Visit to the refurbished Cockburns Lodge February 2018

Posted 14 February 2018

by Vintage Wine and Port


Cockburn lodge



Visit by James (Sales Manager) and Tony (MD) February 2018. 


The Cockburn lodge at Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto) is now open to visitors following its refurbishment in 2017. The lodge is the largest in V N d Gaia holding about 9M litres of port and boasts a working cooperage. It is open to the public but as the tours are guided a reservation is required. It is a little walk from the river front front up a cobbled street. On entry there is a small museum with lots memorabilia about the early days and the great vintages of the early 1900's. Now owned by Symmington Family Estates (also Dows, Warre and Grahams), the brand is clearly in good hands and a huge amount of investment has gone into rebuilding the reputation of this great brand both in the wine-making and in the quality of the visitor experience. Understandably,  the years from the late 1960's (when the former owners neglected the upper end of the brand to focus on Special Reserve) are glossed over. 


 Cockburns Special Reserve is still an important part of the portfolio and there are several million litres on display in a multitude of barrels and vats. The tour takes the visitor through some impressive and immaculate cellars before descending into the private reserves of vintage. Here, some of the legendary vintages are represented. There is an obvious gap between 1970 and 2006 when the quality declined. 


The tour concludes in the tasting room - we had a private tasting in the upstairs area. Here we tasted the current releases (2015 Vintage, 2010 Q.d. Canais 2012 LBV, 10 and 20 year Tawny, Special reserve and White Port. There is no back-stock of older vintages (before SFE acquired the brand) to taste. 


Our brief thoughts on the ports. 

Cockburn 2015 -  Declared to coincide with the 200th Anniversary.   4th tasting since release in 2017. Inky purple, huge bouquet of violets and red fruits. On the palate, jammy fruits dominate, the alcohol is more integrated than the last tasting. At this early stage, tannins are still massive. Although it can be enjoyed young,  this wine still a long way to go and will have a life measured in many decades. 


Cockburn Quinta da Canais 2010 

This is my first tasting of this vintage. Dark rub,. earthy overtones, jam with a little spiciness, very pleasant. Probably not a keeper. 


Cockburn 2012 LBV 

Deep ruby colour, good fruit black cherry and plum.  Good depth and smooth mouth-feel  very vintage in character - very pleasant.


Cockburn 20 Year Tawny 

My first tasting of this 20 year old and a very pleasant surprise from a shipper more noted for its rubys.  It has a lovely bright amber tawny colour. On the nose - a complex bouquet of fruitcake, honey and nuts combined with notes of citrus - orange peel. Very smooth and polished on the palate with a long finish. Outstanding!


Cockburn 10 year Tawny 

Bright tawny red colour. On the nose very  candied fruit aromas toffee. On the palate well rounded, with mature dried fruits. Good on its own - but this not in the same league as the 20! 


Cockburn Special Reserve. 

Matured in oak for 6 years, this is one of the biggest selling 'entry level' ports in the world.  This longer wood ageing gives its fruity and full-bodied property with a touch of spice and pepper.  Great for the price but would certainly trade-up to the LBV.


Cockburn White Port 

Crisp flowery aromas, citrus fruit, pineapple. 


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