Warre's Vintage Port 2009
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Relatively pale compared with its Symington stable mates and, though initially sappy, peppery and seemingly “thin” on nose and palate, it builds in the mouth showing delightful intensity and poise to its perfumed ripe red and black berry and cherry fruits. An elegant, intense wine.
There are just 500 cases of this wine released to mark the 200th anniversary of Wellington’s victory in the Peninsular War. More details to follow.
|9 May 2011
by Jancis Robinson
So what are those 2009 vintage ports like?
With his left hand in plaster after a cycling mishap, Adrian Bridge of the Taylor Fladgate Partnership was in London last Friday to show off the 2009 vintage ports that they had just 'declared', as (fairly young) tradition dictates on St George's Day (23 April). This was not a universal decision in Oporto, as we outlined in Shippers disagree over 2009 vintage port.
The suitably traditional-with-a-modern-twist Soho restaurant Quo Vadis was chosen as a location since it was only a bottle's throw from Majestic's big, concurrent tasting, and we wine writers and a few handpicked likely customers had a chance to taste not just the infant vintage ports, but also their counterparts from the three previous declared vintages of this century too. Of course vintage port ideally needs even longer in bottle to show its true colours than a great red bordeaux. The 1963 ports are looking pretty wonderful now, for example, and many a 1955 and 1945 seem to those lucky enough to encounter them to be at their peak.
Whatever the merits of the wines, one slight commercial disadvantage of 2009 as a vintage port year is that 2009 was such a successful vintage in other regions, not least Bordeaux, giving those those looking for long-term wine purchases to commemorate the year 2009, for a birth perhaps, several alternatives. This is in stark contrast to the 2007 vintage ports, for example, which were arguably the most obvious long-term fine-wine buys from that calendar year (cue indignant responses from...?).
Here's TFP's official sales pitch:
'2009 will be remembered as a year of very low yields. This was partly due to the small amount of fruit and also to the effect of the very dry ripening season. Dormancy ended early, with bud burst occurring at Pinhão in the first week of March. All vine varieties showed low fertility although the vegetation was healthy and vigorous. Véraison also occurred earlier than usual. The ripening season started with relatively cool weather, which continued throughout July, but in August this turned to intense heat. There was almost no rain from July right through to the harvest. By early September the grapes had reached phenolic maturity and picking on most of The Fladgate Partnership quintas began early, Roêda being first to start on 9 September. The low yields resulted in dense and concentrated musts, rich in colour, tannins and sugar.'
We were told that 2009 is the only year ending in a 9 to have been declared by Taylor, Fonseca and Croft since the 19th century.
So what were the 2009s like? Atypical, I think, would be a fair generalisation. The Taylor, usually a brooding concatenation of tannins with a bone-dry finish at this virtually pre-embryonic stage, was almost luscious last Friday. While the Fonseca, generally the most hedonistic, pruney, seductive brew even in youth, did not seem quite as intense as usual on the palate at this stage.
But the main thing to bear in mind is that no shipper, especially not one with a winemaker as steeped in port and expertise as David Guimaraens, declares a vintage unless they are very confident that the wines will have a long and magnificent life.
And considering their likely longevity, these are not desperately expensive wines.
De proefnotities van Jancis Robinson staan bij de betreffende Vintage Ports 2009.