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The Wine Spectator Top 100: Making the Case for 2011 Vintage Port

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The unveiling of the Wine Spectator Wine of the Year for 2013 begins Monday, November 11th. The reveal of the Top 100 Wines of the Year is without question the most anticipated print version of the publication, and the online countdown has taken on a life of its own, with consumers clamoring to predict the top wine of the year. Wines selected for inclusion on the list are determined by Wine Spectator editors based on quality, price, availability and “excitement” factors.

Many wine collectors and consumers speculate on the Wine of the Year, purchasing bottles in advance of the publication date: Recent winners, including the ’09 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast and ’07 Saxum James Berry, have appreciated in price by more than 400%.

For the past four years, the top wine has been produced by a domestic winery. Starting in 2009, they have been the ’05 Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, ’07 Saxum Jame Berry , ’09 Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast and ’08 Shafer Relentless. Last year, I made the argument that the top spot should go to a 2009 Bordeaux and while I do love Bordeaux, and could make a case for a 2010, this year the title should be awarded to a Vintage Port from the glorious 2011 vintage.  

The 2013 Wine of the Year should be a 2011 Vintage Port.

It has been 16 years since a vintage port has garnered wine of the year status. In 1997 the ’94 Taylor Fladgate and ’94 Fonseca, both of which scored 100 points, were co wines of the year. Using the Wine Spectator Vintage Charts as a guide, the ’11 vintage is every bit as good as other highly regarded vintages including ’07, ’94 and ’85. On top of that vintage port is widely available, made in large quantities and compared to recent vintages of Bordeaux – extremely affordable.

The question now becomes, “Which Port should be given the title?” The Dow, at 99 points and easy to find for under $100, comes to mind, as does the Quinta do Vesuvio at 98 points and once again under $100. I think you will be hard pressed to find wines with equivalent scores at similar prices. The region of Bordeaux is long overdue, but you just can’t overlook the exceptional vintage Ports from 2011.

The Wine of the Year is always a great discussion topic among wine lovers – everyone has an opinion. As always, I would love to hear yours!

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1 thought on “The Wine Spectator Top 100: Making the Case for 2011 Vintage Port

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more, Tom! The 2013 Wine Spectator “Wine Of The Year” should come from 2011 Vintage Port. Extremely difficult to find better quality at the price point offered by these beauties. Easy to find and purchase too because of the large quantity produced. And, that’s what “Wine Of The Year” is all about: high quality, reasonable price, easy accessibility. 2011 Vintage Port offers all these things. Moreover, I really like your two candidates for “Wine Of The Year”: either Dow at 99 points or Quinta do Vesuvio at 98 points would be ideal.

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