Steven Spurrier’s fine wine world
Decanter’s consultant editor and 2017 Man of the Year hand-picks fine wines for drinking and laying down, all priced from £25
Decanter’s long-standing consultant editor and 2017 Decanter Man of the Year hand-picks fine wines for drinking now and recommends others to lay down, all priced from £25 upwards From the cellar Kopke Colheita Port
Established in 1638 by Cristiano Köpke and his son Nicolau, the house of Kopke is the oldest of all exporters of Port. While the British houses dominate our Port market, Kopke came to my attention in the past few years due to its extraordinary range of colheitas: single-vintage, wood-aged Ports. I had of course known about this style, and was first properly introduced to it through those of Quinta do Noval, another historic house. I have notes in my 2016 Dorset tasting book for the 2003 (a wonderful wine, very vigorous and long) and 2000 (totally hedonistic with marvellous energy); but the year before I had attended a vertical tasting of Kopke colheitas ending on the 1937, and including my birth year 1941. With great generosity the importer sent me a bottle and this was opened at a dinner in June, following the launch of my memoirs (Wine – A Way of Life; see August issue), with another 1941-er present and a dozen other guests. Amber-hued, with an orange peel and nutty nose, still-youthful concentration, quite superb and unsurprisingly a 2016 DWWA Platinum award winner. Vintages 1998 (£39.95), 1978 (£129), 1966 (£179), 1958 (£295), 1937 (£525) available from Vintage Wine & Port; the 1941 (£553.35) from Portugal Vineyards.
For the cellar 2017 Priorats from Alvaro Palacios
In 1989, Alvaro Palacios (Decanter Man of the Year 2015) arrived in Gratallops, determined to extract the very best from the old Garnarcha and Cariñena vines that are blessed with/suffer 4,000 hours of Mediterranean sun and less than 380mm rainfall a year on the steep terraces of llicorella slate Priorat soils. Mountainous topography has ensured cultivation methods have remained unchanged over time, with horses being more present than tractors in the vineyards. Four wines are produced: Gratallops – 13.66hl/ha, 80% Garnacha, showing black autumn fruits, tannin and acidity for a fine future (92/100pts, 2020-2030); Dofí – single-vineyard, 91% Garnarcha on an iron-base soil, fine florality, structure and polish, concentrated and expressive (95, 2020-2035); Les Aubaguetes – a blend of 75% Garnacha, 23% Cariñena, 2% white Garnacha and Macabeo planted in 1901 on north-facing slopes, still more structure with florality and freshness, reminding me of a Bonnes-Mares or Richebourg (96, 20202035); finally L’Ermita – northeast-facing single vineyard on a cool granite soil, very concentrated in colour and fruit, incredible structure and length, just pure, natural vineyard power (98, 2022-2040). (Wines availabe through Berry Bros & Rudd from September 2019)