After a fun evening at the new C. da Silva Port Bar in Gaia, spent visiting with Gonçalo Devesas, try the aged White Ports and several Colheitas, we started the tour on Monday morning in earnest. Thanks to Gonçalo for opening the bar for us on Sunday night when the shop is normally not open!
Our guests had a brief tour of the Calem Port Lodge in Gaia and then we walked over to the Kopke tasting room and went upstairs for a rather special tasting. Fernando Oliveira met us and took us to school on a plethora of fine Colheitas. I had arranged a fun lineup with Ports spanning 8 decades. But first we started off trying the Kopke 2008 Vintage Port from Sao Luiz. Overall, the group was very pleased with the quality of this VP and I could tell they were excited to get into tasting the Colheitas.
The lineup consisted of mostly Burmester w/ a mix of Kopke thrown in for good measure:
2000 Burmester Colheita
1997 Kopke Colheita
1989 Kopke Colheita
1978 Burmester Colheita
1963 Burmester Colheita
1957 Kopke Colheita
1940 Burmester Colheita
1937 Kopke Colheita
This was a pretty phenomenal lineup with many favorites, both young and old. By the end, everyone was hungry and we bid a fond adieu to Fernando and walked down to the Cais where we had lunch at Ar de Rio.
Afterwards, we walked back up the hill to have a visitation at the old Niepoort Lodge. We were a bit surprised to be met by Rodrigo Nogueira, as we had expected Verena Niepoort to join us too. Not the case. We toured the Lodge and then sat down for a modest tasting which began with very basic Ruby Dum & Tawny Dee, Port. Our guests were a bit restless when they saw the lineup which seemed like amateur hour compared to our prior visits and also in comparison to past Niepoort experiences ... as we have a serious group of Port and Douro wine aficionados from 3 countries, several of whom have joined us before (or taken part of working past harvests at Niepoort) and some first timers who had been told that Niepoort was going to be a great visit.
We also tasted a 10 year old white Port, 2005 LBV, 1986 Colheita, 10 year old Tawny, 1981 LBV that was added by Rodrigo ... actually a de-classified VP from this non-vintage year; both 2007 classic VP and the Pisca rounded out the lineup. Our guests were rather underwhelmed by the entirety of this experience and were not shy about letting us know their feelings.
We then headed to Shis where we had a delicious meal with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. A fun day into night overall. The following morning we were going to be heading up to the Douro, so the majority of the group went to bed at a reasonable hour and some stayed up to drink some more Port, smoke cigars and discuss the days events.
More to come ...