2011 Warre's Vintage Port
Expert Ratings
RP 93-95 points
JS 96 points
(Read the full reviews below)
 
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Warre's Vineyards, Portugal 96pt Vintage Port Roller Coaster

Prior to what would prove to be one of the more stunning harvests in the last decade in the Douro, the great Port houses rode a brilliant vintage roller coaster like few they've ever experienced.

The Douro Valley winter was unusually wet, drenching the soils of the valley. April would be quite warm, speeding up the vegetative cycle. A few rain storms at the end of the month sent growers back into the vineyards in droves, treating their vines from an early threat of mildew. What those vineyard workers didn't know at the time was that those April showers would be the last drops of rain until nearly the end of August!

On June 24th and 25th, temperatures climbed. That brief, but torrid heat spike, after weeks of dry, mild temperatures, shocked the vines, sending them into hydric shock. The vegetative cycle all but stopped, and premature ripening of bunches began. That sudden climatic shift affected yields, trimming potential crop loads at Warre's by close to 30%.

The remainder of the summer would be mild. Blue skies. Crisp nights. But again, there was no significant precipitation. The vines were struggling. The winter water reserves were running out. The severe stress was beginning to be evident in the color of the leaves. The plants were turtling up, gasping, just hoping to make it to the finish line when the sky magically opened up on August 24th. That thunderstorm and a second drenching rain on September 1st revived the vines. Harvest would begin under perfect conditions in the second week of the month. The crop was pristine.

In a country teetering on the financial abyss, where newspapers are filled with discussion of Common Market austerity, the 2011 Port vintage is a breath of fresh air. Not since 1994 have global wine markets been so stoked by a year in the Douro Valley. Generally speaking, about two vintages each decade are 'declared' vintage years by some number of producers. In 2011, EVERY house in the reason made vintage port, with many calling this the finest vintage since the Spectator's 99pt 1994s.

One word about the class of 2011. While some think of vintage Port as a collectable, requiring 20 years of slumber before being consumed at stodgy clubs by gray hair Englishmen, these 2011s are a different breed. The roller coaster growing season accelerated ripening as rarely seen before, making for classically structured, solidly built fortified wines, that are strikingly accessible on release -- if still poised for the long haul.

If you're a Port collector, this is a vintage that you cannot pass up. If not, and you've considered throwing your hat into the Douro Valley ring, today it's time to cautiously step up to the plate.

The 2011 Warre's is one of the stars of the vintage, an unusually elegant, sleekly measured vintage port that speaks eloquently of the refinement of this superb harvest. Parker's Wine Advocate called it "refined … one of the most elegant" bottles of the vintage, rating it a whopping 93-95 points.

James Suckling, longtime lead critic for the Wine Spectator, would up the ante, dropping a 96pt review that would trim every allocation in half.



Tasting Notes

2011 Warre's Vintage Port
"The Warre's Vintage was picked beginning on September 18 at Quinta da Cavindha, with fruit also sourced from Quinta do Retiro and Quinta da Telhada. It is a blend of 37% Touriga Naçional, 23% Tinta Franca and 40% mixture of old vines. There is a lovely sea spray note on the 2011 Warre's that emerges after ten minutes in the glass. It is nicely defined with a tangible mineral component. The palate is very well-balanced with fine tannins, very well-judged acidity and a languorous feel, as if everything is in place and it does not want to show off. This is a lovely, refined 2011 -- one of the most elegant 2011s. This is a classic Warre's. 3,000 cases declared."
93-95 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

"Extremely floral and fruity with hints of lilacs and crushed fruit. Full body with refined tannins integrated with a solid core of fruit, and a rich, round texture. This is lightly sweet and follows through to a long, long finish. 3,000 cases produced of this mechanically trodden wine. Try in 2022."
96 points -- James Suckling


*Important Shipping Information
    • This is a Pre-Arrival Offer: Weather permitting, wine will begin shipping upon arrival, in September, 2013.

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