July Wines of the Month: The Society’s Exhibition Alvarinho & Kopke 1960 Colheita Port
My July Wines of the Month are a contrary Portuguese pair when in comes to style, provenance and price point. But they are both fantastic buys and rather moreish, indeed “dangerous,” as leading Portuguese wine critic João Paulo Martins described the Kopke.
The Wine Society’s Exhibition Alvarinho 2019 (Monção e Melgaço, DOC Vinho Verde)
I’m in the midst of tasting lots of Vinho Verde wines at the moment for a Regional Profile and have written up a thrilling Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho vertical, both for Decanter Premium. It could not be clearer that the 2019 vintage is an out and out cracker for Vinho Verde, with beautiful fruit intensity, purity and balance. Definitely one to snap up. From the variety’s Monção e Melgaço heartland, this modestly-priced Alvarinho is made by Adega de Monção, one of the country’s best co-operatives. Tasting The Wine Society’s Exhibition Alvarinho took me back to 2012, when the 2010 vintage of Adega de Monção’s best-selling Alvarinho brand, Deu La Deu, triumphed at Decanter World Wine Awards 2012. It memorably bagged the competition’s first ever gold medal for a Portuguese white wine, before going on to win the international trophy for the best white single varietal wine over £10. Like Deu La Deu, The Wine Society’s Exhibition Alvarinho is a classic, dry, unoaked example, with great varietal typicity. It reveals enticing honeysuckle, apricot, cool pear and sunny pineapple to nose and palate. Nice fruit weight, persistence and balance to the smooth, poised palate, with hints of fennel salt coming through. The medium finish reflects the price, but what I really enjoyed about this wine is the beautiful ripe core of fruit. The variety, not inoculated yeast/cool ferment flavours, drive the palate. Suffice to say, it was still tasting well on days two and three. Spot on, it is one of 57 wines (shortlisted from 1,102) included in The Wine Society’s annual Wine Champions’ offer which, like Decanter’s champions, is selected after blind tasting. 13% £8.95 at The Wine Society
Kopke Colheita Tawny Port 1960
Last month, Kopke launched two extraordinary ‘new’ Colheita Ports (report to follow), showcasing earlier vintage test tube babies alongside for (delicious) context (you can see the launch video here). As if the vintage (1940) was not rare enough, the ante was distinctly upped, with tawny and uber-rare white releases. Suffice to say, these very limited release ports are costly, expected to retail at £899 and £799, or as a pair at £1399. Perhaps my comment about this £235 Colheita Port being a fabulous buy makes sense now! Having tasted a full bottle over a few days, Port expert Richard Mayson remarked about its initially high-toned, lifted nose giving way to a wonderfully approachable port. And so it was with my test tube sample, with its edgy chutney/pickled walnuts and a touch of polished wood. Notes swiftly subsumed by the 1960’s marked spiciness, powerful dried fruit and sweet nutty, caramel torrefaction – qualities which deliciously define the mellifluous, velvety palate. It is a feast of dried fig and apricot, with rich, moreish chocolate orange (think Lindt’s Orange Intense bar), orange peel and praline intensity and layer. Lashings of savoury spice, with sweet tobacco (café crème) lift bring harmonious balance and terrific black cardamom, clove, nutmeg, cedar and cinnamon resonance to the most exquisite, lingering finish. Absolutely on song, this mellow, generous fellow exudes bonhomie! I thoroughly recommend you seek out its company. £235 at The Vintage Port Shop