The winter preceding the 2011 harvest was wetter and colder than the 30-year average. Budburst occurred as usual mid March and warm weather and rainfall in April produced vigorous growth. At the beginning of May dry conditions set in and there was little rainfall in eastern areas of the Douro until late August. However the vines were able to draw from the plentiful ground water reserves built up during the previous winter and bunches developed and ripened in ideal conditions. Véraison occurred a little earlier than usual on 15th June. Mild weather in June and July was broken only by a heat wave in the second half of June. August was hot and dry, with perfectly timed rainfall on 21st August and 1st September rounding off an excellent ripening season and producing a well balanced crop.
Quinta de Vargellas, in the Douro Superior, was the first Taylor property to start harvesting on 10th September. Here as elsewhere the crop showed high sugar levels balanced by excellent acidity. In the Pinhão Valley, harvesting started at Quinta do Junco and the upper part of Quinta de Terra Feita on 14th September and in the lower part of Terra Feita the following day. Fermentations were long, allowing balanced and complete extraction, and musts displayed intense colour and powerful fruit character from the outset.
TASTING NOTES: Impenetrable blue-black colour with narrow purple rim. Intricate and finely constituted, the nose displays classic Taylor elegance and poise. A dense core of pure complex fruit, redolent of blackberry and cassis, is enveloped in a fragrant aura of violets. Resiny garrigue scents and subtle notes of of liquorice and black coffee emerge as the nose develops.
On the palate, taut, linear tannins provide a solid framework. Fine berry fruit flavours linger into the finish where the tannins re-emerge to provide an attractive touch of austerity. This is textbook Taylor’s, the fine aromas and distinctive floral character of Vargellas blending with the dense dark woodland fruit and herbal scents of Terra Feita to produce a stylish wine with the unmistakable Taylor combination of stamina and refinement.
THE WINE ADVOCATE: 96-98 Points / 28th Jun 2013.