The Fladgate Partnership, comprising the three historic houses of Fonseca, Taylor Fladgate and Croft, has declared 2011 a Vintage Port year for all three houses.
“2011 has produced textbook Vintage Ports, classics in every sense,” says Adrian Bridge, managing director. He adds, “The wines have a wonderful purity and elegance, but also plenty of structure and depth of flavor.” While the quality of the 2011 harvest was apparent from the outset, a decision as to whether or not to declare was taken only when the final blends were ready for evaluation. The blends from the three houses were carefully assessed over several weeks for quality, potential longevity and consistency of house style. The winter preceding the 2011 harvest was wetter and colder than the 30-year average, but as the year progressed, the vines developed and ripened under ideal conditions.
Head winemaker David Guimaraens notes, “2011 was an excellent ripening season and produced a well-balanced crop. 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.”
The 2011 declaration follows the previous decade’s four great vintages of 2009, 2007, 2003 and 2000; great news for Port and fine wine fans worldwide. “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 develop. Wine consumers all over the world are realizing that Vintage Port continues to deliver astonishing value compared to many other classic wines,” elaborates Bridge.
Recently, The Fladgate Partnership has seen strong demand from collectors and investors for large format bottles. Noting this interest, Bridge adds, “We will be making a limited number of large formats available from all three houses, including double magnums and imperials.”
The Fonseca 2011 blend is based on wines from Quinta do Panascal, Quinta do Cruzeiro and the organically farmed Quinta do Santo António.
Tasting note: Intense black, inky core and narrow purple rim. The nose opens onto a dense, brooding mass of dark blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Compact and concentrated, it also displays exceptional purity, one of the hallmarks of the 2011 vintage. The nose gradually opens to reveal an array of heady herbal scents, notes of exotic wood, marzipan and plum, as well as attractive graphite minerality. Solid, well-integrated tannins give both volume and firmness to the palate, with its reserves of dense black fruit infused with dark chocolate and licorice. This vigorous, concentrated, fruit-driven Vintage Port shows the classic opulence of Fonseca.
Taylor Fladgate 2011
The Taylor Fladgate 2011 is drawn exclusively from the firm’s own quintas (vineyard estates), and is a blend of wines from Quinta de Vargellas, Quinta de Terra Feita and a small amount from Quinta do Junco.
Tasting note: Impenetrable blue-black color with narrow purple rim. Intricate and finely constituted, the nose displays classic Taylor Fladgate elegance and poise. Has a dense core of pure complex fruit, redolent of blackberry and cassis, enveloped in a fragrant aura of violets. Resiny, garrigue scents and subtle notes of licorice and black coffee emerge as the nose develops. On the palate, taut, linear tannins provide a solid framework. Fine berry fruit flavors linger into the finish, where the tannins re-emerge to provide an attractive touch of austerity. This is textbook Taylor Fladgate, with its unmistakable combination of stamina and refinement.
Taylor Fladgate Quinta da Vargellas Vinha Velha 2011
Vargellas Vinha Velha is selected from old vines on two terraced plots; Polverinho and Renova do Armazém, which are classified as World Heritage sites.
Tasting note: Intense purple-black color. The nose is marked by a complex fruitiness, blending aromas of blackcurrant, plum and blackberry, overlaid with a floral mantle and hints of dark chocolate, exotic wood and black pepper. The palate is in perfect balance and supported by a dense weave of sinewy tannin. A burst of fresh berry fruit flavor liners on the finish.
The Croft 2011 Vintage is produced entirely from old vineyard plots from the Quinta da Roêda, which performed particularly well in 2011.
Tasting note: Deep purple-black color. The complex seductive nose has the archetypal Croft opulence, but displays impressive depth, background and aromatic reserves. A rich, powerful fruitiness provides the backdrop for heady, floral scents. Luscious, ripe berry fruit flavor dominates the palate. The velvety texture is underpinned by taut, perfectly integrated tannins. More structured than some recent Croft Vintages, the 2011 nevertheless displays all the rich, ripe fruitiness and exotic scented character associated with the Croft style.