2016 Port releases

The past few days have seen some major Port releases from the newly declared 2016 vintage. According to James Molesworth, the 2016 vintage is “definitely going to make a splash” and is the first vintage since 2011 to be generally declared by the major port houses. Traditionally, the announcement has coincided with St Georges Day (23rd April) to reflect England’s historical links to the Port industry.

There is no formal regulation for vintage Port declarations. However, when all houses declare a vintage – known as a general declaration – the vintage is assumed to be of extremely high quality.

On Friday, the 2016 vintages of Croft, Fonseca and Taylor’s were all released and merchants have reported strong demand for the Fladgate wines.

This morning saw six further releases, this time from the Symington Family Estates. Cockburn, Dow, Graham, Smith Woodhouse, Vesuvio and Warre were all released at higher prices than the previously declared 2011 vintage. Production for these wines is down 20% on that vintage.

As the table above shows, a number of the 2011s prices have increased significantly since release. Dow 2011, for example, has appreciated the most (+211%) and is currently available for £1,400 per 12×75. The wine received praise from numerous critics and was selected as Wine Spectator’s wine of the year in 2014.

James Molesworth has awarded the 2016 vintage a preliminary 95-98 points and will score the wines officially when tasted blind. The 2011 vintage, by comparison, scored 99 points.