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Port vintage guide: 2000-2022

Learn about vintage Port with Decanter’s comprehensive guide to vintages back to 2000. Port expert Richard Mayson gives an expert summary of each year, with recommended wines and tips on whether to keep or drink each vintage.

Do you want to find out which was the best recent vintage from the Douro Valley? Or maybe you’re keen to know which vintages are drinking well now? Our Port vintage guide has you covered.

Looking for older vintages? Read Decanter’s Port Vintage Guide: 1960-1999


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2020

Keep

Early days, but a smattering of classic declarations and some promising single-quinta wines. Drink from 2038-2060, SQVPs from 2030.

Vintage summary

The year of the Covid pandemic: excellent wines produced in minute quantities. After three dry winters in a row, rain fell in 2019 and 2020. A warm spring with more rainfall ensured sufficient ground water for the rest of the growing season. Yields were already looking small when temperatures spiked in late June and July (the hottest July since 1931 when records began). August was milder and ripening was even and rapid. This led to an early harvest when all the grape varieties seemed to ripen at the same time. There was little or no foot treading due to social distancing.

2020 produced a smattering of classic declarations along with some promising single-quinta vintage Ports (SQVPs) mostly held back for later release. The best wines are aromatic, concentrated and surprisingly fresh, despite the heat. It will be interesting to see how they evolve.

Best wines

  • Churchill
  • Graham
  • Kopke
  • Quinta de Ervamoira
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional
  • Warre Vinhas Velhas

2019


Keep

Fresher wines than 2018 and 2017. Some very good single-quinta wines. Drink from 2035-2060. SQVPs from 2030.

Vintage summary

An erratic growing season which came good in the end. After a dry winter and almost no rain over the summer months, the year was saved by the complete absence of extreme heat. Light rain at the end of August, again on the equinox and finally in mid-October, helped to swell the grapes and contributed to even ripening. The late-ripening Touriga Franca grape (often not picked until well into October) performed particularly well. Picking took place over six weeks, making this one of the longest harvests in recent years – in complete contrast to 2020.

The resulting wines are fresh and exuberant in contrast to the concentration from the two previous years. A few classic declarations, as well as some very good single-quinta wines.

Best wines

  • Niepoort
  • Quinta do Crasto
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional
  • Quinta do Porto
  • Quinta do Vesúvio
  • Quinta dos Malvedos
  • Quinta Senhora da Ribeira

For a more detailed report see Port 2019: Vintage guide and what to buy 


2018


Keep

Early days as yet, but a good growing season should produce some promising single-quinta wines. Drink from 2032-2060. SQVPs from 2028.

Vintage summary

The fourth good year in a row, though more patchy than 2017. After 22 months of drought, a wet spring helped to restore some soil moisture. This was followed by summer heat waves with temperatures rising to 45℃ in parts of the Douro Superior. Conditions seemed to suit wines from the Douro Superior: the late-ripening Touriga Franca grape lent wines freshness and definition.

There were classic declarations from a number of leading shippers including Taylor’s, which made an unprecedented third declaration in succession. Luis Sottomayor, winemaker for Sogrape (Ferreira, Sandeman and Offley) was effusive. ‘2018 is one of the best, if not the best vintage I have witnessed,’ he said. The best wines seem to offer ripeness, concentration and freshness in almost equal measure. There are some excellent single-quinta wines, some still to be released.

Best wines

  • Fonseca Guimaraens
  • Ferreira
  • Quinta dos Malvedos
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Vesúvio
  • Sandeman
  • Taylor

For a more detailed report see Port 2018: Vintage guide and what to buy 

River valley with vineyards

The Douro Valley, Portugal


2017


Keep

A magnificent vintage, generally declared hard on the heels of 2016. Rich, powerful wines balanced by unusual freshness and verve. Drink from 2035-2070.

Vintage summary

Following on from 2007, 1997, 1977, 1947 and 1927, it seems there is a lucky ring to the number seven… 2017 was the driest year since 1945, another outstanding year to which the shippers made a direct comparison. But it was not especially hot. The heat came early in the growing season and after a major storm in early July the weather calmed down, which produced even ripening across the region. It was an abnormally early harvest and with low yields, it was all over by the end of September – the time when picking was just about starting back in the 1970s.

Generally declared, the best wines are characterised by ripeness and concentration backed by wonderful vibrancy and freshness. 2017 has all the makings of an outstanding vintage.

Best wines

  • Cockburn
  • Dow
  • Fonseca
  • Graham
  • Graham’s The Stone Terraces
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional
  • Quinta de la Rosa
  • Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha
  • Serikos
  • Taylor
  • Warre

For a more detailed report see Port 2017: Vintage guide and what to buy


2016


Keep

Generally declared. Structured, well-balanced wines. Drink from 2025-2050 and over the long term.

Vintage summary

With five years having lapsed since the last widely declared Port vintage (2011), the generally declared 2016s were well-received. The year began with a warm, wet winter. It was followed by a cold, wet spring, which reduced yields and made for concentration in the wines. The summer months were hot and dry with a heatwave in August lasting into early September. Rain in late August and again in mid-September helped to put things back on track.

This was an early harvest but some picked too early. A few wines taste both green and raisiny at the same time. 2016 was an easy vintage to taste at the time of declaration, with wonderful up-front fruit evident both on the nose and on the palate. Many wines will be good to drink relatively early but the best (those with underlying structure and solidity) will keep.

Best wines

  • Capela da Quinta do Vesúvio
  • Cockburn
  • Dow
  • Fonseca
  • Graham Graham’s The Stone Terraces
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional
  • Quinta do Vesúvio
  • Taylor
  • Warre

For a more detailed report see Port 2016: Vintage guide and what to buy


Know your Port styles

Seasonal Ports: 15 to try this winter

Video: How to decant vintage Port


2015


Keep

A limited declaration resulting in mostly single-quinta wines. Drink from 2030-2045 plus. SQVPs from 2025.

Vintage summary

A hot year declared as a vintage by a handful of shippers, with the majority opting for single-quinta or second label wines. At Symington’s Quinta do Vesúvio in the Douro Superior it was ‘simultaneously the hottest and driest growing season for 36 years’ according to the shipper. But 2015 proved to be wonderful for the Touriga Franca grape, a variety that enjoys heat and is generally picked late. Yields were low and those who waited to harvest produced more structured wines showing ripeness and concentration.

For Dirk Niepoort 2015 was ‘as perfect as it gets’ – both Niepoort and Ramos Pinto declared in preference to 2016. Others clearly felt something was lacking. So apart from a handful of classic declarations, this is a single-quinta year with some outstanding wines, the best of which will stand the test of time.

Best wines

  • Cockburn
  • Fonseca Guimareans
  • Graham’s The Stone Terraces
  • Niepoort
  • Niepoort Bioma
  • Quinta de Vargellas
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Vesúvio
  • Quinta Senhora da Ribeira
  • Ramos Pinto

For a more detailed report see Port 2015: Vintage guide and what to buy


2014


Keep

A challenging growing season. The wines have generally turned out much better than expected at the outset. Good in parts. Drink 2025-2040.

Vintage summary

The weakest year in a very strong decade for vintage Port. The weather remained unsettled through the early part of the summer, with some vineyards suffering localised hail damage. The rest of the summer was mild but shortly after picking began in mid-September, the weather broke and the harvest became a stop-start affair to avoid the rain.

Noval declared. The wines have generally turned out much better than expected at the outset.

Best wines

  • Churchill
  • Quinta do Noval

2013


Keep

A good year for single-quinta Ports. Drink 2023-2040.

Vintage summary

After a wet winter and a cool spring, the growing season was slow to start. Almost no rain fell in June, July and August but summer overall was only marginally warmer than average. The harvest began quite late and at the start some excellent wines were made, especially in the Douro Superior. However at the end of September the weather broke and it rained on and off, forcing many to pick earlier than planned.

‘We narrowly missed out on an exceptional vintage,’ said one winemaker. A good single-quinta vintage, especially in the Douro Superior which escaped the September rain. Noval and Poças declared.

Best wines

  • Fonseca Guimaraens
  • Quinta de Vargellas
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Seixo
  • Quinta do Vesúvio
  • Quinta dos Canais
  • Quinta Senhora da Ribeira

2012


Keep

Low yields, wines with freshness and aromatic intensity. A good single-quinta vintage. Just about ready to drink now until 2045.

Vintage summary

A challenging year helped by naturally low yields. A wet spring was followed by intense heat in June and a more moderate summer. Hail caused localised damage in July. Rain interrupted the harvest, but with yields as much as 50% below average, 2012 produced some fine, concentrated wines.

Not generally declared but some very good single-quinta wines. Noval declared.

Best wines

  • Fonseca Guimaraens
  • Quinta da Roeda
  • Quinta de Vargellas
  • Quinta do Noval
Vineyards

Croft’s Quinta da Roeda


2011


Keep

Universally declared, outstanding wines with poise and finesse that will keep for life. Drink 2030-2060 and over the long term.

Vintage summary

A challenging year for growers but a dream for winemakers. The winter of 2010/11 was wet, followed by an early warm, dry spring. Rain in April and May reduced yields. Then there was a spike of extreme heat at the end of June which literally scorched some exposed grapes. The summer continued dry but not unduly hot. Perfectly timed rain in late August and early September helped to swell the grapes and set the scene for a perfect harvest. No rain fell for another five weeks. The aromas coming from the lagares were magnificent from the start and good wines were made throughout the Douro from the beginning to end of harvest.

It came as no surprise when the 2011s were universally declared in early 2013. These are wines characterised by their structure, ripeness and expression of fruit, backed by broad, fine-grained tannins. This was the first year when major houses also declared tiny quantities of super-premium, site-specific wines.

Best wines

  • Capaela do Vesúvio
  • Cockburn
  • Croft
  • Dow
  • Fonseca
  • Graham
  • Graham’s The Stone Terraces
  • Niepoort
  • Niepoort Bioma
  • Poças
  • Quinta da Romaneira
  • Quinta de la Rosa
  • Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional
  • Ramos Pinto
  • Taylor
  • Warre

For a more detailed report see Port 2011: Vintage guide and what to buy


2010


Drink

An uneven year with generally high yields, in which old vines produced some powerful single-quinta wines that are drinking well now and until 2035.

Vintage summary

An uneven year with heavy winter rain followed by a hot, dry summer. With heavy yields, grapes struggled to ripen and the harvest was a prolonged, stop-start affair due to rain.

No declaration but there are some lovely, soft, fragrant single-quinta Ports for relatively early drinking.

Best wines

  • Quinta do Bomfim
  • Quinta dos Canais
  • Quinta dos Malvedos

2009


Keep

A hot year producing ripe, opulent wines. Drink 2030-2050 and over the long term. SQVPs are already good to drink.

Vintage summary

A year that divided opinions: the growing season began early and stayed ahead all the way through to an early harvest. The summer was hot and dry to the start of picking, which produced grapes with huge ripeness and concentration. The resulting wines are dense and opulent, reflecting the hot year.

There was a limited declaration: Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft declared, as well as Warre’s. Other shippers opted for a single-quinta vintage.

Best wines

  • Croft
  • Fonseca
  • Quinta de Ervamoira
  • Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha
  • Quinta dos Canais
  • Quinta Senhora da Ribeira
  • Taylor
  • Warre
Wine barrel

Taylor’s Port cellars


2008


Drink

Small harvest produced some outstanding single-quinta wines that are ready to drink now or keep. Noval declared.

Vintage summary

After a dry winter, double rations of rain drenched the Douro throughout April. The damp, stormy weather encouraged mildew, while low May temperatures delayed flowering. Fruit set was low and patchy. Cool, dry weather continued throughout June and July, and the usual intense heat of August never materialised. Instead of the hot, dry winds from the Spanish plain – the usual scenario – later summer was cooled further by damp Atlantic breezes.

The unseasonal temperatures postponed ripening. Although early September rain ushered in a very warm period to kick-start sugar accumulation, by mid-month the port grapes still weren’t ready. A dreary long-range outlook had some growers panic-picking– unfortunate, since others enjoyed perfect harvest weather (23 September to mid-October) and could pick well-ripened berries more judiciously. The yield was low and harvested fruit healthy, with soft, thinnish skins as a result of the cooler temperatures. The pressings soon revealed a fine acidity and lovely aromas.

On St George’s Day the following April, as is traditional, the vintage was declared by the major port house, although uniquely for single quintas. These vary from lighter, less imposing styles – but nonetheless ripe and luxuriant – like Dow’s Quinta Senhora de Ribeira to richer, rounded and silkier offerings such as Taylor’s highly-rated Terra Feita. Good grip, finish and ripe fruit will be hallmarks. General quality will of course be quite varied: those who brought in under-ripe fruit will have struggled to make wines of sufficient power and richness.

Best wines

  • Guimaraens
  • Quinta da Roeda
  • Quinta de Terra Feita
  • Quinta de Vargellas
  • Quinta do Panascal
  • Quinta do Vesuvio
  • Senhora de Ribeira

2007


Keep

Widely declared. A relatively cool growing season produced wines with great purity and definition for drinking over the medium- to long-term. Drink from now.

Vintage summary

Apart from a dry January, winter was wet and the water table amply replenished for the season ahead. There were few early spring frosts and bud-burst came early, at the beginning of a sunny March. Unsettled weather in May disrupted fruit set in some locations and the overall yield is down. June and July remained unsettled, delaying the onset of ripening and exacerbating anxieties over mildew. Grapes remained green right into August, though mercifully the weather was now much drier and ripening was able to pick up pace. In September the temperatures soared and ripening was continuous and consistent right up until harvesting began – around 10 days later than usual, at the end of September. Picking continued into October under clear, blue skies.

These aren’t blockbuster Ports – the vintage wasn’t hot enough for that – but are instead very elegant wines with a subtle power of their own. Fragrant too – intense violet and raspberry aromas are typical. The cooler than usual summer promoted superb acidity and also good colour extraction thanks to the grapes’ soft skins. Tannins are distinctive: fine yet sweet and rich, and the vintage should be exceptionally long-lived (15+ years). Touriga Nacional grapes in particular benefited from the vintage’s more temperate ripening conditions, while the Barocca struggled a little to reach its rich full potential.

Best wines

  • Dow’s
  • Fonseca
  • Gould Campbell
  • Graham
  • Quinta de la Rosa
  • Quinta do Vesuvio
  • Quinto do Noval
  • Quinta do Vale Meao
  • Taylor

2006


Drink

Variable year. Some good single-quinta wines for the medium term, especially from the Douro Superior.

Vintage summary

Heavy winter rains replenished the drought-exhausted water table, while bud-burst began early April (later than usual). Good weather followed and flowering took place during the hottest May in 40 years. Strong winds in late May reduced fruit set in higher vineyards. Temperatures steadily increased until a severe hailstorm hit vineyards in the Pinhão and the Rio Torto valleys in the middle of June. Several vineyards lost up to 30% of the crop. A hot July followed, superseded by a cooler August and some very welcome rain indeed. More hot weather late August and early September caused some raisining and crop reduction in exposed vineyards. Picking began mid-September just ahead of an unsettled spell, though dry winds helped keep the grapes healthy.

Yields were down almost everywhere by at least 15%; in some places the Barroca yield was more than halved. The thicker-skinned Touriga Nacional and Franca varieties reacted best to the heat –  the Touriga Nacional in particular had the potential to produce wonderfully complex and aromatic wines with an impressive depth of black fruit. Average quality is good to very good, but there are some very fine examples to be found.

Best wines

  • Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira
  • Quinta de Roriz
  • Quinta do Portal
  • Quinta do Vesuvio
Vineyards

Touriga Nacional vines at Quinta de Roriz


2005


Drink

A year of severe drought. Powerful, concentrated single-quinta wines and a handful of outright declarations.

Vintage summary

With only 6mm of rain in June and none at all in July and August, the vines were showing signs of severe stress at the end of August. Vines located in high areas as well as old vines with deep roots produced the best grapes as they were able to best deal with the dry weather. Disease was not be a factor this year due to the exceptionally dry weather. Good flowering and fruit-set earlier played a key role in maintaining yields despite the drought. On 6 September the weather changed and a steady rain fell for several hours. The rain was followed by clear skies. Afterwards there was absolutely perfect weather with cool nights and some heavy dew. The harvesting weather could not have been better.


2004


Drink

A successful single-quinta year, well-balanced wines mostly ready to drink now until 2030.

Vintage summary

The growing season was extraordinary, with wet weather at the end of 2003 and an incredibly dry start to 2004. At Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim, just 147mm of rain fell during the first four months of the year – less than half the 10-year average. Flowering went well in all three Douro sub-regions but fruit-set was slightly less successful due to very rapid shoot growth encouraged by the warm, sunny conditions in May. July was hot with temperatures reaching 40℃. Vineyards remained in excellent condition but as August approached, growers became concerned as to how the vines would cope with the low water reserves in the soil.

Then rain fell on three consecutive days in early August, followed by yet more rainfall in the middle of the month, making this the wettest August in the north of Portugal for 104 years. The weather remained abnormally cool and overcast into September, slowing down the ripening process. When wet, unsettled weather returned in the first week of September, growers faced a major dilemma: start picking under-ripe grapes early before rot sets in, or hold on in the hope of better weather. Most held their nerve and, luckily, the sunshine returned. Sugar levels rose suddenly, taking many by surprise, and continued to rise as temperatures exceeded 30℃. Picking began around the middle of the month and continued through uninterrupted sunshine.

Not a drop of rain fell until 8 October by which time the harvest was all but complete. In 40 harvests, Peter Symington (winemaker for Dow, Graham and Warre) commented that he had never seen a vintage that could have swung so easily between near disaster or success.


2003


Keep/Drink

A long, hot summer produced ripe, opulent wines. Widely declared. Drink from now until 2050.

Vintage summary

The Douro Valley is not averse to a blast of heat and in 2003 this was balanced by plenty of rainfall at just the right time. The previous winter had been abnormally wet, with more than double the 10-year average rainfall. Spring was mild and budburst was early, but yet more rain fell in April. Flowering took place in late May in perfect conditions. Mid-June was hot, heavy rain at the end of the month and in mid-July proved to be enormously beneficial. The notorious 2003 heatwave arrived in the first two weeks of August. While the Douro is used to daytime temperatures in excess of 40℃, night-time temperatures staying above 30℃ are more unusual, and nerves were frayed. Rain fell again at the end of August. This was crucial to the quality of the fruit harvested a few days later.

Taylor’s began picking at São Xisto in the Douro Superior on 8 September, with the Cima Corgo growers downstream following a week or so later. Fine, abnormally warm weather continued until 29 September when the first autumn depression swept in from the Atlantic. By this time all the best wines had already been made. Although few shippers divulge the size of their declaration, in general the 2003 vintage amounted to about 30% less than 2000.

Best wines

  • Croft
  • Dow’s
  • Fonseca
  • Graham
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Taylor
  • Warre

2002


Drink now

After high hopes at the outset, 2002 proved to be something of a damp squib due to a wet harvest.

Vintage summary

Winter was dry and there was very little rain during the summer, although fortunately without any of the extreme heat that can burn the grapes on the vine. Rain in early September helped to swell the berries and by the middle of the month the grapes were in near-perfect condition. However, just as picking commenced in the Cima Corgo, the weather broke and for most it became a stop-start vintage between bouts of torrential rain. The rain continued on and off well into October. Those who managed to pick before the rain (mostly in the Douro Superior) had small quantities of good, possibly outstanding wines.


2001


Drink

Mid-weight wines, mostly single-quinta. Soft and supple now.

Vintage summary

After one of the wettest winters since records began, mild and humid conditions led to an early bud-burst in March. From April onwards the weather cleared and only 110mm of rain fell until the end of August. With flowering taking place under optimum conditions and the ground-water supplies thoroughly replenished, there was a large crop. Temperatures were uneven during August but rain at the end of the month helped to swell the grapes. The weather was generally fine during picking with warm days and cold nights.

After a unanimous declaration in 2000, it would have been surprising if the main shippers had chosen to declare 2001 as well. Most declared either single-quinta Port or under their second label. The exception was Quinta do Noval, which declared Nacional – made in tiny quantities and certainly one of the best wines of the vintage.

Best wines

  • Fonseca Guimaraens
  • Niepoort Secundum
  • Pocas
  • Quinta da Terra Feit
  • Quinta das Carvalhas
  • Quinta dos Canais
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional
  • Quinta do Panascal
  • Quinta do Vesuvio
  • Quinta Senhora da Ribeira

2000


Keep

A small harvest produced fine, concentrated wines that were universally declared. Approach from now: the best will last a lifetime.

Vintage summary

After pleasantly wet weather during and following the 1999 harvest, the winter was cold and dry. Bud-burst occurred during this abnormally dry period and potential yields were reduced. Then, during April and May the heavens opened and half the normal annual rainfall fell in just two months. Flowering in late May coincided with heavy showers and cool weather, which caused coulure, particularly in the A-grade vineyards at lower altitudes which flower first. Yields were cut further as a result.

Warm, dry weather returned during June and July and the ripening was homogenous, occurring in mid-July. The dry weather continued through August. A few days of rain in mid-September helped to finish off ripening prior to the harvest, which began around 20 September. Yields per vine of little over half-a-kilo produced musts of extraordinary richness and concentration. As the sun continued to shine during picking, it became clear that a fine vintage was in the offing.

Overall the 2000 vintage is remarkable for the sheer depth of colour and richness that is evident in nearly all the wines. They are notable for their aromatic qualities together with their balance and harmony. The best match ripe, fleshy fruit with structure and concentration, while those that lack intensity merely show up as being sweet and rather one-dimensional.

Best wines

  • Fonseca
  • Graham’s
  • Niepoort
  • Quinta do Noval
  • Quinta do Noval Nacional

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