Decades of Port: Our Annual Kopke Colheita Offer 1937-2008

Posted on: 09/20/18 12:01 PM


It’s September, fall is coming and while we’ll all be sad to see summer go, this does bring one thing to be excited about. It’s time for our annual Kopke Port extravaganza!

Kopke are the kings of tawny port, keeping what must be the world’s biggest and best collection of back vintages, going back decades and decades. Each year they select some of these wines to release small quantities of to select suppliers. Each year we are proud to be involved, and each time they represent some of the most remarkable wine buys that it’s possible to make.

There are two sides to consider here in particular, one is simply that these are ridiculously rare, ridiculously good, and ridiculously well priced for wines of this age. The other is that I know people love to have these wines to mark specific occasions, birth years, anniversaries, or whatever else is worth marking with a brilliant old wine from a particular vintage. The mistake that people often make is waiting until they actually need these things to act. If you call us up in three years and ask what we’ve got from 1981 you’re likely to be out of luck- these wines are rare enough that you need to buy them when they’re offered.

All of these are limited, but I’ve also marked a few with stars that are in particularly short supply. Finally, do take particular note here of the unusual opportunity to buy top class examples of perhaps the most fascinating and rare style of port- high end whites. Normally white point is pretty functional stuff- best mixed with tonic and a slice of lemon for a refreshing aperitif. It will come as no surprise that Kopke are an exception, these are brilliantly complex wines that are very difficult to describe. Try some for yourself!

More about the Wines:

The vast majority of tawny ports are bottled with a general age statement reflecting what is essentially a rough average age of the wine in the bottle, for example “Ten Year Old” or “Twenty Year Old”. The very finest however, are held back and aged in barrel for a minimum of seven years (though, obviously, the majority of these have been way longer than that) before they can be bottled as single vintage ‘Colheita’ port. The undisputed leader when it comes to these Colheitas are Kopke. The oldest port house in existence (founded 1638), they specialize in them, as opposed to the traditional British houses (Graham’s, Dow’s, Taylor’s, etc.), who are best known for their various ruby ports.

Classic notes for these will be dried fruits, nuts, citrus, spices, and caramel. The older you go the more complexity you get, and the smoother the profile becomes. Aside from being quite stunningly delicious, these wines have something else rather convenient going for them due to their extended ageing in barrel; once you open one, you have days and, sometimes, weeks, rather than hours in which to enjoy it before it starts to decline. The pleasure of having one of these open for a few days and coming back to it time after time is one that is hard to match, but that’s only if you can resist finishing it the first time round…

Posted in Daily Flash By Guy Davies