Table Wine: $160. Late Bottled Vintage Port: $21 — THE SAME GRAPES!
Some think of vintage Port as a collectable, requiring 20 years of slumber before being consumed at stodgy clubs by gray-haired Englishmen. But the 2011s are a different breed. The roller coaster growing season accelerated ripening, 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, you already know 2011 is a vintage for the ages. Wine Spectator rated the 2011 Port vintage 99 points, surpassed only by the legendary 1927 Port vintage. “Powerful and elegant, with concentrated fruit flavors and plenty of grip,” the Spectator wrote, “a benchmark vintage.”
But today’s Late-Bottled Vintage Port also offers an excellent on-ramp for those not yet storing cases of the “benchmark vintage.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate sums it up succinctly: “Traditional LBVs are a super value, perhaps the very best in Port. Add a terrific vintage to a traditional producer and there is not much to question here.”
Collectors know full well that Quinta do Crasto is one of the superstar small producers whose Ports stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those of the better-known houses, like Warre’s, Graham’s, Taylor Fladgate, Croft, and Fonseca. Founded in 1615, Quinta do Crasto has been guided by proprietors Leonor and Jorge Roquette’s family since 1910. Situated in Cima Corgo, an hour east of the city of Porto, Quinta do Crasto’s vineyards are classified as grade “A” by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP). On south-facing banks of the Douro River at approximately 2,000 feet elevation, 60-year-old vines are planted in schist soils on terraces supported by hand-set stone walls.
You’ll consistently find Quinta do Crasto’s red table wines fetching upwards of $160 per bottle with 95- and 96-point scores from both Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. In 2008, Wine Spectator named the 2005 Quinta do Crasto Douro Reserva Old Vines its #3 wine of the year. The same stellar fruit Quinta do Crasto bottles as its heralded table wines goes into crafting the decadent and beautifully structured “LBV.” These grapes were crushed under foot, fermented in stainless steel, and aged in 9,000-liter oak vats for four years, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. The result is the 2011 Quinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Port, a superstar of Wine Spectator’s 99-point “benchmark vintage” that speaks eloquently of the refinement of this superb harvest.
The Wine Advocate gushed about this Late-Bottled Vintage Port, capping a 262-word rave with 93 points. It’s worth quoting at length: “Opening soft, lush and seductive, this expands in the glass and follows through with some tannic pop. It has a firm, tight finish. The expressive fruit is delicious now. As the vertical I did some time ago proved, though, these will age, acquire complexity and keep getting better. A few days later, it was showing fine definition of fruit and wonderful freshness that lifted and delivered the fruit to the palate. It seemed elegant all the while.” Robert Parker won’t get any argument from us.
Opaque ruby to the rim. Aromas of black and blue fruit with hints of dark chocolate, graphite, and raisins. A decadent and well-sculptured mid-palate of mixed-berry fruit is laced with minerals, cracked pepper, and Worcestershire. Lush and shapely with substantial grip on the finish. This effort has the concentration of a vintage Port and will age like one, too.
At just $21/bottle, we’d pit this head-to-head with the great vintage Ports of Warre’s, Fonseca, or Taylor Fladgate. 75 cases have been earmarked for WineAccess, but Port collectors may not be satisfied with just one case! Direct from the Douro Valley to our West Coast warehouse — refrigerated from the moment it leaves the cellars. Shipping included on 4. This is a no-brainer.