The 2016 Quinta do Vesuvio from Symington’s has a slightly more savoury bouquet than its fellow 2016 releases – earthier, almost nuttier with some lovely grilled walnut scents percolating through with time in the glass. The palate is sweet and candied on the entry, notes of marmalade and dried quince infusing the cassis and black cherry fruit with high notes of blueberry and a slight saline tincture towards the well balanced, quite persistent finish. Very fine.
The greenness and stalkiness comes through here with a minty, fennel character as well as blueberry and violet undertones. Peppermint, too. Full-bodied and off-dry, showcasing blue fruits and a spicy, fresh finish. Try in 2022.
Always a radical style of Port, in 2016 Vesuvio doesn’t disappoint with incredibly exotic fruit and a dense, spirit finish. It challenges the senses and requires you to be at the top of your game. Flamboyant and also a little unhinged this is a joyous Vesuvio and a wine which will always bring a smile to my face.
Port is made in the Cima Corgo, Baixo Corgo and Douro Superior districts of the Douro Valley in the north of Portugal. The summers are hot and dry and the climate becomes more continental as you move further east towards the upper Douro Valley. Here temperatures often exceed 40 degrees. The Douro Valley has steep hillsides with terraces, which is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also extremely useful for making quality wine. The schist soils aid in drainage and have become very important to port production, so much so that much of the Douro table wines have been relegated to granite soils. The six main grape varieties used for port production are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Touriga Francesa and Tinta Amarela. There are another 42 grape varieties that are permitted but these six are considered to be the noblest ones, each adding something different to the blend. After the harvest the grapes are trodden, often by foot but more often by machines, in giant lagars (troughs). Port is a fortified wine so during fermentation ‘brandy' (not actually brandy but a grape-distilled spirit) is added to increase thealcoholic strength to around 17-19 % abv. This leaves a sweet, red fortified wine with lots of vibrant fruit. There are many different types of Port from the Basic Ruby Ports, through to Tawny Ports and LBVs, to probably the most famous of all Vintage Port that can take 20 years to reach its peak. When mature, Vintage Port is a unique tasting experience with warm, concentrated spicy-fruit flavours and a superb length that just goes on and on.