This morning I was lucky enough to try three of the 2011 vintages Ports on offer from the Fladgate Partnership – the Croft 2011, Fonseca 2011 and Taylor 2011. The general view is that the 2011 vintage Ports will turn out to be very good, classic Ports and it is the first universal declaration since 2007.
Here is what Fladgate CEO Adrian Bridge and wine-maker David Guimaraens have to say, Adrian Bridge – “2011 has produced textbook Vintage Ports, classics in every sense. The wines have a wonderful purity and elegance but also plenty of background and structure. Our 2009 declaration showed that demand remains strong for new release Vintage Ports and we expect it to grow further as new fine wine markets come on stream. Wine consumers all over the world are realising that Vintage Port continues to deliver astonishing value compared to many other classic wines.”
David Guimaraens – “Abundant winter rainfall created reserves to keep the vines well supplied with water throughout the hot, dry summer. This resulted in balanced ripening and wines that have elegance as well as depth and stamina. The 2011s stand out for the purity of the fruit and the quality of the tannins, which are silky and well integrated but provide plenty of structure.”
Barrel Sample Tasting Notes14/05/13
The Croft 2011 Vintage Port has a good, clear dark red / black colour. On the nose there is plenty of dark fruit notes, particularly blackberry, there are hints of slightly citrus / orange notes and blossom / floral and rose notes. Very powerful and heady nose. The palate is rich, full and velvety but with a firm tannic backbone. The initial attack is dominated by black fruit. It is muscular with good tannins, sweetness and very well structured. Quite soft and ripe in style.
Fonseca 2011 Vintage Port is a good deep purple / black colour, a touch darker than the Croft. The nose is more open and immediate with more floral notes, blackberry and blackcurrant notes. The nose is also herbaceous with exotic spices.The palate is firm, tight and dense with a rush of blackcurrant notes at the beginning of the palate leading to dark chocolate / cocao, almost liquorice, flavours. It has great minerality and good, clean purity with a decent length. Concentrated and packed full of fruit.
The Taylor 2011 Vintage Port is a very dark red / black colour, the most concentrated of the three Ports. There are plenty of woodland fruit, blackberry and blackberry confit notes on the nose and this comes across as the most floral of the three Ports with definite violets characteristics. There are also herbaceous, spicy and mocha type aromas on the nose. The palate is very powerful and concentrated with good sweetness, there is lots of berry fruit with a lingering, powerful finish with very well-balance tannins. Dark and brooding.
My conclusion is that the Croft is more immediate and not quite as complex and powerful
as the Taylor and the Fonseca. These are both a step up in terms of complexity, structure, purity and balance. I find the Taylor the more muscular and the Fonseca just a bit more rounder and riper than the Taylor. There is no doubt they will all develop in to great wines.
It will be interesting to compare these to the2011s Vintage Ports from Niepoort (his main Vintage Port and the Bioma Vinha Velha), Churchill’s (who kindly sent an unsolicited sample) and the Symington Family Ports (Dow, Graham, Warre and Vesuvio) which haven’t arrived yet and I am looking forward to trying.