£10 to £20
Pale lemon colour. An elegant and refreshing white wine with notes of citrus fruits and green apples. Lovely concentration and a pleasant finish.
88 Points Wine Enthusiast
“Duas Castas, two grapes, is a blend of Gouveio and Antão Vaz. Together they give a smooth, fruity wine, tangy in orange zest and bright acidity. The wine has weight and richness, with delicious hints of white peach to finish.”
Located in the heart of the Alentejo region, the Herdade do Esporão Estate was established in 1267. Having passed through various families and Counts of the region, the property has been owned by the Roquette family since 1973. Their first wine was bottled in 1985.
£10 to £20
Crystal clear, pale straw colour. Fresh white stone fruits with citric notes. Firm, intense and well balanced palate, persistent aromatic fruit with a long finish.
86 Points Wine Enthusiast (2013 vintage)
“Soft and round, this is a wine that has the warmth of the Alentejo coupled with a tangy, fresh slice of lemon. Blending Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Perrum, it’s a wine to drink now, or just age for a few months.”
Youthful, ruby colour. Fresh berry, fruity aromas. Fresh, bright, packed with red fruits and some soft tannin.
84 Points Wine Enthusiast (2011 vintage)
“This wine is a blend created using grapes sourced from vineyard sites, giving it a ripe, full-bodied character. It is smooth, almost New-World in style, but with an edge of tannins and acidity. Drink this wine now.” — R.V. (12/1/2012)
The heady scents and opulent ripe fruit which define the Croft Vintage Port style are supported by a mesh of taut, muscular tannins. These, together with impressive depth of flavour, make the 2011 one of the most structured and powerful of recent Croft vintages.
Deep purple black colour. The complex seductive nose has the archetypal Croft opulence but displays impressive depth, background and reserves of aroma. A rich, powerful fruitiness provides the backdrop for heady scents of blossom and rock rose. Luscious ripe berry fruit flavour surges though the palate. The wine’s velvety texture is underpinned by taut, muscular, perfectly integrated tannins which provide stamina with an attractive firmness and vigour to the finish. More virile and structured than some recent Vintages from this classic house, the 2011 nevertheless displays all the rich ripe fruitiness and exotic scented character associated with the Croft house style.
97 Points Wine Spectator
“Effusively juicy, rich and concentrated, showing plenty of snap to the crisp and well-spiced flavors of wild berry, dark currant and plum tart. Orange-infused chocolate notes linger on the exotic, mocha-filled finish. Best from 2020 through 2045.” Kim Marcus, September 2013
95 Points James Suckling
“Beautiful aromas of violets and blueberries with hints of blue slate. Full body, medium sweet with chewy tannins and a long, long finish. A leafy, stemmy, nutty undertone to this with hints of shaved milk chocolate. Very refined and beautiful.” May 2013.
95 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2011 Croft is initially taciturn on the nose, even after allowing it 20 minutes in my glass. A light swirling immediately awakens the aromatics to offer blackberry, Seville orange marmalade, blueberries and dried fig – complex and quite compelling. There is real mineralité within this bouquet that, returning after 30 minutes, offers alluring ocean spray scents rolling in off the ocean. The palate is medium-bodied with a velvety-smooth opening that belies the fine, structured tannins underneath. It clams up a little towards the finish, shuts the lid tight and consequently there is the sensation of less persistency here compared to the Taylor’s or Fonseca. But Croft has a knack of filling out with bottle age and becomes both gentle and generous with the passing years.” Neal Martin, Eroberparker.com,
Notes on Viticultural Year and Harvest
The winter preceding the 2011 harvest was cold and wet. The weather station at Croft’s Quinta da Roêda registered 496 mm of rainfall between 1st November and 31st March compared to a 30-year average of 358mm. The rain proved very beneficial, replenishing depleted ground water reserves and allowing a balanced ripening of the grapes during the hot dry summer which followed. Budburst occurred at the normal time towards the end of the third week of March and wet and relatively warm conditions in April encouraged vigorous growth. From early May conditions turned generally dry and remained so for most of the summer.
Only 12 mm of rain fell at Roêda in the months of May, June and July compared to a 30-year average of 105 mm. In spite of the arid conditions the vines were able to draw water from the ground reserves providing ideal conditions for balanced ripening of the grapes. The hot dry weather in August was broken at the ideal moment by two spells of rainfall, on 21st August and 1st September, which rounded off the ripening season and produced a balanced and evenly mature crop.
Picking began at Quinta da Roêda on 10th September in excellent harvesting conditions. Fermentation times were long, allowing for complete and even extraction, and the musts in the quinta’s lagares showed exceptionally intense colour and aroma.
A classic Taylor Vintage Port, stylish and poised. The 2011 displays the purity of fruit, fine scented quality and firm linear tannins that are hallmarks of the house style, as well as the characteristic Taylor combination of power and refinement.
20/20 Jancis Robinson
“This is restrained. Well mannered, discreet, keeps its powder very dry. But on the palate it opens out in the most superb, burgundian peacock’s tail sort of way….Upright and straight backed. But irreproachable. My gums are virtually impervious to sugar and acid but this wine set them vibrating a bit. Dried prunes ground up with rocks.” 2013-05-01
96 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2011 Taylor’s Vintage has a multifaceted, Pandora’s Box of a nose that is mercurial in the glass: cassis at first before blackberry and raspberry politely ask it to move aside, followed by wilted rose petals and Dorset plum. Returning after one 45 minutes that nose has shut up shop. The palate is sweet and sensual on the entry, plush and opulent, with copious black cherries, boysenberry and cassis fruit, curiously more reminiscent of Fonseca! It just glides across the palate with a mouth coating, glycerine tinged finish that has a wonderful lightness of touch, demonstrating how Vintage Port is so much more accessible in its youth nowadays. But don’t let that fool you into dismissing the seriousness or magnitude of this outstanding Taylor’s.” Neal Martin, Erobertparker.com 2013-05-01
97 Points Derek Smedley MW
“The nose is deep and brooding yet it has the fragrance of violets rockroses, cedar wood and a hint of nutmeg. There is an intensity of flavour about the palate black cherry mingles with blackcurrant rich deep sumptuous. The fleshy richness is supported by seamless sinewy tannins with the freshness of bilberry and bramble giving a slightly lighter feel at the back bringing out a mix of exotic perfumes.” 2013-05-01
Deep purple black with narrow magenta rim. The heady and powerfully aromatic nose displays a characteristic abundance of rich plump fruit and the exotic notes of eucalyptus and rock rose which are the hallmark of the Quinta da Roêda wines on which the blend is based. Juicy and luscious on the palate, with discreet and well fused tannins and a long generous finish.
93 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
“There is a nice limpidity on this Croft 2007. It is not the power that strikes you but the purity with black cherries, liquorices, violets and a hint of iodine. Very tight and focused. The palate is full-bodied with chewy tannins on the entry, pure blackberry, raspberry, white pepper and Asian spice towards the finish. Very fine focus, very pure and harmonious. Sensuous finish but it just tapers away when I need more grip and assertiveness. Still, this is a lovely Croft.” Neal Martin, May 2009.
92 points Wine Spectator.
“Shows aromas of very ripe fruit and sweet tobacco, with hints of earth and spices. Full-bodied and medium sweet, with round, velvety tannins and a long, fruity finish. Likeable for its soft texture. Best after 2016. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.” (05/09)
Notes on Viticultural Year and Harvest
The 2007 growing season was preceded by a wet winter that replenished water reserves after four hot, dry years. The humid conditions continued into spring and early summer with lower than average temperatures combined with periods of rain. There were no significant periods of intense heat during the summer months. This ensured that the leaf canopies were in an exceptionally healthy condition and able to benefit from the warm weather that preceded the harvest.
The first two weeks of September saw constant daily temperatures of between 35ºC and 38ºC. These warm and dry conditions brought the crop to perfect maturity, advancing the production of sugar and phenolics while retaining the excellent natural acidity resulting from the relatively cool summer. As a result the harvest produced perfectly balanced musts which have produced stylish and elegant wines, full of vitality, with a superb fresh concentrated fruit character.
LBV Unfiltered comes from one single year and one single harvest. Whereas its richer cousin, the Vintage, is bottled in the second year, this wine is bottled in the fourth year. Smoother than the Vintage, more developed and easier to drink. It is a powerful, defiant, full-bodied and harmonious wine. It is a wine familiar with the flavours of chocolate and cheese. After the bottle is opened it remains at its best for a further 15 to 30 days, if properly stored. It is a wine that is not filtered and can therefore either be drunk immediately or be left forgotten in a cellar, developing further complexity.
93 Points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
“The tannins are rather drying and aggressive on first pour, even if the big fruit is also front-and-center. It is certainly a very different vision of LBV Port than a lot of people will be accustomed to, but it does begin to come around with extended aeration (and a couple of days in the fridge). Fragrant and laced with strong fruit flavors, this ultimately showed beautifully. It really needs some more time in the cellar, but it is approachable if you give it some aeration.”
Gold Medal Decanter World Wine Awards
“Gold Medal World Wine Awards 2014 – Gold Medal & Regional Trophy – Vibrant and full of rich fruit, this is still youthful in colour and shows both ripeness and pleasing restraint on the nose. Spice notes, violet, lavender and deep, dark fruit flavours have lovely freshness, and firm, ripe tannins give good grip. Nicely defined with plenty of complexity to keep it going.” June 2014
Grapes varieties: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca.
Food pairing: Cheese soufflé, Partridge with glazed shallots and artichokes, Game, Cheeses, Chocolate and red fruits desserts.
Ramos Pinto. History.
Founded in 1880 by brothers Adriano and Antonio, this Port house has always had a pioneering spirit. In the early 20th century it became noted for its innovative and enterprising commercial strategies including the distinctive art nouveau advertising campaign.
Among Port producers, Ramos Pinto enjoys the distinction of holding the largest proportion of vineyards in relation to its production, giving them a high degree of control over viticultural methods at harvest time. The House tends 187 hectares (460 acres) of prime vineyards in the Alto Corgo and Douro Superior areas of the famed Douro region, the mountainous valleys formed by the Douro River and its tributaries.
All situated in the areas of the Cima-Corgo and the Douro Superior, the four quintas or estates that make up Ramos Pinto’s holdings are:
Quinta do Bom Retiro: in Pinhão, planted exclusively with red varieties.
Quinta da Urtiga: adjacent to Bom Retiro.
Quinta da Ervamoira: in the far upper Douro, by the Côa river near the Spanish border. Here the grapes grow in dry semi-desert conditions.
Quinta dos Bons Ares: a cooler site with some of the highest vineyards in the Douro. Both red and white varieties ripen here with great natural acidity and fresh flavours.
The award-winning 10, 20 and 30 year old Tawnies are produced at Quinta da Ervamoira and Bom Retiro respectively.
Brilliant pale lemon yellow. Fruit forward wine showing notes of citrus fruits, mango and passion fruit. Well balanced, elegant and intense.
86 Points Wine Spectator
“As fresh as can be, this is a bright, lively and lightly perfumed wine. It has grapefruit, apricot fruit and a touch of minerality. Drink through 2015.”
This unique, balanced, aromatic varietal expresses the true potential of this variety allied to the Estate’s complex soil geology and climatic conditions. Clear, pale straw with green hues. Vibrant grassy aroma with tropical and citric fruit notes of lime and grapefruit. The palate is fresh and elegant with mineral notes and a clean acid finish which is long and persistent.
A delight for any Port lover, this beautifully crafted wooden box houses three wines from the stellar 2011 vintage from the houses of Fonseca, Taylor’s and Croft.
Fonseca Vintage Port 2011
97-99 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
“The Fonseca 2011 is typically more forthcoming on the nose compared to the bashful Croft: a strident bouquet with lifted scents of freshly picked blackberries, kirsch, crushed stone and a dash of Hoi Sin and oyster sauce. It is very well-defined, very focused and direct. The palate is silky smooth with not a rough edge in sight, though not a typically voluptuous Fonseca because of the keen thread of acidity and the structure that lends this mighty Port wonderful backbone. A slight viscosity on the finish lacquers the tongue and indicates a core of sweet fruit is ticking away underneath that will surely explode several years after bottling. A tincture of salted licorice on the aftertaste is very attractive. This will turn out to become an outstanding Fonseca, the growing season taming its exuberance with spectacular results. So much potential, but just 6,000 cases were produced.” (NM) (6/2013)
98 Points Wine Spectator
“Massive, concentrated and powerful, this offers lush, heady flavors of dark plum, blackberry and cherry tart, with touches of anise. Shows plenty of grip as well, featuring a long, rich finish of dark chocolate, toffee and cream. Best from 2040 through 2060.” (2/2014)
97 Points Wine Enthusiast
“A powerful, spicy wine, luscious in its peppered berry fruits and sweet tannins. The structure is dramatic, offering a smooth texture as well as a drier core. With its weight, density and dark, final character. This is a wine for serious aging.” (11/2013)
96 Points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Bright, saturated dark ruby. Spectacularly multifaceted nose combines high-pitched medicinal cherry, briary black raspberry, pungent menthol, dried herbs, incense, Indian spices and a whiff of passion fruit. Boasts great creamy depth and vinosity to its black raspberry and licorice flavors, with huge sweetness buffered by spicy minerality. The note of passion fruit carries through on the palate. Really reverberates on the back end, finishing with powerful tannins and a rising whiplash of flavor. This got better and better with extended aeration, with the tannins making it obvious that it will be extremely long-lived.” (5/2014)
95 Points James Suckling
“Very grapy and leafy with hints of spices on the nose. Full body, medium sweet with fine, chewy tannins. Powerful, long finish with nuts and shaved chocolate. This young Fonseca has grip. 6,000 cases produced of this foot-trodden wine. Try in 2022.” (5/2013)
19.5/20 Points.Jancis Robinson
“Heady, opulent nose. Completely enveloping, Smells as though there is going to be the most fabulous texture. Wow! All stops pulled out for this one. It’s all absolutely gorgeous intensity of sweet fruit on the front palate and then gradually the schist and structure reveal themselves. This is really wonderful stuff. So tempting to sip it decades before it is ready.” (5/2013)