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Port 2011 hailed ‘classic’ as producers rush to declare

The 2011 Port vintage is set to become the first widely declared year since 2007, with the wines hailed as 'classics', with a character 'rarely seen in the Douro Valley'.

Several producers have moved to declare 2011 in the past few weeks, two years after 2009 was declared by some producers – notably Taylor, Fonseca and Croft – but not by others, including the Symington quartet of Dow, Graham, Warre and Cockburn.

‘From the beginning I think we knew we were in the presence of a great vintage,’ said Luis Sottomayor, winemaker for Sogrape-owned Sandeman, Ferreira and Offley.

‘I have been working in the Douro Valley for more than 23 years, I have made a lot of vintage Port and I have never seen a wine with so much concentration, power and these tannins.

‘It’s a typical, classic vintage … We have the same acidity as in 2007 but a much stronger and more robust wine.’

Taylor, Fonseca and Croft owner The Fladgate Partnership declared 2011 today, St George’s Day, as is the company’s custom, with winemaker David Guimaraens highlighting ‘wines that have elegance as well as depth and stamina’.

He added: ‘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.’

As well as Taylor, Fonseca and Croft, Fladgate also declared Vargellas Vinha Velha, made from selected old vines on the Quinta de Vargellas estate.

The Symingtons – who declared Graham, Dow, Warre and Cockburn – said strong winter rains in late 2010 had played a ‘crucial’ role, resulting in wines with ‘an exceptional depth of colour and concentration, rarely seen in the Douro and with marked minerality from the schistous Douro soil’.

The company has also made two single vineyard wines from the 2011 vintage – Graham’s The Stone Terraces (from selected plots at Quinta dos Malvedos) and Capela do Quinta do Vesuvio, which was launched with the 2007 vintage.

Meanwhile, Fladgate CEO Adrian Bridge said the company would be selling double magnums and imperials of the 2011s in response to growing demand for larger formats.

Written by Richard Woodard

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