Kopke’s liquid gold

Kopke 1935 Colheita white port 

Some smaller wine countries have so much to offer. Today’s ‘Wines of Portugal’ tasting had a bit of everything – light and refreshing Vinho Verde with a touch of spritz, lots of new style modern wines with contemporary labelling, profound Douro reds, individual whites (e.g., G. R. Alves de Sousa, Pessoal, current release 2008), the original Mateus Rosé Kopke 1935and of course a range of Ports and Madeiras.  It is completely invidious to pick out one wine out of all these but here goes.  

D’Oliveiras are famous for their old Madeiras and duly obliged with a 1981 Sercial, a 1993 Boal and a 1996 Malvasia. Sandeman  put on a bit of a show with their increasingly concentrated and remarkable 20-, 30- and40-year old tawny Ports. But the aged-wine prize has to go to Kopke’s line up of tawnies.  I limited myself to the 1966 Colheita, very silky and knit together, almost to point of losing complexity, and the stunning 1957 Colheita with its layers of dried fruit, leather and mushroom and much more.  But the real rarity was the 1935 white Colheita. This was made like a red tawny, that is with lots of skin contact and extraction in a lagar. The varieties include Gouveio, Viosinho and Malvasia Fina.  It has spent the intervening eight, yes, eight decades in a cask, for fabulous concentration, richness and sweetness.  This was a great treat and a fitting pointer to the remarkable diversity which is Portuguese wine.

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