Quinta de La Rosa 2011 Vintage Port

2011, as you probably know, was one of the great vintages in the Douro Valley. It ranks 99 out of 100 on the Wine Spectator vintage port chart, matched over recent decades only by 1994. Other than that, we need to go back to 1948 to find another 99 score and only in 1927, the greatest vintage ever, has 100 points been scored.

So, 2011 is pretty special not just for vintage port but also for red wines from the Douro Valley producers. The only exception to the rule is late bottled vintage, when great vintage years are best avoided. As I have reported here before, in vintage years the best grapes all end up in the vintage port, but in otherwise good years that were not declared vintages (2009 and 2012 come to mind), the best grapes also find their way into the LBV.

My reason for writing about this now is that I finally got to try a 2011 vintage port last weekend. The half bottle of Quinta de La Rosa shown here had been given to me by a friend and whilst I may have been reluctant to open a full-sized bottle of something so special that is not really ready in terms of bottle ageing, I decided to give it a try.

Expert tasters all agree that good vintage port can be enjoyed these days a lot younger than in the past. The rule used to be 10 years in the bottle before something was deemed drinkable, but modern winemaking techniques have made it more approachable when younger.

At just seven years old, this Quinta de La Rosa is dark and dense but whilst the tannins are still a little harsh, the fruit on the nose and in the mouth is so intense that it is already extremely pleasurable to drink. This is an excellent port, and bottle ageing for a couple of decades will no doubt reap great rewards.

Looking in the shops, 2011 vintage port is extremely difficult to find these days, but a search online revealed that a 75cl bottle of this Quinta de La Rosa can be ordered from the Garrafeira Nacional website for €69.50 including home delivery.
So, if 2011 was a special year for you or your family, this could make a great gift.

I also found two 2011 vintages on the shelves at Apolónia, Ferreira priced at €69.95 and Taylor’s at €149.95.

By Patrick Stuart
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