The schedule has gotten in the way of transcribing my notes from a solid half-dozen wine events of late, so over the next few weeks expect a flood of wine tasting reports. I’m starting off with this dispatch from Fladgate’s 2009 Vintage Port event, in which the company poured not just samples of the newly declared 2009 Vintage Port from its three estates — Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca, and Croft — but also the other three vintages from the last decade, 2007, 2003, and 2000.
2009 is already a bit of a controversial year: Only Fladgate has declared broadly that it will release a vintage for the year; other houses are offering only token bottlings.) Based on my tasting there’s no cause for alarm, though: The 2009s are in general dark and intense, but fundamentally no better or worse than the other vintages from the 2000s.
This type of tasting is really tough because even mediocre Vintage Port is still pretty darn good, and putting 13 Ports side by side makes picking a favorite even tougher. (If I had to: Fonseca’s 2000, which is also, by a slim margin, my favorite vintage overall of this bunch.)
Tasting notes on each wine follow.
Tasting Report: 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009 Vintage Port
2000 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port / A- / bigger raisin, prune notes, very extracted and young
2000 Fonseca Vintage Port / A / better balance, subdued, rich and complex
2000 Croft Vintage Port / B+ / lots of jam, very fruity
2003 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port / A- / lush, drinking well, offernig some of the character of the table wine
2003 Fonseca Vintage Port / B+ / young, some tightness and greenness here
2003 Croft Vintage Port / B / young, big tannin remaining
2007 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port / B+ / menthol, mint, and strong citrus notes
2007 Fonseca Vintage Port / A- / good balance and open, despite its youth
2007 Croft Vintage Port / B+ / some greenness, licorice notes
2009 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port / B / very acidic, with a hard edge
2009 Fonseca Vintage Port / A- / drinking fairly well, but not very nuanced yet
2009 Croft Vintage Port / A- / incredible dark, coffee and cocoa notes, not balanced but with promise
2009 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port Vargellas Vinha Velha / B+ / from a single block in a single vineyard, more mint here, but a surpising weakness in the body; disappointing