Highlights: Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port 1998 Douro, Portugal

Quinta do Vesuvio is one of the great Quintas of the Douro. It’s located in the Douro Superior (the wamer, drier section, up river from Pinhão, on the way to the Spanish border), 120 km east of Porto. The estate was developed in its current guise by António Bernardo Ferreira, who purchased it in 1823. His ambitions were such that this became the grandest Quinta of all in the Douro. António’s son inherited the estate; his wife was the famous Dona Antónia, who was widowed shortly after and went on to develop a grand portfolio of Douro properties.

The current fame of Vesuvio is down to the Symingtons (owners of the likes of Warre, Dow and Graham) who purchased the property in 1989. They have redeveloped it somewhat and expanded the vineyard holdings to some 130 hectares. The focus of Vesuvio is vintage Port. The grapes, however, are rigorously selected and only a proportion find their way into the Vintage Port; some are used for the Symington’s table wine projects. I’ve visited and have even foot-trodden grapes at Vesuvio!

This wine is now just over 21 years old and it’s quite lovely.

Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port 1998 Douro, Portugal
20% alcohol. At just over 21 years’ old this is in a beautiful place now: aromatic and fresh with cherries, blackberries, herbs and some spice. Supple and elegant on the palate with some nice green framing to the supple cherry and berry fruit, with a sleek fruit presence, some fine spices and hints of mint and earth. There’s a real harmony here: it’s developing very nicely with potential for further progression. I think this will gain in mellowness and harmony, and although it’s drinking very well now, there’s a lot of further upside. 94/100

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