Great expectations for vintage port

It’s not often that wine guru Jancis Robinson dedicates her column in FT Weekend to Portuguese wine, but then Port wine is special, and judging by her column in last weekend’s edition the 2011 vintage was very special indeed.

“I have never been as excited by the launch of a clutch of vintage ports,” she enthused. Jancis pointed out how much Port wine production has improved over recent decades, the big difference being that even at just a couple of years old they are already drinking beautifully.

She says that one of the keys to the quality of the 2011 vintage was the notably wet autumn in 2010 followed by near drought ahead of harvest the following summer, with just a couple of bursts of rain described by one producer as “the ace of spades”.

So if 2011 was a special year for you, keep a look out for vintages from top producers. Ten years in the bottle should produce something stunning but a few more decades of ageing will no doubt be rewarded.

Jancis mentions in her article how she recently tried a 1924 Ramos Pinto Vintage that was in peak condition, and a 1942 from Niepoort that was nowhere near its peak. So there’s no telling what wonders can be expected from the higher quality wines of more recent vintages such as 2011. Patrick Stuart