2011 Williams Selyem Port Vista Verde Vineyard 375 ml

Year: 2011
Appellation: San Benito County
Country: USA-California
Wine Enthusiast: 93
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
Price :

"Rich and roasty on the nose, this excellent Port-style wine shows aromas of cherry cordial, charred fennel, black sage and roast beef. The dense sip offers black cherry, espresso, blueberry jelly and thick chocolate flavors, enhanced by a hint of menthol and Scotch-like elements. Editors’ Choice. -M.K." (WE)

Winery Notes:
Winemaker’s Notes:
Toffee, blackberry pie, and mulling spices counterpoint each other in this classically made port. Crafted from traditional Portuguese varieties, the 2011 Port offers a dizzying array of aromas and flavors. Perfectly balanced acidity and mature tannins meld with subtle flavors of molasses and dark chocolate before finishing with a surprising citrus lift. The perfect way to end a meal. Or, pair with Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s molten chocolate cake.

The Vineyard:
Vista Verde Vineyard is located a couple miles southeast of Hollister, California, near the small town of Tres Pinos in San Benito County. This heavy limestone vineyard is separated into blocks that include clones such as Calera, Canada, and Pommard.

Harvest 2011:
The 2011 vintage was marked by another cool year that produced wines with tremendous purity and depth. Similar in many ways to 2010 – without the extremes – it had very low yields and below average cooler weather. But, the growing season in 2011 was much more consistent with gentle warming days and very cold summer nights. As a consequence, the vintage produced wines with incredible purity, remarkable acid and tannin balance, while expressing the uniqueness of each individual site and region.

The winter months brought abundant rainfall and kept the soil moist and cold.Bud break was delayed until the last week of March. Cool and overcast spring weather allowed for a slow growth cycle of the vines and likewise delayed flowering by a week to ten days. It rained several times at the end of May and early June, which affected the berry set and shattered many clusters — up to 20% of the berries on a cluster did not set. The rain also created protracted flowering and therefore a wider range of berry maturity. This type of flowering is similar to what typically happens in coastal vineyards. With a wide range of berry development with respect to flavor and tannin, the resultant wines exhibit a tremendous amount of depth and complexity.

The cool spring gave way to beautiful and mild weather in early summer and the lighter crop was able to mature at an even pace. In late August, the fog rolled in a little heavier than normal, which slowed down ripening a small amount. Harvest commenced on September 7th, and continued at an even pace until the remainder of the grapes were harvested just prior to the early October rains. Overall, yields were down in almost every vineyard – almost 25% lower in some cases.

The 2011 vintage may initially be remembered for the lower yields, but it will be defined by some incredibly site-driven and expressive wines. The signature of this vintage is one where the wines have bright fruit qualities, sound acidities and elegant tannin profiles. It is truly a vintage worth seeking.