The declaration of the port year is a decisive moment in the wine world. The wines are announced when the producers of the port meet and agree that a particular year has been exceptional, great and worthy of a joint declaration. Normally this only happens a few times a decade.

So when 2016 and 2017 were declared antiques, it was big news and an extremely rare event. The last time two consecutive vintages were announced was in the 19th century. For centuries.

After two generally accepted years, the year 2018 has come. Due to quality fluctuations in the region, it has not received the same general vintage declaration as in 2016 and 2017, and most producers have released a smaller quantity of vintage port from individual vineyards. Very good wines, yes, but certainly not as good as those of the two previous years.

But as usual, the wine years of 2018, which were tasted by the blind last summer, were distinguished by a wine.

There was everything a big old port should be. It was incredible, almost impossible, impressive. This port sang, it hummed, but with great joy and confidence. Would that be a 100-point wine? Should he be in a room where there are so few rehearsals?

 

If we look objectively, the layers of fruit speak of great concentration, but also of the richness of the structure. But vowels were tannins that sank so deeply that it was impossible to taste the tip or smell the ground. The tannins of an old port will tell you that the wine lasts for decades and that it is good if it harmonizes with other elements of the wine.

It really was. It was a 100-point wine. Time to unpack the bottle: Ferreira 2018 vintage port wine. And then it became clear.

Louis Sottom Major winemaker standing next to the bottles Louis Sottom Major winemaker / courtesy photo warm up

Winegrower for Sogrape, owner of Ferreira among many other large Douro houses, Louis Sottomayor. It had already been put in the barrel in 2018 when it broke through the ranks and made headlines without announcing the Vintage Port de Ferreira 2017.

It was a very good year, but the wines had a different profile and style than our classic vintages, he wrote in an e-mail.

On the other hand, Sottom Major notes that in 2018 elegant and harmonious wines have been produced, which at the same time have a great structure and great tannins, resulting in a wine of rare completeness. I noticed that when I tasted the wine.

He declared Ferreira old port in 2018. He was right.

Ferreira 2018 bottle vintage port photo Ferreira 2018 bottle vintage port / photo courtesy of Sogrape

The origin of the old port of Ferreira has an excellent pedigree. It’s always the same, a mixture of grapes from two large cellars: Quinta de Cado and Quinta do Porto.

The two quinta’s are located in the heart of the large port vineyards of the Douro, near Pignan. The Cado has been owned by Ferreira since 1990 and Quinta do Porto has been part of Ferreira’s heritage since 1800.

Quinta do Porto is one of the great Douro estates, made by Dona Antonio Ferreira. Dona Antonia is known as one of the famous wine widows of the 19th century. Louise Pommery and Madame Clicquot, who took matters into their own hands after the death of their husband.

Today, on a beautiful hill, with its chapel, house and huge vineyard (Dona Antonia did not half and loved granite), it is the trademark of the Douro and a favorite spot of the Gedov family, the owners of Ferreira.

The facts were correct, the origins were correct and the decisions on wine production were controversial but impeccable. However, the result is greater than the sum of these parts. Above this port is an aura that distinguishes it from the others and makes it a 100-point wine.

Published on 3. December 2020

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