Quinta do Noval has joined Symington Family Estates in declaring the highly regarded Port 2016 vintage as expectations grow for a first general declaration since 2011.

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Quinta do Noval said this week that it was declaring its namesake vintage Port 2016 and also its Nacional vintage Port 2016.

Its move follows a widespread declaration by Symington Family Estates across all of its houses, including Cockburn’s, Dow’s, Graham’s and Warre’s, and will heighten anticipation around the Port 2016 vintage.

‘2016 is likely to be only the fourth fully declared vintage since 2000 and the first since the well received 2011s,’ said Richard Mayson, Port expert, author and regional chair for Port and Madeira at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

‘It is clearly an exceptional year when many growers took great risk to pick at the right time with some of the best grapes being harvested well into October,’ said Mayson.

Traditionally, Port houses declare a vintage on or around 23 April, which is St George’s Day in England; reflecting the country’s historical links to the Port industry.

Christian Seely, MD of Quinta do Noval, said of the 2016 declaration at his estate, ‘The individual wines were wonderful, and we are sure that the final blend for our 2016 will be one of the great historic Vintage Ports of Quinta do Noval.’

Some individual houses, such as Cockburn, declared their 2015 Port vintage, which was also warmly received by many producers and critics. Noval also declared a portion of its 2015 vintage.

But, several producers decided to hold back for a 2016 crop that was potentially even better.

‘The two years have clearly left the Port shippers with something of a dilemma,’ Mayson said.

Symington said that the 2016 vintage was wetter than normal, but this was countered by the hot Douro summer. The damp weather persisted through May, but was back to normal in June with August being particularly hot.

Extra reporting on Symington by Ellie Douglas.