Steven Spurrier’s fine wine world

Steven Spurrier’S

Decanter - - DECANTER -

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)

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