Several Port houses, including the Symington and Sogrape brands as well as Niepoort, have declared the 2007 vintage. Others are expected to follow.
Despite a challenging growing season with a drier than average winter, and cool, damp late spring, the vintage was saved by a dry August, which although also cool, allowed the fruit to mature properly.
‘The vintage is very, very good,’ Dirk Niepoort told decanter.com.
‘It’s less structured, and less powerful than 2003, for example, but more delicate and harmonious, and will live a long time.’
Johnny Symington of Dow’s said the cooler conditions led to ‘one of the best years we have seen for Touriga Nacional’ – which suffers if exposed to excessive heat. The final blend will reflect this with over half comprising this varietal.
Sogrape Vinhos has declared its 2007 Sandeman, Offley and Ferreira.
‘The wines are showing a wonderful quality, assuring a long life and great evolution – precisely what you expect from vintage Porto,’ said winemaker Luís Sottomayor.
Adrian Bridge, managing director of the Fladgate Partnership – Taylor’s, Fonseca, Croft and Delaforce – said he was pleased with the quality of the ports but would not say whether they would be declared, as the partners traditionally declare on 23 April (St George’s Day).
Likewise, Christian Seely, managing director of Quinta do Noval, said Noval has not yet declared.
Vintage Port can only be declared with the authorisation of the Instituto do Vinho Porto (IVP), the regulatory body. Producers must wait a least a year following the harvest in order to assess both the wine’s characteristics and the quantity as there must be sufficient stock. In the second year, the wine is sent to the IVP for approval of the quality and the quantity to be released.
When pressed, Niepoort said he might compare 2007 with 1994.
‘But I don’t necessarily think anyone will agree with me.’
Written by Maggie Rosen