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Wine Reviews

Kopke 10 Years Old Tawny Porto

 

Kopke stands as the longest standing Port house with a history that stretches over 380 years - the family run business continues to maintain a cellar of fortified wines produced from beyond 100 years ago, and till this day commands such elusive power over Port wine lovers with their top of the line, best of harvest Colheita expressions.

For those new to the scene, Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine (wine that has distilled neutral grape spirit added to stop the fermentation, originally invented as a preservative) that is only produced in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal - it is a sweet, dense wine (there are both red and white versions depending on the grapes used) and is typically served as a dessert wine.

 

Kopke's cellars boast a history of fortified wines produced over 100 years ago.

 

Well, as I write this review, I'm up in the air some several thousand feet and so you can imagine the selection here is limited to what can be fitted into an airplane cabin. Nonetheless, to my delight, I spotted an entry level Kopke 10 Year Old Tawny which precipitates a recap of this glorious Port house.

Kopke's beginnings started when Nicolau Kopke had journeyed from Hamburg to Portugal to join the Hanseatic League - a trading block of sorts. He became the Consul General of the League, and was based in Portugal, and thus began shipping wine over over to Northern Europe in 1638. His company thus found its life in the fertile soils of Portugal's wine valleys.

Over a century later, the Kopke family would purchase a farm in Portugal's famous Douro Valley, known for its rich soils that produced amongst the finest grapes - Kopke would evolve from wine buyer to becoming a major Port wine producer - largely recognised as the first Port House.

 

Kopke's Quinta de São Luiz estate in the Douro Valley.

 

By 1922, the Kopke house would be offered an opportunity to expand their vineyards to the highly sought after Upper Douro, the oldest demarcated and regulated wine growing region and also a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site - they would acquire the Quinta de Sao Luiz estate and begin producing DOC Douro wine there.

Kopke primarily uses the Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao grape varietals, all of which come from vines that are classified as A - best in the "Demarcated Region of the Douro". It also produced both red and white Port wines, with Colheita ("single harvest Port", meaning all the grapes used for the wine coming from a single vintage, typically for exceptional vintages) expressions released for select vintages.

Let's give this 10 Year Old a go!

Kopke 10 Years Old Tawny Porto - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Tawny, Brownish Deep Ruby

Aroma: Bright aromatic sweetness, with a touch of nuttiness of walnuts. There’s a light charcuterie savouriness as well, with a hint of grape skins pomace astringency. More on dried tobacco leaves, manuka honey, lacquered wood and leather.

Taste: A bright but thick manuka honey herbal sweetness with a touch of Pei Pa Koa eucalyptus and bitterness. It is lightly tart of red grape skins and then more onto maltose candy, kuromitsu black sugar and cola syrup. 

Finish: A nice glow of the dense sweetness of cooked plums in honey and brown sugar. This fades into more on Pei Pa Koa cough syrup - honeyed sweet and herbal but also lightly bitter.

 

My Thoughts

A good starter Port - it’s really enjoyable and drinkable with a brightness and expressiveness that makes folks love Port - all those goodies are here! It has all the dense sweetness amalgamated by more herbal and tart notes that give it a good amount of complexity.

The youth does show towards the mid palate where it doesn’t go any deeper and of course the brightness comes with some more apparent tannins and tartness. The finish gets a touch drying too.

This would be notches higher if it had more depth and body, with a more restrained drying quality and tartness - but then again that’s asking too much of a 10 Year Old Port! Be reasonable now, Kopke has plenty of options higher up the rung if that’s where you want to go.

So all in all, good stuff! It has all the flavours you want, really expressive and distinct notes and more complexity than you can bargain for really. A good entry Port for anyone looking to try some!

 

My Rating: 6/10 

  

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, would buy if I could. 
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most whiskies, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

 

 

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot