Taylor Fladgate Releases Quinta de Vargellas Vintage 2020
Taylor Fladgate to bottle Quinta de Vargellas Vintage 2020.
Commenting on the announcement, Taylor Fladgate Managing Director, Adrian Bridge said: “We are delighted with the Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas Vintage 2020 which shows the elegance and structure that we associate with this excellent property.” He adds: “This Vintage will remain in our cellars and will be released at a later date, thus satisfying the future demand for Single Quinta Vintage Ports.”
For David Guimaraens, Taylor's Head Winemaker: "Two months marked the whole of 2020: February, was dry and very warm, which resulted in very low clusters and July was extremely hot (+ 3.5ºC above the average), with no living memory of such a hot July. The low volume of bunches and the repeated phenomenon of 'scorching' marked the year. The month of August was cooler than usual, but rain from the 17th to the 20th and the replacement of very hot weather caused an acceleration in the ripening of the grapes, which forced the harvest to speed up throughout the valley.” And he points out: “The variability of locations in the mountain viticulture of the Douro Valley plays a key role in extreme years like this, allowing the production of excellent Port wines as is the case of this Quinta de Vargellas 2020.”
CASES PRODUCED: 2.500
Intense, dark inky purple colour with a very expressive nose of pure woodland fruit, hints of black cherries, raspberries and a touch of liquorice. The floral notes, very much the hallmark of a Vargellas Vintage Port are prominent, as are the delicate violet fragrances which combine beautifully with the structured, berry fruit flavours. The linear tannins provide plenty of grip and attractive austerity to the profile of the wine. A harmonious, balanced and fine Vargellas Vintage port.
NOTES ON THE 2020 VITICULTURAL YEAR
The 2020 season will be characterised for its extremely low yields resulting directly from the climatic conditions of the year. The extreme conditions of 2020 have similarities to the 2009 and 1820 Harvest, where the sugar levels reached extraordinarily high levels.
Following three consecutive years of below average rainfall during the dormant period, November and December 2019 saw significant rainfall, 310mm at Pinhão, topping up the ground reserves. The remainder of the dormant period was dry and warm, with high minimum temperatures resulting in the earliest budburst in 18 years, occurring at Pinhão on the 3rd of March.
Early in the growing season, we became aware that the very low bud fertility was going to result in a year of low production. With fewer bunches per vine, the hope remained for a balanced growing season providing for a reasonable production. The four-month period of growth ( March to June) continued warm, and with regular rainfall in March and April ensuring sufficient water reserves to face the rest of the season. This regular rainfall however required a persistent control of Downy Mildey (April and May) and Powdery Mildew (May and June).
The first signs of flowering in the A Grade vineyards were recorded on the 4th May, confirming the advanced development of the vines. Then on the 22nd of June there was an abrupt change in the weather, and on the next day the maximum temperatures reached 40.75ºC and the relative humidity dropped down to 13%. This caused sunburn to the more exposed berries and bunches, and a further drop in the already expected low yields.
Veraison occurred early on the 7th of July, in what was to be recorded as the hottest July since 1931, when records begun. The average temperature for July was 28.19º C compared to the average for 2005-2019 of 24.7º C
August was milder (-0.5ºC below average), and in the middle of August the vine canopies were remarkably well conserved. The low yields together with the good water reserves from the winter and spring led to a fast rate of ripening. Between the 17th and 20th August, it rained 21 mm, which further contributed to the ripening, and at the end of August there was a visible change in the conservation of the grapes. This was particularly evident with the Touriga Francesa.
On the 5th of September we started the picking at Quinta de Vargellas.
ABOUT QUINTA DE VARGELLAS
The wines of Quinta de Vargellas traditionally form the ‘backbone’ of the ‘classic’ Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port. This outstanding estate, recognized as one of the world’s finest vineyards, was acquired by Taylor’s in 1893, although its reputation as a source of the finest ports dates back to the 1820’s. Located in the remote eastern reaches of the Douro Valley, Vargellas is known for its elegant, scented wines, with their fine focused fruit and well integrated sinewy tannins. It is also known as a source of one of the rarest and most collectible Vintage Ports of all, Vargellas Vinha Velha, made in very small quantities from the produce of the oldest vines on the estate.