Monthly Archives: March 2013

Kopke Vintage Port tasting

At the Wine Society 18% we arranged a tasting on the 21st of March of the oldest port house – Kopke. Kopke is perhaps more known for their Tawnies and cheaper ports but they have been producing Vintage Port since the 19th century.
We started the evening with the 300 years jubilee dry tawny (1638 – 1938). It was a very typical nice tawny with a very dry style. It was probably not meant to be kept for another 75 years but it was still a very decent and fresh wine.


For the tasting we had set up eleven, what we thought would be, mature and nice Vintages. The oldest from 1970 and the youngest from 1997.

The following Vintage Ports were in the tasting:

  • Vintage 1997
  • Vintage 1996
  • Vintage 1995
  • Vintage 1994
  • Vintage 1991
  • Vintage 1987 Quinta Sao Luiz
  • Vintage 1985
  • Vintage 1979 Quinta Sao Luiz
  • Vintage 1979
  • Vintage 1974
  • Vintage 1970

The first three were still very young. Both Vintages 1997 and 1996 still have some juicy fruit and the 1996 showed a very impressive concentration in the fruit.
Vintage 1994 was a disappointment, perhaps it was because it was served from half-bottles (they normally mature faster). If the 1994 was disappointing the 1991 was more as expected from a Vintage port just over twenty years. It was perfectly mature with nice soft tannins and a very good balance. The 1985 Vintage was very similar to the 1991 but with a larger body and in fact a bit more to go. The 1987 Quinta Sao Luiz was not quite ok, it had a strange and not so attractive bouquet, some kind of defect in this particular bottle.


All four Vintages from the 1970’s were very elegant and nice. It was interesting to taste both the ordinary Kopke and the Single Quinta from Sao Luiz from the same Vintage – 1979. We actually had the Kopke 1979 in a tasting of the 1979 Vintage last month and it showed the exact same elegancy and long soft style this time. The Quinta Sao Luiz was actually a bit better, with some more complexity, even if they were very similar. The 1974 was very mature and over its peak, but still ok.
Finally we had the Vintage 1970. This is a fantastic perfectly mature Vintage Port. It shows all the elegancy and complexity a mature Vintage Port can have and it was the outstanding top scorer of the evening.

For points and tasting notes see our Kopke page and Quinta Sao Luiz page.

Semi-Great Vintage Port Tasting 1979

Vintage 1979

First we would like to announce that after about 18 months this web site has now reached 25,000 visitors!! We are of course very happy and proud to see the great interest from all over the world.

Last week we were all participating in the first of several planned 20th anniversary tastings of  the Wine Society 18%. We have decided to hold some extra tastings during the year 2013 and we started our celebration with a Vintage tasting of 1979.

This Vintage was an off vintage, and was judge as Average. The large producers did not declare, they instead declared their Single Quinta Vintages like Quinta do Bomfim (Dow’s) and Quinta da Cavadinha (Warre’s). According to the Port Wine Institute only 13 houses declared. Michael Broadbent gave this vintage ** out of 5*, Suckling gave it 74 points out of 100 points.


We call it Semi-Great because we had only 11 Vintages and not 20 Vintages which is our limit for calling it a Great Tasting.  In addition to the 11 Vintages we had two extra ports from 1979, LBV 1979 from Smith-Woodhouse, bottled in 1984 and Colheita 1979 from Niepoort, bottled in 1988. Both extra wines were included in the tasting and were given points. The Smith-Woodhouse LBV had Group points 15.63 and Group Ranking 7 and Niepoort’s Colheita 1979 had Group Points 14.7 and Group Ranking 11.

Most of the Vintage Ports showed a very mature pale tawny like colour, but they were surprisingly fresh in the glass and many of them showed a nice elegancy even if they were a bit over their peak. Two of eleven bottles were unfortunately too old.

As usual the Vintages from the Symingtons (Quinta da Cavadinha, Quinta do Bomfim and Grahams Malvedos) were very well preserved, being a bit darker in colour and still some fruit in the taste. We  agreed that Quinta do Bomfim and Grahams Malvedos were the best.

Read more, also tasting notes, here…