Widely declared. A relatively cool growing season produced wines with great purity and definition for drinking over the medium-to-long-term. Drink from the early 2020s
Vintage review by Richard Mayson, 2018
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.
April too saw sunny days and cool nights, while 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.