2007 Kopke Vintage Port (cask sample)
Cross posted from in this thread.
On Wednesday, April 29th, the night before he was to depart for the 2009 Fortification Tour, Roy invited me over to his house to try something new. Literally. He had a cask sample half bottle of the 2007 Kopke Vintage Port that needed to be tasted before he left. I brought a couple of tawnies over, he opened a TBA and a Moscatel, and we had a great evening. I brought the remains of the sample home and put it in the fridge for re-tasting tonight. So here are my full notes!
2007 Kopke Vintage Port (cask sample)
tasted 4/29 at Roy Hersh's house
This is the first time I have ever tasted a cask sample, and it's also easily the youngest VP I have ever tasted. I doubt my palate is really up to the challenge, but it is going to be a very fun experience.
Very purple with a hot pink rim. Impenetrably dark. Thick and rich looking legs on the glass.
The nose has a strange smell to it that seems like alcohol, but doesn't smell like any variation I've smelled before. I also detect what I think are olives and dried mustard. During my struggles to identify the strange alcohol, I wrote down "grape sour patch candies." After much thought and tasting, I finally recognize the smell - it smells like the rooms that contain the lagares. When I finally come to that realization, Roy says that he sometimes notes that as "tanky" meaning it smells like the fermentation tanks. That triggers another descriptor for me, and I realize that it also smells like I would expect fermentation to smell like in grapes. (I've only ever smelled that in beer and whiskey.)
The strange smell carries over to the palate and can be tasted, but that made it no easier to identify. The first impression in the mouth is hot, tart, and tangy. I wrote down sour as well, but in the sour patch candy sense and not in the bad grapes sense. Once through that powerful first impression there are a lot of very purple berries and the components of chocolate, but without it actually giving the impression of chocolate that VP sometimes gives. It's very lively and zesty.
It's also hard to put down because it is so interesting. I never did write down any notes on the finish, but I do remember commenting to Roy that the grape skin that I find so typical was more along the lines of chewing a grape - so that there's fruit with it - rather than just sucking on a skin.
The bottle has been kept in the fridge, corked, until this evening. (Hey, I had to finish the TBA last night or it would have faded.) The color hasn't changed a bit in the glass, but then again it's not like it could have gotten any darker. The nose has shifted a little bit in that now there are separate alcohol and "tanky" smells. I'm not sure now (and wasn't on Wednesday) whether or not I would even identify this as a VP if presented with it blind - I would probably think it was an Aussie port or some other kind of drink because it smells so different than any other VP I've had.
Tonight there is a distinct cranberry note on the palate that is pleasing. The fruits aren't quite as overpowering as they were 2 days ago, but they still dominate. When slurped through the mouth I get an impression of butter crackers. The tannins seems somewhat smoother but also less structured tonight as well. On Wednesday they were nearly perfect - firm and supportive, but not harsh or puckering. Tonight it almost seems dry compared to Wednesday, but of course that's relative. It still has a bit of a grape sour patch candy taste to it, but since I could eat those until my teeth fell out that's not a bad thing.
There is a finish tonight is rougher and the grape skin is more of what I normally expect. There's also some grape stem developing, which I'm not really fond of. Roy mentioned the heat on the finish on Wednesday but I couldn't see it then... I do now. It's warm and pleasant.
We discussed ratings on Wednesday and my gut impression was 90-92 points. I don't normally do numeric scores because I don't completely understand them, but in this case I had Roy helping me figure it out so there you go. I think I'd probably knock it down a point tonight because it's just not quite as interesting tonight, and is rougher in some ways. So 89-91 points. Meaning, of course, that you shouldn't let it sit in the fridge for 2 days.
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