The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

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jdaw1
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The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 23:20 Mon 13 Oct 2008

Bottles:
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The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 23:24 Mon 13 Oct 2008

Bottles:
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The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 23:25 Mon 13 Oct 2008

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 15:34 Tue 14 Oct 2008

Honoured guest speaker, Miguel Côrte-Real of Cockburn:
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 15:34 Tue 14 Oct 2008

Honoured guest speaker, Miguel Côrte-Real of Cockburn:
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 19:06 Tue 14 Oct 2008

Afternoon session.
Left side, near to far: AHB; SLT; RAH.
Right side, near to far: THRA; NN; BMHR.
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 19:35 Tue 14 Oct 2008

Afternoon session.
Left side, near to far: BMHR; NN; THRA; MC-R; DRT; SL; KL.
Right side, near to far: RAH; SLT; AHB; AP; ADV JDAW; SRC.
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 19:41 Tue 14 Oct 2008

Afternoon session.
Me! And SRC.
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 19:46 Tue 14 Oct 2008

Evening session.
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 19:58 Tue 14 Oct 2008

A deep vertical of Cockburn’s, described Cockburn’s Director Miguel Côrte-Real as better than any he had seen in three decades at the company. Because of CG’s unavailability in the afternoon, the younger vintages were sampled whilst the sun was up, the older ones in the evening. And it really was a game of two halves.
Most of the individual tasting-note threads contain pictures of at least some of bottles, capsules, and corks.

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 17:42 Tue 21 Oct 2008

Alex has reminded me that I noted most of the decanting times.
  • 1895 (alleged) just before sampling;
  • 1908 at 12:40;
  • 1912 at 13:50;
  • 1927 at 13:30;
  • 1935 (both halves) just before sampling;
  • 1947 at 13:05;
  • 1950 at 13:30;
  • 1955 at 13:20;
  • 1960 at 13:50;
  • 1967 at 13:10;
  • 1970 at 10:50;
  • 1975 at 08:00 by DRT;
  • 1977 at 12:30;
  • 1983 at 11:50;
  • 1985 at 10:40;
  • 1991 at 10:30;
  • 1994 at 12:00;
  • 1997 at 12:15;
  • 2003 at 11:40.
The idea of opening the oldies so far in advance was Miguel’s, and several of us were surprised. But if that’s what the man from Cockburn says, that’s what we had to do. And he was right.

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by benread » 23:11 Wed 22 Oct 2008

I am slightly surprised at the general lack of feedback on this event. Personally, it was a privilege to be able to participate in such a tasting with existing and new friends. Firstly from me, a big thanks goes to those who spent a large part of the day decanting and organising the tasting. I know there was a lot of planning went into the event.

It was slightly intimidating being amongst so many true port fanatics, but as ever it was a learning experience!

Aside from my brief notes which suggest the 1955 was marginally preferred to the 1935, it was a joy to taste the 1970 (my birth year); 1977 (never publicly available) and 2007 Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca (my first ever cask samples).

So many firsts in the evening, I have no idea where to start!

I feel a lack of Cockburn becoming an issue for me!
Ben
-------
Vintage 1970!

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by RonnieRoots » 08:20 Sat 25 Oct 2008

benread wrote:I am slightly surprised at the general lack of feedback on this event.
I'm still very much looking forward to reading TN's by the participants.

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 14:04 Sat 25 Oct 2008

So am I. It was two and a half weeks ago, and still most people haven’t posted TNs. They should feel reprimanded.

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by DRT » 17:26 Sat 25 Oct 2008

jdaw1 wrote:So am I. It was two and a half weeks ago, and still most people haven’t posted TNs. They should feel reprimanded.
Apologies for my tardiness. My TN's have now been posted. Most of them are very brief but this was a very long day and all I attempted to do was note down half a dozen words against each wine.

This was indeed a truely momentous tasting. It was a pleasure to help organise it and it was great to see everyone again and to have the honour of Miguel's company and knowledge of the wines.

Hopefully others will chip in with their TNs soon.

Derek
"The first duty of Port is to be red"

Ernest H. Cockburn

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by RonnieRoots » 11:03 Sun 26 Oct 2008

Thanks for the notes Derek! :)

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by AHB » 00:25 Wed 19 Nov 2008

You might be interested to read the summary of the tasting that has been posted on the Cockburn website here.

I have been rather busy of late and have been remiss in posting regularly either here or at the other place. However, I would echo that the tasting was a very interesting affair. It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy such an occasion with Miguel Corte-Real and he has provided me with a copy of the notes that he brought to the tasting and annotated with his thoughts of the wines we shared. When I have the opportunity, I will post a copy of these pages. (If anyone knows a way to post a pdf image on TPF, please let me know!)

Highlight for me was the wonderful 1912, showing magnificently. I also rated very favourably the 1947 and the 1935. I was probably most surprised by the 1975, which was a very enjoyable drink - albeit light bodied - despite the poor reputation of the vintage. Main disappointment was the number of recent vintages which were spoiled by TCA or volatile acidity. I must hunt out a 1994 Cockburn and see how it shows from such a good vintage.

Alex
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by jdaw1 » 03:00 Wed 07 Jan 2009

Miguel Côrte-Real sent AHB some of his own notes on the various vintages, some obviously drafted in advance, some from the day itself. They follow.
Miguel Côrte-Real wrote:2003

Generic Information
Declared by all Port houses

Year/Viticulture
The year was remarkable in may ways. Only rarely does one come across an agricultural year when everything falls perfectly into place. We had a wet winter in the Douro, a bright spring allowing an even flowering and bunch-set of the grapes, a hot summer, and perfect conditions in which both harvesting and fermentation were carried out to perfection.

Tasting Notes
It is vibrant in coloir, intensity purple [sic] and with aromas of blackberries and mature plums; it has an elegant tannic structure, and it's full and firm on palate. Beautifully balanced with a long and slightly dry finish resonating with chocolate overtones.

Other
The fresh herb-laced aromatics of the dark-coloured 2003 Cockburn Vintage Port reveals loads of spirit-infused black fruits. Armed with a gorgeously rich and fruit packed mid-palate. (R. Parker)

MC-R notes
9/10




2000

Generic Information
All the Port houses declared this excellent year.

Year/Viticulture
Mild and dry winter but spring quite rainy what made a lot of colour. It was obvious to every-body we were facing a small production but with an enormous quality.

Tasting Notes
Deep and dark. Aromas of violets and blackberries. Full-bodied palate, with big but smooth tannins. Slightly dry finish, in the style of our best made vintages.

Other
+95 from Robert Parker, second place in 50 Vintages and Single Quinta Vintages made in 2000.

Last minute notes
Solid, ripe, complete. Blueberry aromas. Massive and concentrated.

MC-R notes
9.5/10




1997

Generic Information
Declared by all the leading shippers

Year/Viticulture
Was truly an excellent year in the Douro Valley. The harvest was one of the longest in living memory. AT the far eastern extremities of the Upper Douro, picking began before the end of August and continued until the second week of October in the cooler areas of the Cima and Baixa Corgo. The crop was small and produced grapes with wonderfully concentrd flavours, provding outstanding wines with excellent structure and an intensely fruity aroma.

Tasting Notes
Deep and dark in colour. Has a nose of rich plums, blueberries and figs and it is big, with a good tannic structure and some nuances of chocolate.

MC-R notes
8.5/10




1994

Generic Information
Declared by everybody

Year/Viticulture
Since the beginning of the vegetative cycle it was a perfect year: Winter with rain, Spring soft but also some rain in May - a very welcome irrigation; hot Summer, but again with some showers at the beginning of September. Slow and perfect maturation of the grapes. Very long fermentation giving good extraction. Harvest season with cool nights helping to develop the aroma.

Tasting Notes
Super-ripe fleshy fruity. Big, juicy, with a tannic backbone. Slightly closedin this phase, passing through some ‟middle age disturbs”.

Other
After the success of 91-92 declaration, shippers knew that the USA was particularly receptive to Vintage Ports. There are two ways to enjoy vintage port: very young or very old. This wine is middle aged, a difficult time for both people and wines (Miguel Côrte-Real)

Last minute notes
Big, juicy. Full bodied. A good tannic backbone.

MC-R notes
Some VA but quite good. 7/10




1991

Generic Information
A good rather than great vintage. Not declared by Taylor and Fonseca.

Year/Viticulture
Good growing conditions through most of the season but with some extremes of heat and cold made some winemaking challenges. The crop was small and, mainly in the Douro Superior, affected by some extremely high temperatures before harvest.

MC-R notes
VA. 6/10




1985

Generic Information
1985 was declared by all the main shippers and Martinez

Year/Viticulture
The 1984/5 Winter was one of the wettest (and coldest) on record. The summer was long and extremely hot.

Other
Great bottle variability with a high degree of volatile acidity in a high percentage of bottles and houses. (From recent tastings, Cockburn's, Niepoort, Churchill, Sandeman, Ramos Pinto and Calém appear to be experiencing varying degrees of high volatile acidity.)

MC-R notes
Just turning, but too high VA. 6.5/10




1983

Generic Information
Declared by 11 of the top 14 houses (Croft, Martinez and Noval did not).

Year/Viticulture
Quite a long and cold dry winter with some very low temperatures even in May. The vintage started one or two weeks late. During the harvest the weather was fine.

Tasting Notes
Powerful muscular wines with lots of tannins. Decanter Magazine considered Cockburn's the best of the year. Again, Bruce Guimaraens had the same opinion.

Other
Cockburn's is showing some variability from bottle to bottle.

Last minute notes
Great, spicy, raisin. Looks like that it was kept in a pine tree wood barrel.

MC-R notes
Some TCA but very good. 8/10




1977

Generic Information
Crusted Port. Initially considered by some people outstanding and one of the best of the century, it is now considered of average quality and has a big differentiation among different houses. Declared by everybody with the exception of Corckburn's, Martinez and Noval.

Year/Viticulture
The year was cold and wet. During the vintage, in September, was very hot. At the beginning of October the rain started, reducing grape concentration. It was not an easy year.

Tasting Notes
In a recent tasting of all '77s in London with the Institute of Masters of Wine, I was invited as a speaker, together with David Guimaraens and Charles Symington, it was evident that the undeclared Cockburn's was on of the best, showing that even the best Port Houses make big mistakes. The wine is extremely well balanced, very, very enjoyable.

Other
There is a big division on the '77s: some are tannic but a little out of balance and others are nice and dekicate (as Croft) but lacking a bit of structure. Cockburn's is in the middle with the best of the two groups.

Last minute notes
Round, soft, elegant. Good example of good balance: acidity, sugar, alcohol, tannins.

MC-R notes
8.5/10




1975

Generic Information
Soft and early maturing vintage

Year/Viticulture
Hot summer both because of the heat and the political temperature at the time (just one year after the 1974 political revolution)

Tasting Notes
Very delicate and soft

MC-R notes
7.5/10. Light, light, light! But elegant !!!




1970

Generic Information
Declared by everybody with the exception of Ramos Pinto. It was the last vintage to be bottled in both Gaia and in the UK so there are some variations from bottle to bottle

Year/Viticulture
The weather was perfect but very hot at the start of the harvest, producing some raisined grapes and making the wines very ripe.

Tasting Notes
A soft, velvety, well-balanced wine. Not at all a full-bodied wine, but its quite rich and well developed. It's ready to drink.

Other
Medium-bodied, ripe cherry flavours. Very well balanced. Elegant and soft.

Deep blackberry and black cherry on the nose and similar flavours with plum and black pepper (L. Murphy)

Last minute notes
Another good example of a well ‟educated” vintage. Has everything but it's hot!!

MC-R notes
9.5/10




1967

Generic Information
A few shippers declared '67 in preference of '66: Cockburn, Martinez, Sandeman, Noval and Forrester

Tasting Notes
Lighter than the 1966 (which we did not ship), but very fine quality. It is more subtle wine, more for those who are looking for nuances rather than massive fruit. Good colour and great integration of spirit. Rich and firm.

Other
When our friends Taylor and Croft, after shipping the '66s, brought out their single quinta '67s Vargellas and Roeda, we were happy to say ‟We told you so”. Martinez also preferred to offer the 1967. (W. Fletcher in 1978)

MC-R notes
9.5/10




1963

Generic Information
A classic vintage declared by everybody. Cockburn's is one of the superstars of the year together with Croft, Fonseca and Noval Nacional

Year/Viticulture
One of the rare years when it was clear shippers would declare a vintage the moment the first grape was picked. A perfect weather during the growing season and harvest.

Tasting Notes
Full, rich, intense, still lots of freshness and breed. At the beginning they were extremely tannic. Today they are soft and well matured, but powerful with a nose or caramels and butter and flavours of ripe berry, orange peel and chocolate.

Other
Today's auction prices of the '63s reflect the great reputation this year deserves.

Last minute notes
Toffee, a bit austere, dry finish, spicy, peppery.

MC-R notes
9/10




1960

Generic Information
Shipped by most firms and have proved very popular. Rather similar to the 1950s but better (W. Fletcher in 1978)

Year/Viticulture
Lots of rian during the harvest, diluting a bit the must concentration.

Tasting Notes
A fine quality year of good average colour and body and sufficient concentration to develop into an excellent stayer and a wine of delightful bouquet and flavour. (J.Smithes 1968)

Other
Richard Mayson sonsidered Cockburn's to be one of the best of the year.

MC-R notes
9.5/10




1955

Generic Information
Magnificent year. Quite hard to find in the market. Declared by all the top houses. It was bottled in the UK because there was a shortage of glass in Portugal due to the war.

Year/Viticulture
The winter was quite mild, followed by a heat wave in April and May. Summer was hot and dry, cooling a bit in the second week, and for the remaining of the vintage.

Tasting Notes
Big, fruity and vigorous for such an old vintage. Very concentrated and still very complete.

Other
John Smithes tasting the wine in 1968 considered it a big way from its best as yet.

Last minute notes
Round and soft . Intense. Solid tannins, lots of grip. Some cherry and cassis on the nose. Great concentration.

MC-R notes
Great. 7/10




1950

Generic Information
Shipped by most who did not declare 1948. The wines were rather light. It could be summarised as a useful rather than a great year (W. Fletcher 1978)

Year/Viticulture
A difficult growing season, but ideal conditions during the harvest.

Tasting Notes
A light wine of good quality. Came round quickly but may last longer than was at first thought. (J Smithes 1968)

MC-R notes
10/10




1947

Generic Information
A small vintage declared only by Cockburn's, Sandeman, Warre, Ferreira and a few more houses. Bruce Guimaraens, the late Taylor and Fonseca winemaker, considered Cockburn's '47 the best of the year.

Year/Viticulture
A very small production due to a weak ‟birth” and some colure.

Tasting Notes
Silky, smooth and flavoury. Medium-bodied, very rich and with a long finish.

Berry, spice, red liquorice, chocolate and brown sugar flavours are enhanced by a peppery, lingering finish. Good richness. (L Murphy)

Other
We did not declare the 1945 because the temperatures in the Douro Superior were too high (Martinez was great!)

Last minute notes
Some spices and pepper. Smooth, some chocolate notes.

MC-R notes
8.5/10




1935

Generic Information
The year of '34 as well as '35 produced excellent vintages. There was some discussions. Some declared '34 (Martinez, Noval, Dow) and others the '35 (Cockburn's, Taylor, Graham). I think the one who did it right was Sandeman because, against the normal rule, they declared both

Year/Viticulture
Production of '35 was smaller than '34 but, as far as we know, the climate conditions were very similar.

A dry winter, the spring frost has prevented many bunches from setting; particularly Touriga grapes (E. Cockburn)

Tasting Notes
1934s are considered to have a better structure; but the '35s are soft, elegant, with lots of finesse and more refined than the '34s. Lots of balance and harmony compensates the lack of structure.

Other
Very fruity and floral, with an obvious fig and pomegranate quality. Soft and elegant, it's quite dry for a vintage port though with a rich, long finish. (L.Murphy)

Last minute notes
Very light and delicate. Less colour than 1912! Very spicy. Lots of finesse.

MC-R notes
8.5/10




1927

Generic Information
Also generically declared (declared by all the top houses). It was our biggest declaration ever (30,000 cases!). Shipped to the UK in '29, coincided with the Great Depression, and the London merchants had some difficulty in selling it; some might have been used in normal port blends.

Year/Viticulture
It was a big crop and a late harvest, which might mean that the weather during the vegetative cycle had been cool. But the grapes were ripe and the lagares stood a good deal of work (E Cockburn 1950)

Tasting Notes
Considered one of the best of the century was always described as a great vintage but not with much body. It is now a delicate vintage but still retaining liquorice-like intensity of a really old fine Vintage Port.

Other
It's a sexy elegant wine with silky tannins.

Very fruity and complex, with syrupy caramel and fennel flavours and a citrus and walnut skin finish. Silky and on the delicate side. (L. Murphy)

Last minute notes
Chocolate and honey.

MC-R notes
Slightly cloudy. 8.5/10




1924

Generic Information
A year of good quality and fair colour, a little on the green side and so a little lacking in body, but the wines developed fairly well in bottle and produced a very flavoury attractive wine. (J.Smithes 1968)

Year/Viticulture
A small yield.

MC-R notes
8/10




1912

Generic Information
In 1987 Fernando Nicolau de Almeida considered 1912 the wine of the century. Generally declared (from 14 top Port Houses 12 declared) only Niepoort and Noval did not.

Year/Viticulture
The yield was in the short side. Ernest Cockburn on his book ‟Port Wine and Oporto” (1950) remembers that ‟the wines showed a good percentage of sugar, had considerable flavour and they were clean and quite free from rot or disease”

Tasting Notes
It's amazing how it retains a youthful colour, firm tannins and, this is really amazing for a wine with 90 years old, some berry fruit. It's still a remarkable wine, and great tribute to any Port House: elegant, complex, great

Other
Lots of life, plenty of spicy, peppery fruit, and a long earthy finish.

Amaingly alive for its age. Its brickish burnt sienna colour leads to flavours of candied walnut, dried fruit and orange peel with a citrus and pepper finish. Plenty of flavour and a long finish. (L.Murphy)

Last minute notes
Raisins, honey.

MC-R notes
9.5/10




1908

Generic Information
A fine wine probably initially darker and fuller than either 1900 or 1904.

Tasting Notes
A great classic. Not a very big wine but superbly balanced with great vinosity, flavour and staying power. (W.Fletcher 1978)

Other
A very good vintage, some considering it as good as 1912.

It will show good colour and body all through its life. (J.Smithes 1968)

MC-R notes
10/10




1896

Generic Information
A great classic year, shipped by all the houses

Tasting Notes
To me, when I first tasted the Cockburn nearly 50 years ago it was almost too big, dark and heavy. Most of the wines were drunk too early, during the First World War. (W.Fletcher 1978)

Other
The wine was exceptionally big and has lasted remarkably well. (W.Fletcher 1978)

MC-R notes
7/10

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Axel P
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Re: The Cockburn Vertical, Wed 8th October 2008

Post by Axel P » 21:22 Fri 23 Jan 2009

I am sorry not to have posted anything yet but I agreed not to to write an article for a well known english wine mag (oh god - the only german at the table for an english wine mag) and it was agreed not to write anything in english about it beforehand.

Axel
worldofport.com
o-port-unidade.com

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