An Absolute Classic
Opulent wild blackberries, fragrance of violets, scents of flowers and wild herbs, rockrose, mint, hints of spice, bottled in their time capsule and left to mull over for years. The finish is long and persistent. It never really finishes, in fact, because just as it starts to, you’ll take another sip.
We are not satisfied with anything less than perfection. And nor should you be. So, we only ‘declare’ a Vintage year when the weather has been idyllic and everyone is feeling very happy about things in general. Our reputation hangs on the quality of our Vintage Port: it is our pride and joy. So, we don’t take it lightly. Making Vintage Port is a serious business, but you don’t need to be serious to drink it, you only need to enjoy.
We search our best mountain vineyards for the grapes to make our Vintage Port. We measure and weigh the bunches of grapes individually as we prepare for the harvest to ensure each one is perfect. The grapes for our Vintage Port come from our home at Quinta dos Canais – a magical place, you have to see it – as well as Quinta do Vale Coelho, just next door and a little further east, and Quinta do Cachão do Arnozelo.
Vintage Port is the creation of the weather and of nature. We are at the mercy of the gods. We pick the grapes and tread them in our 'lagares' (treading tanks) that same night. Later we let the wines rest in wooden vats for no more than 18 months. We bottle them as they are: unfiltered, totally natural. And once they are in their time capsules, they slowly mature for many years. It is not unusual for one of our Vintage Ports to be in fantastic condition after 50 or more years in the bottle.
2007 was the year of the first Cockburn’s Vintage Port made by the Symington Family, winemakers in the Douro for over a hundred years. This family took over Cockburn’s in 2006. And what has the international wine community been saying? Pride restored.
Vintage Port needs to lie down during its years of slumber after it has been bottled. Keep it in a cool, dark, dry place, where it can rest in peace. At about 15 to 20 years old Vintage Port will start to show the characteristics of slow ageing in bottle and it will taste really exceptional. By then it will have gained silky elegance and complexity. But you can enjoy it earlier, if you prefer a more intense, fruity experience. It will go on for many years after that too.
After years in bottle, Vintage Port throws a natural sediment in the bottle. There’s no need to worry about this. You just need to decant the wine before serving. Decanting is easy. Let us show you how. Vintage Port should be served in generous wine glasses, not the small thimble-like glasses in which most of the aromas and flavours are lost. Fine white wine glasses would do the trick, for example, or indeed specific Port glasses from Riedel. Serve it slightly cooler than average room temperature, but not chilled. It will stay at its peak for a few days once decanted, just like any other great red wine.