Croft Vintage Port 2011
One of the original founding Port houses, Croft traces its origins to 1588 when the company was established in England by Henry Thompson, a member of the Merchants Company of York. The Croft family, who joined the partnership in 1736 and gave the firm its present name, served the Port trade with great distinction.
Croft is one of the most famous Vintage Port producers. Its reputation derives from its ownership of Quinta da Roêda, one of the finest estates in the Douro Valley, and from such legendary wines as the Croft 1945, recognised as one of the best of that landmark year. In 2001 this distinguished and historic firm was acquired by the owners of the Taylor and Fonseca Port houses and since this return to family ownership has consolidated its position as a ‘first growth’ Vintage Port producer.
Croft’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, commented: “The 2011 harvest in the Douro Valley followed a near-perfect ripening season which produced wonderfully balanced, classic Ports. The quality was apparent from the outset and has been confirmed by the development of the wines since harvest time. The Croft 2011 Vintage Port has the richness and aromatic complexity which are the hallmarks of the house style but also impressive structure and depth of flavour. This is one of the most muscular and powerful of recent Croft Vintages.”
It is the distinctive wines of Quinta da Roêda, with their characteristic scented quality, rich, round supple texture, opulent fruitiness and heady aroma, which are the cornerstone of the Croft Vintage Port style. These characteristics are clearly expressed in the wonderfully scented Croft 2011.
Head Winemaker David Guimaraens commented: “The old historic vineyard plots at Quinta da Roêda performed particularly well in 2011 and this has given the Croft Vintage Port an additional layer of density and depth of flavour. The quality of the tannins is also outstanding, silky and well-integrated but with a powerful grip on the finish.”
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 from 1st November and 31st March compared to a 30-year average of 358 mm. 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.