The wines of Quinta de Vargellas traditionally form the ‘backbone’ of the Taylor Vintage Port blend. This outstanding estate, recognised as one of the world’s finest vineyards, was acquired by Taylor’s in 1893 although its reputation as a source of the finest ports dates back to the 1820’s. Located in the remote eastern reaches of the Douro Valley, Vargellas is known for its elegant, scented wines, with their fine focused fruit and well integrated sinewy tannins. It is also known as a source of one of the rarest and most collectible vintage ports of all, Vargellas Vinha Velha, made in very small quantities from the produce of the oldest vines on the estate.
The terraced plots containing the oldest vines on the property account for over 15% of the estate’s total production. The Vargellas Vinha Velha vintage port represents a very limited selection of the production of these old vines and seldom accounts for more than about 2% of the total production of the property.
The Vargellas Vinha Velha is selected from five individual plots of old vineyard: Polverínho, Renova do Depósito, Renova do Armazém, Gricha and Vinha Grande. The age of the old vines on these plots varies from around 80 to 120 years. Each plot, which is harvested individually, produces wine with its own distinct character and contains a wide selection of grape varieties in which no one variety predominates. The exception is the Polverinho vineyard, which was the site of the first single-variety batch planting experiments in 1927 by Taylor partner Dick Yeatman, whose pioneering work underpins the firm’s thorough understanding of the classic Douro grape varieties.
Vargellas Vinha Velha may well be the most elusive and collectible of all Vintage Ports. Only six Vinha Velha vintage ports have been released to date. Vinha Velha Vintage Ports are sold on strict allocation and, to allow the very restricted quantities to be as widely distributed as possible, is shipped only in cases of three bottles.
The character of the Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage Ports is unique and their interest to collectors lies, not only in their superb quality and rarity, but also in the fact that they represent a piece of Port history, the expression of an ancient terroir whose characteristics are unlikely ever to be exactly reproduced.