2016 Cockburn's Vintage Porto

Year: 2016
Appellation: Oporto
Country: Portugal
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 93
James Suckling: 99
Wine Enthusiast: 95
Fortified Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 20.0%
Price :
$79.95

"This is quite primal, with lush waves of plum, blackberry and açai berry reduction rolling through, pushed by warm licorice and Black Forest cake notes. A substantial bass line thumps on the finish, showing plenty of sparkly spice and incense details hitting the top range. Best from 2030 through 2050. 2,450 cases made. -JM " (WS)

"The 2016 Vintage Port, bottled in May 2018, is a blend of 62% Touriga Nacional, 21% Touriga Franca and small portions of Sousão and Alicante Bouschet. It comes in with 106 grams of residual sugar. Fairly intense and even tighter than Graham's, this might be somewhat approachable in a few years, but it really needs to open up. It will require more time than the wines like Warre's and Smith Woodhouse in the Symington stable. Beautifully wrought, this looks like an impressive Cockburn's, more balanced and fresher than the stolid and jammy 2015 yet still with fine concentration to go with the freshness. There were 2,450 cases produced.

Part of the Symington Family houses, Cockburn's was declared this year, along with everything else. All of them were bottled, although not long in bottle. They are set for release in October 2018.

Charles Symington said that 2016 started off very rainy, followed by a hot and dry summer, but with moderate temperatures. It was fairly apparent it would be a later vintage. In mid-August, some rain helped the maturation. At the beginning of September, there was a wave of hot weather. He said that was a crucial moment when he thought of starting harvest, even though it was not quite perfect, but they waited. Victory goes to the bold. Rain in the second week of September caused them to hold back another week, beginning harvest around 22 September. It was a very late harvest, creating a certain element of risk. Touriga Franca, he said, is particularly susceptible to rain. But there was no rain for the next 30 days, making harvest easy. Charles said that the "blue skies and mild temperatures from the 13th September to the 10th October allowed for the Nacional to be picked in late September and the Franca in early October in perfect conditions with fantastic balance. The freshness coming through in these wines being a defining feature of this vintage."

As we debate the trends in Ports (see last year's article on the 2015s, "Undeclared and Unashamed"), it's worth noting that my favorites of the Symington group are easily the single-plot wines—The Stone Terraces and Capela, both wine-of-the-vintage candidates. " (WA)

"This shows fantastic graphite and dark-berry character with black-stone undertones and hints of dried roses. Full-bodied and very tight and precise. Good kick in the end. Love the polished tannins, which are totally folded into the wine. Reminds me of the 1947 Cockburn. Try in 2024." (JS)

"The wine has structure, swathes of juicy fruit and acidity along with fine tannins. It is certainly balanced with deliciously luscious fruit, and a rich texture that is suggesting good aging potential. Drink from 2028." (WE)