Encontro com o Vinho e Sabores 2010: the magic of aged white Port with Pedro Sá, winemaker at Kopke

The Port category is awash with innovation at the moment (see my report here), and that includes white Port which, until recently has perhaps been better known as a cocktail ingredient.  Just as well because rosé Port is making serious headway in the world of mixology!

This tasting of aged white Ports from Sogevinus’ portfolio indicates that white Port is being taken very seriously indeed.

Kopke Colheita White 2003 – yellowish brown/amber in colour, it’s quite deeply coloured and rich in the mouth, perhaps a function of the hot vintage.  The richness is cut by a  savoury but lifted nam pla quality and balanced by a nutty, salt caramel spine that really informs the length of this wine.  Promising.

Kopke Reserve White – a blend of vintages, the Reserve White is more lifted than the 2003 Colheita, showing mirin/blossom on the nose and palate.  In the mouth it’s a little attenuated which gives the alcohol more prominence than I’d like.

Kopke White 10 Year Old –   Deep amber, this is a significantly deeper colour than the first two and quite weighty in the mouth compared with other 10 year old white Ports I’ve tasted  -a real nut fest, oily and buttery with macademia and roasted hazelnut.   Satisfying, solid style.

Burmester White 20 Year Old – deep amber with a smooth delivery of cafe crème, macaroons and smoked hazelnuts on nose and palate.  Good if lacking a little animation.

Kopke White 30 Year Old – a core of peanut brittle complexed with savoury quite pungent, smoky, seaweed notes and lifted mirin.  Intense.  Good.

Burmester White 40 Year Old – I like the nutty spine fleshed out with caramel and dried fruits; a stemmy, dry note detracts on the finish.

Barros Very Old Dry White (cask sample) – plenty to like here, savoury and nutty on the attack with blossom and barley sugar to the mid-palate.  The savouriness re-asserts itself on a nutty, long finish with chocolate ganache.  Very good.

Barros Colheita White 1935 – rich mahogany brown, with the concentration and caramelisation of age: singed tarte tatin, lightly toasted hazelnuts on a long surprisingly plump and mellow palate.  Very good.

Other great examples of serious, aged white Ports include Dalva Golden Whites(1952 and 1963) and aged dated white Ports from AndresenNiepoortChurchilland Quinta de Santa Eufémia (see here for a comparison of the latters age dates tawny and white Ports).  I’d say that the Sogevinus white Ports are at the rich end of the spectrum compared with these.

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