Take top quality grapes (trodden) and plenty of seasoned wood barrels. Lay aside to rest. Then just add Time. Our Special Reserve Port was first created in 1969. Then, it was the first of its kind and caused a revolution in the way Port was seen and drunk by people around the world. Our winemakers have stayed true to the original style of this remarkable wine. We select only the finest, most concentrated flawlessly perfect grapes from Cockburn's vineyards at Quinta dos Canais, which are picked by hand during the harvest and then after a little 'pisa' (that's our word for grape-treading in Portugal) we turn these into wine. The wine is then aged in seasoned oak barrels, handmade by our own team of coopers and this is when we add our special ingredient, a good serving of Time. We mature our Special Reserve for longer than other reserve Ports. What's so special about that? Well, these extra years in the barrels are what give Cockburn's Special Reserve its characteristic balance and smoothness. Our Special Reserve still has the lusciously ripe, vibrant fruit of youth and lovely tannins, which give it the slightly peppery spice on the tongue. But it also has the elegance of age: the softness and smoothness that can only be achieved by slow ageing in old oak barrels. That's what puts the Special in Special Reserve. Get your friends or family together, provide nice big wine glasses (so you can take in the full aromas of the wine) and then settle down. Best after a mellow lunch or dinner when laughter and conversation are flowing. Cockburn's Special Reserve is always the perfect guest. We recommend serving at room temperature or slightly cool in warmer weather. There's no need to decant Special Reserve, it pours from the bottle the way we intended you to enjoy it. It pairs particularly well with cheese and other desserts. And it will stay good for up to six weeks once you've opened it.
The NV Special Reserve Port is a blend of typical regional grapes bottled in October 2018 after up to three years in used wood. It comes in with 105 grams per liter of residual sugar and a bar-top cork. This comes in with fine solidity in the mid-palate, but not a feeling of precision or focus. That may be because this is smooth and round, although it is supported by underlying tannins. More importantly, it delivers the complexity that Charles Symington mentioned. The overall impression here is of a serious Reserve, clearly lacking the power of Vintage Port but having some useful echoes in other areas. It is very well priced too.
Although there is brandy spirit on the nose, the palate is much more balanced. The wine has a rich feel to it, very fruity forward and attractive. It shows a great jelly note on the finish.