A first glimpse of 2011 Vintage Ports

So tonight was spent getting acquantied with the hotly anticipated vintage Ports from 2011, which has just been pretty universally declared.

First up, Sandeman, owned by Sogrape, who were showing their wines at The Don, in the City of London.

Luis Sottomayor (above) of Sogrape describes 2011 as a typical, classic vintage. ‘It’s not an elegant, harmonious wine, but more a robust, strong wine with great colour and strong tannins,’ he says. But because of modern winemaking, it’s possible to drink it early. ‘Technology now in wineries is much better than it was 15 years ago,’ says Sottomayor.

According to Sottomayor, the different varieties make the following contributions:

  • Tinto Cao: good acidity, necessary to balance sweetness
  • Touriga Nacional: elegance, harmony
  • Touriga Franca: structure
  • Sousão: colour and structure

Sandeman’s style is classic vintage, not trying to be robust. Total quantity is 15 000 bottles.

Sandemans Vintage Port 2011
Rich, ripe and dense with the key theme being sweet, ripe, vibrant blackberry and black cherry fruit, showing a silky texture and some  lushness of fruit. Approachable young, because of its beautifully pure, silky fruit, but also with some grippy structure. Superb balance. 94/100

We also tried the 1955 vintage, the last to be bottled at St Swithin’s lane. It was from Tregnum, an unusual bottle size, consisting of three standard 75 cl bottles.

Sandeman Vintage Port 1955
Pale in colour.Sweet, warm and smoothly aromatic with a hint of mint. Supple, smooth elegant palate withwarm, mellow flavours of spice and mint as well as fudge and raisin. This is really compelling. 95/100

According to George Sandeman, these 1955s differ quite a bt depending on who bottled them. He reckons this particular bottle is pretty good, although he does acknowledge that it may not have been kept in perfect condition through its life.

Then it was of to Chandos House to try the Symingtons’ broad offering of Vintage Ports…

4 comments to A first glimpse of 2011 Vintage Ports

  • Andrew Halliwell

    Only 15000 bottles, is that right? Doesn’t seem like very much for such a well known brand, especially seeing as how they don’t make it every year.

  • Andrew, considering that only the grapes from the best vineyards are used, and even those go through a selection process, 15000 is quite a generous amount.

    Cheers

  • Plus, this is also a small harvest. The Symington family were down around 28% on the 2007 vintage, for example.

  • Down 28% for 2011 vintage compared with the 2007 vintage I mean.

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