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Major port houses set to declare 2011

Most major port houses are expected to declare the highly-anticipated 2011 vintage over the coming weeks, with Sogrape Vinhos the first to show its hand.

Sandeman: declared

Sogrape has declared 2011 for Ferreira, Offley and Sandeman Ports. It has not declared a vintage since that of 2007 and its announcement, which comes several weeks early by historical standards, reflects strong optimism in the Douro for 2011.

‘2011 has allowed us to create vintage wines with never-before-seen levels of colour, structure and complexity,’ said Luís Sottomayor, winemaker responsible for Ferreira, Offley and Sandeman.

The wines ‘have a greater potential for aging than any vintage we have ever seen’, he said.

Anticipation around the 2011 vintage has been building since almost the first days of harvest.

Symington Family Estates, owner of Cockburn’s, Graham’s, Warre’s and Dow’s among others, have yet to declare 2011, but were impressed enough to bring still-fermenting samples to a port tasting in October of the same year.

Sarah Ahmed, of The Wine Detective blog, a Decanter contributor and Portugal expert, said she ‘absolutely’ expects more declarations for 2011.

‘This is a long-haul vintage with clout and finesse,’ she said of a Sogrape and Ramos Pinto 2011 preview tasting held in November last year. ‘The colour, aroma, tannin structure and freshness of the wines was flawless.’

‘2011 is looking very exciting for a broad and outstanding-quality Port declaration,’ added Danny Cameron, MD of the annual Big Fortified Tasting. ‘So much so, that the BFT [London, April 24] will have a Port Wine Institute-sponsored, separate free-pour room for cask samples from this vintage.’

He said that he also expects 2011 to produce a ‘halo effect’ for other premium ports.

Written by Chris Mercer

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