2018 Vintage Port

2018 was a complicated vintage in the Douro, described by the Symington family as ‘a rollercoaster’ climatically, yet the resulting wines are looking remarkably good. Largely this will be a year for the Single Quintas – and not a ‘general Declaration’ by all. Had they all gone for it - this would have been the third year on the trot for a full Declaration and this has never happened before. You could even sense some unease at the release of 2016 & 2017 back to back (both wonderful and worthy vintages) this double-whammy had not happened since 1872-73! So perhaps for 2018 it was never going to be - whatever the quality of the year – who knows, only time will tell.


So far we have only tasted the fantastic 2018 release from Quinta do Romaneira – and it really is brilliant, showing the vintage clearly had what was needed to make great Port. If you survived the long winter drought, the serious hail in April and the damp Spring – the long, hot summer was excellent for maturing the fruit. Undeniably, it was a hot year – but this is becoming common in the Douro and producers know just how to handle it. Clever vine canopy management, plot by plot harvesting at just the right moment for each parcel and gentle handling in the cellar, are all tools helping winemakers tame the sizzling heat.


A ‘not so general Declaration' can be a great opportunity for buyers and drinkers. Great Houses releasing ports from their Single Quintas in a great vintage often spells value and 2018 is looking very promising.


So promising in fact that some big names have not been able to resist declaring their 'Classic Wines'. Sandeman have released a 2018 – but they did not declare in 2017 – so for them this is not ‘three on the bounce’ – and Taylor are releasing a 2018, but they will hold on until next year.


Adrian Bridge who heads up Taylor and Fonseca told us:

“Although a Classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s is able to make a third in a row. This is very unusual but our principle is that we only declare a Classic Vintage when the quality is there and this is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration. Indeed, in view of the economic situation in which we find ourselves, we will bottle in July as usual but will not offer the wines until early 2021”


We are delighted to offer (for now) the following small selection of excellent Vintage Ports. Not only will these prove fantastic drinking in the coming decades – but Vintage Ports are also one of the best mementos of a special year. With the life in them to mature gracefully for at least 20 years, a case of one of these could be the most wonderful present for any children or god-children born in 2018.


Some of these are in very limited supply – so please let us know what you would like and we will do our very best to secure it for you.




Finally, because they never stop being true, some words of wisdom from Patrick Sandeman:

"The next question is whether one needs to buy and lay down vintage port at all in this day and age… Well, if, like me, you think that a dinner party is only a dinner party if you climax with a decanter of vintage port or two (otherwise it is only really a supper party), or if, like me, you decant a bottle of vintage port every Friday night during the months of November and December to drink over the week-end, then you will need at least two dozen bottles a year, and assuming that there is only one great vintage every four years, you should be buying at least eight dozen bottles. Equally, if you are of the camp that ‘no longer drinks port because it gives me a hangover’, then you too should be laying down some port for when you learn to drink less before and during dinner, and appreciate something exceptional at the end of the evening. Finally, of course, there are the (2018) babes whose God-parents, aunts and uncles, and parents should be buying at least two cases of six bottles (one to sell to help pay for the gap year in eighteen years time, the other to drink)." Patrick Sandeman

Best wishes,
The Lea & Sandeman Team

Recommendations

We are always delighted to offer advice should you need it. Please contact our private client team via email.

Pricing & Availability

All prices are quoted in bond by the case size stated. Some wines are highly sought after so we may give priority to previous buyers and those who buy across the offer. We expect these ports to arrive in the UK early in 2020.

Other Vintages

If you are interested in mature vintages of port, you can browse our duty paid selection here.



This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.

2018 DOW Quinta Senhora da Ribeira

2018 DOW Quinta Senhora da Ribeira

This property contributes approximately 25% of the wine to Dow’s Vintage Port while Quinta do Bomfim usually sits the 60% mark. Senhora da Ribeira is thought of as the aromatic high notes whileThis property contributes approximately 25% of the wine to Dow’s Vintage Port while Quinta do Bomfim usually sits the 60% mark. Senhora da Ribeira is thought of as the aromatic high notes while Bomfim is the heart, so it is interesting to bear this in mind while tasting this wine. Firstly, this could not be a more different proposition to Vesuvio. Plum and mulberry fruit abounds and this is a seriously exotic and perfumed wine with violet and mint notes. It is red to Vesuvio’s black. It is buttoned up as opposed to expansive and the co-fermented Sousão and Alicante Bouschet bring freshness and vivacity to the whole making it a more piercing wine than Vesuvio’s blanket of dark fruit flavours. This effect also appears to heighten the spice and oak elements, and while there is no doubt that Vesuvio has these elements in spades, Senhora da Ribeira wears them like filigree on a lustrous cape as opposed to burying them deep into her soul. Pure, punchy, expressive and a few shades lighter in both colour and tone than Vesuvio this is certainly a more classically shaped wine. While I am a sucker for Vesuvio’s expressive ‘night sky’ of flavour, there is undoubtedly a fascination building for the Senhora’s ‘breaking dawn’. Drinking range: 2030 - 2055 Rating: 18+ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Jul 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 3

In Bond

2018 FONSECA GUIMARAENS

2018 FONSECA GUIMARAENS

What a pleasure to taste and compare alongside the Taylor's. This is gorgeous. Very Fonseca, full of weight and richness. So spicy - and completely captivating. The family decided that this wasWhat a pleasure to taste and compare alongside the Taylor's. This is gorgeous. Very Fonseca, full of weight and richness. So spicy - and completely captivating. The family decided that this was really close to a full Fonseca declaration. yet it is missing one crucial element - fruit from a quinta in the Alto Douro which would have tipped it over the line to a full, classic release. You can sense the class here - for a Guimaraens - this really is good. Rich plum, soft fig and black-fleshed berry notes hit the palate in a beautifully melded middle - soft tobacco and wild herbs too but with a gentle rub to the texture. An appealing wilder note - you just want another sip. David Guimaraens explained one of the reasons this was not a full Fonseca is because he did not feel it had quite the long-term potential of a classic declaration - this may be true - but there is plenty of future here, and it will give great pleasure over the next 20-30 years.L&S (Jan 2021)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

In Bond

Half-bottles, wood case of 12

In Bond

2018 QUINTA DA ROEDA Croft

2018 QUINTA DA ROEDA Croft

This is upfront, plump and joyful in 2018. Very much the opening act in the trio from Fladgate where it is a charming, immediately accessible vintage release that will be a pleasure to drink in itsThis is upfront, plump and joyful in 2018. Very much the opening act in the trio from Fladgate where it is a charming, immediately accessible vintage release that will be a pleasure to drink in its teenage years. Rounded soft and sleek on the palate. Gentle spice and easy flow. You step up quite dramatically when you get to the Guimaraens and the Taylor is from a different planet! Yet this has great appeal and will be a wonderfully enjoyable vintage port - at an unbelievably fair price - for 20 years.L&S (Jan 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond

2018 QUINTA DA ROMANEIRA Vintage Port

2018 QUINTA DA ROMANEIRA Vintage Port

Warm orange blossom fills the nose - extraordinarily vivid smell of blackened orange skin then delicious garrigue like herb notes and wild flowers too. Superb. Heady and inviting. Palate isWarm orange blossom fills the nose - extraordinarily vivid smell of blackened orange skin then delicious garrigue like herb notes and wild flowers too. Superb. Heady and inviting. Palate is beautifully rounded and polished in feel - well packed with an explosion of flavours. Rose petals and sweet purple berries. Then shavings of dark chocolate too. It’s all here and all delicately presented but remarkably intense. Great level of sweetness to the fruit and then so much high toned prettiness. Violets and lilac scents - and just enough savour of earthy herbs and dark dry chocolate nibs. A startlingly good vintage port. Will be a really fun journey to go on as this evolves. Bags of charm and intrigue.L&S (Jun 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

In Bond

2018 QUINTA DO NOVAL

2018 QUINTA DO NOVAL

The 2018 Vintage Port is a field blend aged for 18 months in old wood vats. It comes in with 100 grams of residual sugar. This was bottled May 13, 2020. Simply gorgeous, this is aromatic, chock-fullThe 2018 Vintage Port is a field blend aged for 18 months in old wood vats. It comes in with 100 grams of residual sugar. This was bottled May 13, 2020. Simply gorgeous, this is aromatic, chock-full of flavor and wholly delicious—but that's just the starting point. It has a serious backbone too, perfectly countered by the mid-palate depth. More than lovely, it might well be my favorite of the 2018s I've seen thus far, if I were forced to pick just one. It is surprisingly accessible, in a way, but that's because the mid-palate soaks up the power. It was certainly still vibrant days later. It should age well, but let's be just a little conservative now in evaluation and drinking windows Drinking range: 2027 - 2070 Rating: 95+ Mark Squires, robertparker.com (Sep 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

In Bond

2018 QUINTA DO VESUVIO

2018 QUINTA DO VESUVIO

The 2018 Quinta do Vesuvio has a plush bouquet of black fruit laced with clove, nougat, boysenberry jam and white pepper. I would have liked a little more precision here. The palate is medium-bodiedThe 2018 Quinta do Vesuvio has a plush bouquet of black fruit laced with clove, nougat, boysenberry jam and white pepper. I would have liked a little more precision here. The palate is medium-bodied with impressive spicy attack on the entry - cracked black pepper and bitter orange, touches of liquorice and mint towards the well structured finish. Moderate length. A quality Vesuvio that deserves several years in bottle. Drinking range: 2030 - 2065 Rating: 93 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jun 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

In Bond

2018 SANDEMAN

2018 SANDEMAN

Lots to like here, with a mix of crushed plum, raspberry paste and blackberry compote notes that work in harmony while fruitcake, bramble and apple wood accents fill in on the juicy finish. HasLots to like here, with a mix of crushed plum, raspberry paste and blackberry compote notes that work in harmony while fruitcake, bramble and apple wood accents fill in on the juicy finish. Has excellent range and depth. Drinking range: 2030 - 2045 Rating: 94 L&S (Dec 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

In Bond

2018 TAYLOR

2018 TAYLOR

Although this was declared in the usual way, the family decided to hold back the Taylor 2018 release until January 2021. This marks an unprecedented 'third year on the trot' for a Taylor declarationAlthough this was declared in the usual way, the family decided to hold back the Taylor 2018 release until January 2021. This marks an unprecedented 'third year on the trot' for a Taylor declaration - and they are the only house to do so we were delighted to taste it over zoom with them yesterday.
As Adrian Bridge said: “Although a Classic declaration normally only happens about three times a decade, the exceptional run of years has meant that Taylor’s is able to make a third in a row. This is very unusual but our principle is that we only declare a Classic Vintage when the quality is there and this is dictated by the year, not by any other consideration."
The wine certainly warrants a full declaration. Brimming with the classic Taylor finesse and perfect poise. There is a cool line to open up then a delicate feel of beautifully ripe fruit just there - just lurking in this well-honed wine. Power and depth are here but it is so genteelly delivered this is a real treat. Already this has appeal but in 15 years it will really begin to motor and then onwards for 30 years or more. Fabulous for the cellar, and certainly a historic release.
Drinking range: 2032 - 2060L&S (Jun 2020)

75cl bottles, wood case of 6

In Bond