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Tasting of Cockburn Ports Oporto September 2012

Derek - Fri, September 28, 2012

Tasting of Cockburn’s Port Factory House 13th September 2012

Robert Cockburn founded the company in 1815 after serving under the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War Campaigns. The Cockburn family together with Smithes, Teage and Cobb families developed the company into one of the greatest names in Port, their wines commanding higher prices than most.

Cockburn’s always had an individual character both style of wine and approach to vintages sometimes not declaring when others did or not making a vintage port when other Port Houses declare.

2011 Not yet Declared

The year was described by Paul Symington as extraordinary with not a drop of rain since the 1st September, the harvesting taking place under blue skies day after day for five weeks. Luckily the generous rainfall in the last three months of 2010 meant that there was a good reserve of water in the soil. The nose is deep fruited rich profound full of generous flavours.

Black plum and black cherry pack out the mid palate and although there is some red cherry freshness the finish is deep brooding full of power. 96 2035-70


Quinta Dos Canais

The terrain and grape varieties helped to achieve fine ports in not the easiest of years with both Touriga Nacional and the late ripening Touriga Franca performing well. The nose is rich full of ripe black fruits with an attractive minty quality. The start of the palate is rich black fruited with lots of power but there are red fruits that come through in the middle refresh and bring out the minty fragrances. The finish is slightly lighter with an elegant charm 95 2030-60


This was the first of the Cockburn’s vintages made by the Symington family. The weather was kind with ideal temperatures conditions that produced quality fruit. The nose is deep and brooding packed with rich black fruits. Fruit power fills out the palate further enriched by liquorice the layers of fruit give complexity seamless the ripe sweet black underpinned by fresher red redcurrant and raspberry and although this brings out the fragrances the touch of spice the finish is sumptuous voluptuous. 98 2035-80


The winter was wet with a cold spring and some heavy frosts which held back vine development. The heat wave started in early September and when picking started on the 28th the grapes to quote Michael Symington were in “text book condition”. This hot weather lasted until 7th October when most quintas had finished picking. Two days of heavy rain were followed by sun but cooler conditions reducing the quality of the late picked grapes. There is an attractive sweetness to the fruit on the nose stylish and fragrant. Red cherry is backed by almonds and hazel nuts with an autumn leaf quality. The black fruits in the middle give way to slightly fresher red and the finish is fragrant with hints of caramel and dried herbs. 93 2012-35


This was a widely declared vintage with twenty-three shippers making a declaration and it was the first vintage almost entirely Oporto bottled with none shipped in cask for the British Merchants to bottle. The weather was described as “copybook” with a cold dry March, a warm April followed by ideal weather. A little rain in September helped to swell the grapes which were picked in perfect condition. There is an attractive fragrant nuttiness about the nose with lots of ripe flavours. The mid palate is sweet the layers of richer black fruits underpinned by slightly fresher red. It is still remarkably vibrant and the finish has an elegant charm. 95 2012-30


Only four shippers declared two being Cockburn’s and Martinez Gassiot all of whom considered their 1967 better than their 1966 and stuck to their guns. After a dry winter came a wet cold May but the summer was long and hot with a little rain in September and good conditions for the harvest. The nose is very almond and walnut backed by red fruits quite fresh fruits. The palate although light has some nice sweet red fruits in the middle with towards the back a drier feel with lots of aromatic fragrances and a nutty elegant charm 93 2012-30


The weather pattern was described as uneventful the snow and rain stopping at the end of April the high hopes dashed by a cold wet period to mid-June. July and August were fine and dry the small amount of rain in September swelled the grapes and picking started on the 23rd in perfect conditions. The nose has a fragrant charm with some sweet black fruits. The palate has sweetness of flavour at the start but the mid palate is fragrant red fruited, nutty floral slightly exotic. Rich prunes give an attractive depth of flavour right on the finish. 95 2012-32


The cold weather in January was followed by two months of rain but in came right is April. May was variable then June and July were very hot – all looked good. August and September were good with the harvest starting in a heat wave but ending in rain which made fermentation control difficult. The nose has a nutty red fruited charm all quite floral. Sweet fruit gives some weight on the mid palate but behind are fresher red yet despite this it feels mellow. The finish is long fragrant quite light with hints of vanilla and almonds. 92 2012-26


The winter rainfall was considerably more than in some previous winters with some light rain in the early summer yet days of good heat with steady temperatures. There was a little rain in late August and early September but in most areas the showers came at the right moment. Mid September had four days of heat and a dry east wind which caused the grapes to raisin and reduced potential volume. Everywhere the grapes were sound very healthy and even the raisin like grapes were sweet and full of flavour. The nose is slightly spoilt by the hint of volatile and it comes through on the start of the palate. Behind the volatile the fruit is quite sweet with a touch of vanilla and hazel nuts. The mid palate has sweetness a mix of black and red fruits and towards the back freshness that gives a lighter feel. The finish has length but the nutty fragrance the autumn leaf character is again rather marred by the hints volatile. 90 2012-25


The spring was dry but May and June were quite wet with the weather improving through the summer so the harvest, which started on 25th September, took place under ideal conditions. Excellent quality was reported at harvest time although subsequently the wines were described as having charm but a slight lack of depth. It was declared by most of those who did not declare 1948. The nose has an attractive fragrance quite light but floral and nutty. The palate starts with sweetness of flavour and there is a mid richness coming from the black fruits a touch of black plum and cassis. Towards the back it is a bit lighter hints of red fruits some autumn leaves but the finish has got remarkable depth and sweetness. 93 2012-28


The budding happened early and the flowering went well with the potential of a big crop. The period mid-August right through to harvest time was very hot, the lack of rain causing burning thickened skins concentration high strength ports due to raised sugar levels. There is a hint of heat on the nose which is packed out with rich black fruits. The palate has depth of flavour rich ripe black plum some coffee and sweet syrup. Behind the richness there is fresher black cherry but it is the sweetness richness and power of flavour that packs out the back palate and the finish has rather more power than elegance. 94 2012-35


This was looked on as a very good vintage with eleven shippers declaring. Heavy spring rains were followed by a dry and very hot summer but luckily September showers gave a little relief. The harvest which started on 22nd September took place in perfect conditions. There is a stylish nutty fragrance about the nose with more red fruits than black. The palate has a mix of almonds and red cherry, hints of vanilla with some softer peach flavours towards the back. The finish is long delicate the fruit spiced up by a touch of pepper. It is a wine with immense charm. 93 2012-28


The spring was not good but the small crop ripened in perfect weather although the exceptional heat at harvest time caused some concern in fact as it turned out it was one of the best vintages ever. There is a fragrant autumn leaf charm about the nose with a mix of red fruits, almonds and hazel nuts. The mid palate is sweet quite lush but behind cherries refresh and balance the sweetness. The back palate has a fragrant charm a mix of nuts, vanilla and red fruits flavours that linger on the finish. 95 2012-28


Fifteen shippers declared the vintage which came from a healthy growing season and harvesting took place in perfect conditions. It turned out to be a vintage of high quality. The nose is quite light with lovely red fruit and nut fragrances. The palate starts with richness a hint of chocolate the layers of flavour giving lots of complexity. It is lighter towards the back ethereal fragrant with an attractive mix of red fruits and nuts. 94 2012-30


Summer rain was followed by fine hot weather which caused burning of the grapes in some parts. The harvest was late taking place in October and although at the start there was little heat or sun ten days of fine weather transformed the situation. Bramble and red cherry are very much in evidence on the nose with the fruit backed by hints of forest leaves and almonds. The fruit on the palate is exotic tropical fruits the peaty richness backed by a remarkable red fruited freshness. There is a fragrant charm showing towards the back and a mix of flavours that linger on the finish. 95 2012-28


The weather can be summed up as follows - wet winter, warm spring, cool midsummer which was flanked by a hot May and August. September was also hot but some rain delayed the picking but the result was wines with good colour, body and flavour. The nose has an apricot richness backed by hints of spice, almond, cinnamon and nutmeg. The peachy richness on the palate is underpinned by apple freshness, an attractive mix of flavours giving lots of complexity. Although there is some rich fruit on the finish there is also a fragrant nutty spicy lightness. 93 2012-28


This great vintage was marked by twenty-six shippers a wine with more body than either 1900 or 1904. It has maintained its depth of colour and fruit remarkably well. The fragrances that show on the nose have immense charm peachy nutty with hints of nutmeg and spice. There are layers of flavour some black fruits more red with dried fruit and a touch of apricot. Towards the back it is lush remarkably generous almost sumptuous yet there is elegance lightness with almonds and dried fruits on the finish and immense length of flavour. 99 2012-28


This extraordinary year produced 25 to 30% more wine than the farmers had allowed for. The administrative bungling over the supply of brandy caused concern with spirit coming from various sources it was said one shipper imported grain spirit from Scotland but in spite of these difficulties good wines were made. The hints of volatile give a rather rustic feel to the nose but there is a certain amount of sweetness. The mid palate has weight of fruit the black fruited mix underpinned by herbal flavours. The finish again shows some volatile with hints of alcohol all a bit hot and rustic. 89 2012-24


This is one of the classic vintages being shipped by all the houses. The wine was very rich and powerful when made and has lasted remarkably well. There are lot of powerful flavours on the nose with rich black fruits backed by fresher red and a lovely leafy nutty character. The mid palate has depth and power slightly spoilt by the hint of alcohol that is beginning to show through. It is lighter towards the back with some fresh fruit flavours almonds and hazel nuts and a leafy charm 93 2012-24

A big thank you to the Symington family for their generosity in laying on this truly memorable tasting

Tasting of Cockburn Ports Oporto September 2012 Tasting of Cockburn Ports Oporto September 2012 Tasting of Cockburn Ports Oporto September 2012
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