is massively concentrated, but soft and very spicy, with lovely lush black cherry and blackberry fruit. Very rich, intense and – as I said earlier – extremely spicy, with even a hint of ginger. This is a wall of flavour, with bold fruit, sweetness and lovely weight, but also amazing structure. Such extraction of flavour in this very primary wine. Could age in really interesting ways. I’m pipping this as one of the surprises of the vintage. 96/100

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