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QUINTA DO VALE MEÃO Douro Vintage Port 2015

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92+ Points

Winemaker Xito Olazabal told me that he thinks Touriga Franca is the best grape for the backbone of Vintage Ports. The 2015 Vintage Port is dominated by Touriga Franca (45%), with a mix of others in a field blend. It was aged in used Chestnut vats for 12 months and comes in with just 90 grams per liter of residual sugar. This was seen previously as a barrel sample—this is the first look in bottle. Wonderfully elegant, this high-personality Port shows impressive mid-palate finesse to go with its fine structure. This is never even a little bit jammy. Some will criticize it, perhaps, for seeming a bit light. However, its calling cards are the exotic aromatics, freshness, transparency and precision. It smells of menthol, eucalyptus and cistus. The lifted fruit is wonderfully pure and clean, while there is a juicy finish laced with just a little blueberry and bitter chocolate. Its backbone has plenty of steel—it drank better some 48 hours later—and that steel became ever more obvious as it aired out. This still can improve notably in the cellar. It is not particularly dense, but the balanced combination of power and freshness may preserve it well. With age, this should develop well. Right now, I'm optimistic, but it does have things to prove, so let's be a little conservative just now.

Mark Squires, December 2017

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