Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port

"Take top quality grapes (trodden)
and plenty of seasoned wood barrels.
Lay aside to rest. Then just add Time."

Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port

I'm a huge fan of port and, while many think of this drink as imbibed by old men puffing on cigars, Port has undergone a sea change in the last 50 years or so. Gone are the days when the only option was a vintage Port, declared only in exceptional years and expensive. Founded in 1815 by Scotsman Robert Cockburn, Cockburn’s (pronounced “Cō~burns”) is one of the oldest port houses, today owned by Symington Family Estates Cockburn’s family of ports now includes Special Reserve, Vintage Port, Anno (Late Bottled Vintage) and Quinta dos Canais (Single Quinta Vintage), Fine Ruby, Fine Tawny, and 10- and 20-year-old Tawnies. Wow. In 2015, Cockburn's celebrated 200 years of winemaking, which is really impressive.

Cockburn’s Special Reserve was created in 1969 to fill the gap between ruby port and vintage port. Ruby ports are aged for less time and are ready to drink sooner. Reserve ports are aged slightly longer at 4-5 years in large barriques and also are ready to drink on release. Cockburn’s invented the reserve port category, and it is now one of the most popular ports.

Tasting Notes:
Grapes from vineyards at Quinta dos Canais; hand-picked: pressed by foot treading ('pisa' in Portugal); fermented and aged in oak barrels made by the company’s coopers; red berry, cherry and red plum aromas; similar flavors with a slight sweetness and spice; smooth mouthfeel with just a bit of burn from the higher alcohol content (20%); cork closure; SRP $18/750 mL.
Wonderful to drink on its own, Cockburn's suggests pairing this port with nutty desserts, chocolate, fruit and strong cheeses. Don't worry about opening the bottle for a single glass (if you can limit yourself) - the wine will stay good for up to six weeks once you’ve opened it.

*Wine provided for editorial purposes - all opinions are my own.

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