The quality of 2011 vintage ports is the big news in the wine media.
This outstanding vintage is the first universal declaration since 2007, and some pundits claim it to be the best in the last two decades.
Quality is so high that the wines can be cellared fro at least 30 years, if not longer.
The wines have power, lush fruit, and purity, silky, and well-integrated tannins, excellent balance and fine structure.
The vintage started with a rainy winter followed by a dry spring and early summer. The long and dry spring has followed by hailstorms in May and August.
It looked as though the good vintage would be in jeopardy, but two days of rain late August turned around the hopelessness to joy.
September was clear, and warm with almost summer-like heat that resulted in high quality fruit and superb wines.
Port wine consumption is declining, but table wines of the Douro Valley help estates survive.
In an attempt to maximize profitability most estates in the valley now produce both fortified and table wines.
Some specialize in table wines, but many traditional wineries like Taylor Fladgate continue to produce exclusively fortified, traditional ports.
The L C B O now offers several 2011 vintage ports, of which I recommend:
Croft $ 120.00
Quinta do Noval 90.00
Quinta de Vesuvio 85.00
Quinta de Vergellas Vinho Velha, Taylor Fladgate 250.00
Taylor Fladgate 130.00
Taylor Fladgate Magnum 260.00
Tayor Fladgate Double magnum 550.00
Taylor Fladgate 6 Litres 1499.00
Decant vintage port. They throw a lot of sediment.
2011 vintage ports may be enjoyable in a decade, and cellared much longer.
Serve vintage ports in a balloon glass, but pour no more than 100ml. at a time to allow the wine to breathe and develop.
You can enjoy vintage ports with dark chocolate, fried apricots, figs, walnuts, or on their own after a fine meal.