Much of 2015 had the makings of a classic vintage in Port, but not all houses declared. Richard Mayson investigates the ups and downs and picks out some of his favourite wines from the sporadic declarations...

When an exceptional viticultural year comes to an end in the Douro valley, there is every prospect of a vintage declaration. As Paul Symington, chairman and joint managing director of the Symington Family Estates, wrote just as the last grapes were being picked, 2015 was such a year. His cousin and winemaker Charles added for good measure that 2015 ‘produced the best Touriga Franca grapes in memory’. But it turns out that ‘exceptional’ and the ‘best’ of the Douro’s most widely planted grape variety is not quite enough. Declared outright by a handful of shippers, 2015 has turned out to be one of those knife-edge, oh-so-nearly-but-not-quite years that punctuate more than two centuries of Port vintages.

So what happened in 2015 that prevented a more widespread declaration, and how good are those wines that have been declared?