Taylor's Port 2016, The Wine Advocate, 96 points, invest and sell Drink Date 2027-2070
The 2016 Vintage Port was seen initially about a week before bottling in a more unsettled incarnation. It is now in the USA and showing in a relatively forward fashion for Taylor's. It was matured for 20 months in wood and comes in with 102 grams of residual sugar. This is a pleasure just to smell, with its hints of herbs, eucalyptus and blackberries. Some more time in the bottle has made this a classic Port from start to finish in terms of aromatics and flavours. In my almost 40-year history of Port drinking, Taylor's was and is always one of my benchmarks for what a Port should taste and smell like. This delivers all that in spades.
Now, there are more powerful and massive Taylor's. Dry and a bit tense after it sat in the glass for an hour, this finished with a moderate bang and pop a couple of hours later. I've certainly seen young Taylor with more intensity. A creature of its vintage, it is a very elegant Port with a touch of understatement. It shows off focus and freshness more than jammy richness. If it is not quite as tightly wound as in some years, the typical profile and the structure are still magnificent. Indeed, some two days after opening it did not lose any power. The Fonseca is more powerful in the Fladgate Group offerings in this vintage (and, perhaps, the somewhat deeper Taylor's balances the tannins differently), but the fruit here is even more gorgeous and seductive. Indeed, the fruit is often sensational, the most significant bragging point here. I gave it a couple extra days open to ensure how lovely it was. It was mainly closed on the first pours when many young Ports were exuberant. It eventually became far more expressive. How you evaluate this will depend on what you most want in Port. If you wish for that old-school vibe, perhaps Fonseca will serve you better this year. If you're going to drool over sensational fruit, this will work fine. You'll think I'm being stingy.
Given how precocious it seems just now—it certainly won't make your mouth turn immediately to cotton and your tongue seize up—the fruit is so good that some will dare to drink it now. (If you do, you can tell unfriendly me on Facebook and the rest of social media, not that I'm judgemental or anything.) Harmony and complexity will still take time; there is no shortcut to complexity and unity. Overall, the purity and flavour make this rise above the crowd. How far above still remains to be seen. I'd like more proof of development here around 2030, more evidence that this will fulfil its potential.
Fonseca 2016, The Wine Advocate, 98 points, invest and sell Drink Date
2026 - 2070
The 2016 Vintage Port is a land blend that was not quite bottled when seen, but it was the final blend. It was aged for twenty months in wood and comes in with ninety grams of residual sugar. This Fonseca is remarkably powerful, lifted and gloriously fresh. It has good concentration, but in some years, have had more and seemed sexier. However, the most notable feature is the making. It is imposing in design, that full Port power and sould coming to the fore and overshadowing the rest at the moment. This is very tight and very uninvolved. Only think of buying it if you are prepared to cellar it. The 2030 start date I have will be too late to late enough if you want harmony and complexity. This is the best of the three 2016 from the Fladgate this issue (Croft and Taylor being the other two), thanks to its sweet intensity, but time will tell if it becomes as full as Taylor's will be. Meanwhile, Fonseca looks like one of the great Port of this vintage.
Croft Port 2016, The Wine Advocate, 94 points, invest and sell Drink Date
2025 - 2065
The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend seen initially about a week before bottling. It comes in with lots of residual sugar. Nothing has changed except that it seems even more approachable and balanced now. It also seems more dry than its statistics would think. Tied and complete on first taste, this comes around relatively well with two hours of air on the 1st day tasted, but it is only expressive a couple of days later. The initial firmness, even to some extent, showcases a relatively approachable young Port. (That doesn't mean it is ready or close to it.) The concentration seems good enough now, so the hints of alcohol I saw in June—and again this time around when this was in its first 90 minutes of aeration—seem under much better control. The balance is just more appealing. It shows beautifully with a couple of days of air. As with all Ports of any quality, this could use some time. This is gripping, but it won't sear your mouth with tannins. You will have to cellar it to allow it to acquire more complexity and harmony, though. This is showing more promise than ever.