Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2015, The Wine Advocate, 94 points, invest and sell Drink Date
2026 - 2065
The 2015 Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port is a field blend aged for 18 months in used French oak vats. It comes in with 103 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is the first look in bottle, after the original was seen last June as a tank sample in Porto. It is very much a creature of the vintage. Like most 2015s, this is on the lighter side in the mid-palate, but also like most, it is fresh and lifted, refined and graceful. It is the type of wine that doesn't hit you over the head but becomes ever more appealing as it sits in the glass. It's all about finesse and elegance. Suddenly, you realize how much you like it. After some aeration, it adds to its mid-palate refinement the dry, tight and steely edge it had in Porto. Compared to last June, it is oddly more expressive now (I find that they tend to close down after bottling and shipping), opening nicely with some air. It does eventually close down more, but it drinks well again the next day, showing very good balance. When all three of the Fladgate group wines I re-evaluated for this issue (Croft, Fonseca Guimaraens and this) were tasted again the next day, this was plainly the best, beautifully balanced and lingering nicely on the finish. It does everything well.
Fonseca Guimaraens 2015, The Wine Advocate, 92 points, invest and sell Drink Date
2026 - 2060
The 2015 Guimaraens Vintage Port is a field blend aged for 18 months in used French vats. It comes in at 101 grams per liter of residual sugar. Last seen only as a tank sample in Porto, this was the most forward and impressive of the three Fladgate Partnership 2015s this issue (Croft, Taylor's Vargellas and this). I'm not so sure that is still true. At this point, the Vargellas seems to surpass it fairly easily, showing better structure and depth, despite its initial elegance. This Guimaraens still has the fleshiest feel, if I can put it that way, but it no longer seems to have as much real concentration. Its most notable feature now is its serious backbone. It has tightened and closed, the initial flavor bursts presented in June now having largely subsided. It is rather astringent. By comparison, if anything, the Vargellas has picked up a little weight while this has lost a little flesh. The tannins here, as a result, stand out more. In terms of aging, Winemaker David Guimaraens told me that he "guaranteed" at least 50 years from vintage date. I think he's right, because this has as much power as any of the three, but jeer him around 2065 if he is wrong. Overall, this is still a can't-miss bargain at the price.
Croft de Roeda 2015, The Wine Advocate, 90 points, invest and sell Drink Date
2025 - 2060
The 2015 Vintage Port Quinta da Roeda is a field blend aged for 18 months in used French vats. It comes in with 103 grams per liter of residual sugar. Since I first saw this in Porto last June, it has done what I find Ports generally do after bottling and shipping in the fall—close down hard. All about the potential just now, it clearly has some, but it may have some limitations too. Tightly wound, sharp on the edges and astringent on the finish, this has passed the point where you would want to drink it any time soon. It has as much, if not more power than any of the Fladgate Partnership submissions this issue, plus pretty good depth for the vintage. It has fleshed out a bit. It also shows a bit of alcohol here and there. It was my least favorite of the three Fladgate partnership wines, despite a showy beginning. It was in better balance the next day, admittedly, but it also seemed blander and more stolid. At this point, put it in the cellar and come back in a decade or so to see where you are. I doubt that this is going to be truly special, but it will certainly develop much more.
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