The Fladgate Partnership, which owns Taylor’s, Croft’s and Fonseca, has declared they will release vintage ports from all three houses from the 2009 vintage.
This is the fourth declaration of the decade, following three declarations in the 1990s. Despite it being a year in which not all houses have declared (Taylors were vindicated by their decision to declare in 1992), for the Fladgate Partnership it looks to be producing very decent wines indeed, with lots of rich, concentrated fruit, good acidity and plentiful muscular tannins that will ensure great longevity in the wines.
‘We haven’t seen colour intensity and tannic grip like this in over 20 years’ said head winemaker David Guimaraens. ‘The quality of fruit is also impressive and the wines have excellent acidity.’
‘When we first tasted these wines I thought “great tannins but where’s the fruit?”‘ CEO Adrian Bridge told Imbibe. ‘Then it opened up, and we now have lots of this beautiful, dense fruit’. In comparing the 09s with the 07s, Bridge pointed to the beautiful, pure fruit of the cooler 07 vintage before saying, ‘The 09s are bigger wines, with bigger tannins and more intensity of fruit’.
The dryness of the 2009 summer produced not just higher tannins but significantly lower yields. The challenge was controlling the temparatures both in the vineyard and the winery, and ensuring the grapes were not overextracted and had good acidity. Older vines did well (hence a small quantity of rare vinha velha was produced at Vargellas), and those that picked early were rewarded.
Prices for Fladgate’s 2009s will be in line with the 2007 vintage.