2016 Vintage Port Declaration

Posted 23 April 2018

by Vintage Wine and Port

2016 vintage


Vintage Port declarations are traditionally made on St George's Day. We are pleased to announce that all the major port houses have declared the 2016 Vintage. This is the first general declaration since  the outstanding 2011 vintage. 

The keynotes of the 2016 vintage are purity, refinement and structure. The ports are characteristically elegant and poised and underpinned by firm, superbly integrated tannins of exceptional quality. Yields at the 2016 harvest were low and demand will exceed supply. 

Vintage Wine and Port are now working with port houses to secure a good allocation which we will offer en-primeur to previous customers in mid-May. We will then release a wider offer to the general public at the end of May. We have so far secured ports from Taylors, Fonseca, Croft, Grahams, Grahams’s Stone Terraces, Smith Woodhouse, Cockburns. Dow, Vesuvio, Vesuvio Capella, Noval, Noval Nacional, Burmester, Calem, Kopke, Barros, Niepoort, Warres and we will have added to this list when the offer is released.



Adrian Bridge, Managing Director
“The keynotes of the 2016 vintage are purity, refinement and structure. The Taylor’s 2016 is characteristically elegant and poised and underpinned by firm, superbly integrated tannins of exceptional quality. Yields at the 2016 harvest were relatively low and the wine is likely to be tightly allocated.”

David Guimaraens, Head Wine Maker
Commenting on the viticultural year: “Two factors stand out in 2016. The spring was extremely wet meaning that the vines had plenty of water throughout the summer.  Secondly, the ripening season started relatively late and lasted well into September. This meant that the crop was very evenly ripened and all elements were in perfect balance at the time of the harvest. Picking started later than usual, particular in the Pinhão Valley where the Taylor’s properties only began their harvests in the last week of September.” Commenting on the wine: “The hallmark of the Taylor 2016 is the very fine fruit quality and the magnificent tannins supported by a lively acidity.”


The Symington family is pleased to announce our decision to declare 2016 as a Vintage Port year. This is only the fourth Vintage declaration for all our Port companies since 2000 and the first since the magnificent 2011’s. Few wine regions anywhere restrict Vintage Years with such meticulous care and only truly exceptional Ports are declared in this way.

The 2015/16 winter was wetter than averagewhich provided a vital counterbalance to the hot Douro summer. Damp weather continued into May,which caused considerable fruit loss to the unwary. From Junenormal service was resumedand August was very warm although some welcome rain fell on the 24th and 26 th. More heat ushered in Septemberand some started picking although it was clear to those who were properly monitoring their vines that the grapes were not ready. Furthermore, the long-range forecast predicted showers and sure enough invaluable rain fell on the 12th and 13thSeptember.

This was the year to read the signs and to take risks; Charles Symington, head-winemaker, delayed harvesting until the 19th September and the best Touriga Nacional was not harvested until the 26thand the late-ripening Touriga Franca only during the first ten days of October. The greatest 2016 Symington Ports were made during this later period under lovely blue skies. It is not easy in our incredibly diverse region to pick grapes at exactly the right time, especially when yields are amongst the lowest in the world at 26 hectolitres /ha, with high risk of dehydration and when many producers rely on bought grapes and are therefore dependent on farmers for picking. 

All the 2016 Symington Vintage Ports are made from our own Quinta vineyards where Charles and his viticulture team can be seen every day tasting and analysing grapes throughout August and September. All our Vintage Ports were made in our five small lagar wineries, using the classic treading method for great Port. 

The 2016 Vintage Ports are exceptional with tannins that are amongst the most refined ever, supporting beautiful red-fruit flavours with extraordinary intense, purple colour. They have impressive structure and balance, with Baumés, acidity, tannins and colour in rare and perfect alignment. This is no doubt a result of the later ripening cycle which allowed our grapes to mature evenly and completely. Production of each of our 2016 Vintage Ports is approximately 1/5th below our previous declared Vintage following rigorous selection in the tasting room.