Last year I had a chance to sit with winemaker Carla Tiago and try some extraordinary ports, including 50 year-old white and 50 year-old tawny Ports. Today we swing back around to try Kopke’s more modest offerings, including two 10 year olds, a 20 year old, and a late bottled vintage offering. That isn’t to suggest the quality doesn’t impress. Kopke is doing some outstanding work both at the high end and the low. The white Port is particularly exciting since aged white Port rarely finds its way into stores or restaurants in the U.S., and Kopke’s offerings deserve serious attention. Let’s pop some corks and see what each bottle has to offer.
Kopke White Port 10 Years Old – Pouring amber gold in the glass, this aged white Port has an expressive nose of rich honey, floral honeysuckle, and graham cracker. The palate follows suit beautifully. Big, thick notes of honey come first, coating the mouth. Midpalate, floral notes of honeysuckle appear along with zippy acidity, which balances the honey nicely and keeps it from becoming cloying. This is a sweet Port, but all notes are in balance. The finish is long and delicious as the honey and honeysuckle linger then slowly dissipate. Pair it with graham crackers or gingerbread cookies for a perfect dessert. If you haven’t been impressed by white Port before, it’s time to give it another try. A / $67
Kopke Tawny Port 10 Years Old – Although this port is only ten years old, the nose shows surprising complexity. Notes of raisin are balanced by leather, caramel, light balsamic vinegar, and a touch of licorice. The palate follows suit and shows similar nuance. Bold raisin notes come first, which are quickly balanced by caramel, licorice, and nice acidity. This is not as sweet as most of the Ports that make it to U.S. markets, but some will appreciate that. With its moderate sweetness and high acidity, this Port will pair brilliantly with blue cheese. A- / $35
Kopke Tawny Port 20 Years Old – At 20 years of age, this tawny Port has a much more reserved nose than its younger sibling. Raisins still come first. Leather and balsamic notes follow, but here they are a bit more pronounced than in the 10 years old. There is also a light note of dusty cocoa. Taking a sip, all subtlety disappears as the Port bursts with flavor. Deep, rich notes of raisin and dried fig come first along with balsamic vinegar and zippy acidity. Caramel appears midpalate, coating the tongue along with gentle wood tannins. The finish is long and satisfying as the dried fruit notes, caramel, wood, and acidity slowly recede and disappear. A / $72
2018 Kopke Late Bottled Vintage Port – This wine is naturally quite different from the aged tawny Ports. It pours inky purple in the glass. The nose shows juicy plum, raisin, licorice, and light balsamic vinegar, along with some boozy alcohol. The palate follows suit, with fruit notes coming first, including raisin and plum, as well as licorice, generous acidit,y and a bit of an alcohol burn. The finish is medium in length. This is a fine L.B.V., but Kopke’s other, aged Ports are far superior and worth the extra cost. B / $27