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Respecting white

Recently launched the third edition of doc Douro Kopke Winemaker's Collection, a Folgazão & Rabigato Grande Reserva Branco 2016, presented at an exclusive event that took place in Quinta de S. Luiz, in the heart of the Douro.

After launching in previous years a Large White Reserve Arinto & Rabigato 2015, and a Rosé Reserva Red Dog 2019, Kopke's DOC wine maker Carlos Macedo decided to invest in the Folgazão and Rabigato varieties for this third edition of the Wine Maker's Collection. This is a laboratory concept, which is born from the experimentalist sense of kopke's oenology team, which, in each harvest, evaluates the potential of each vineyard/grape variety and follows its evolution, with the expectation of producing wines that surprise the market.

Sergio Marly Caminal, CEO of the Sogevinus Group (owner of the Kopke and Calém brands), was present at the event, who was pleased with the work: "This is the third edition of these special wines. With this concept we have been showing the work that has been developed by our viticulture and oenology team in the production of high quality wines", he said, also joking: "They are wines that I do not look at so much at costs... I can't believe I'm saying this, but that's it, every now and then it has to be."

Based on the empirical heritage of the Baixo Corgo region, in 2015 a plan of study of white varieties was elaborated in order to evaluate the different performances in this terroir. In order to select the ones that would best fit a profile of wines of great elegance and complexity, several varieties were vinifled and, from this project, the planting of seven traditional douro varieties: Rabigato, Viosinho, Folgazão, Arinto, Gouveio, Cercial or Esgana Cão and Códega do Larinho. This is how the winemaker Ricardo Macedo selected the blend of Folgazão and Rabigato, aged in barrels of 300 liters, now available in limited edition, numbered and signed. A total of 2,202 bottles that will be on sale in the best Portuguese wine cellars and horeca channel.

Quinta de São Luiz
Shop (above) and aging cellars of Quinta de São Luiz


"To produce these wines we used the best grapes of these two varieties. They were harvested manually in boxes of 20kg and went to the cellar, where a second selection of bunches was made in carpet of choice» revealed, continuing to explain: "After pressing the whole bunches, the must fermented later in barrels, where it aged from 2016 to 2020. The final batch results from the choice of the best barrels over these 4 years and is the expression of the potential of these two varieties in this particular terroir", finished.

Produced with 70% Folgazão and the rest of Rabigato, it is a white of fruity and mineral aroma, with notes of spice. On the palate it is unctuous and engaging, complex and has a huge freshness. Elegant and persistent, it is a wine that surprises.

It is recalled that Kopke is a brand created by a German family, originally from Hamburg, who settled in Lisbon in 1636, where Nicolau Kopke held the post of Consul General of the Hanseatic League. Two years later, in 1638, his son Christiano Kopke settled in Porto as a merchant and exporter of Portuguese products, being at the same time Consul in the North. It was he who started the export of wine, becoming one of the leading brands of Port wine between 1670 and 1680. Over many generations, the business was run by members of the Kopke Family. With the death of Joaquim Augusto Kopke in 1895, more than 250 consecutive years of connection of the family to the house that had his name came to an end.

From then on, C. N. Kopke & Cº, owned by the Bohane family, is now directed from London. The difficulty in managing it from a distance, and the financial problems caused by The Second World War, forced Frank and Edgar Bohane to sell the Company in 1953 to the Barros Family, whose leader, Manuel de Barros, was already linked to the port wine export business. House Kopke maintained, however, a great commercial independence. Manuel de Barros and his sons, João Barros and Manuel Barros, run the Company until the mid-1970s, trying to improve the image of their wines more and more, and developing an important and vast agricultural unit in the Douro Region, Quinta de S. Luiz.

In June 2006, the Sogevinus Group acquired C.N. Kopke & Cª Lda, maintaining its recognized brand as synonymous with quality and prestige.