Review: NV Cockburn’s Tails of the Unexpected Port – Ruby Soho, Tawny Eyes, and White Heights

Can you make Port wine millennial-friendly? Cockburn’s is trying to find out, offering new expressions of three classic styles in untraditional bottles, complete with vibrantly designed labels and a catchy tagline. These are all reportedly new, “experimental” formulations that use “the highest-grade lots usually reserved for our best wines.” That said, I think most Port fans will find them rather familiar, flavor profile-wise.

Let’s try them.

NV Cockburn’s Tails of the Unexpected Port Ruby Soho – A traditional, quite sweet ruby, offering a punch of fresh raspberry and light notes of mint and orange peel. The wine is almost like a punch at times, with plenty of sweetness that never becomes cloying. Hints of black tea and chocolate on the back end are a nice add.

NV Cockburn’s Tails of the Unexpected Port Tawny Eyes – Again, a fairly traditional bottling that showcases the tawny style nicely. Some oxidation gives this a more brooding sensibility, with considerably less sweetness than the ruby. Mild notes of chocolate, mixed florals, and bitter gentian kick up before a sharp raspberry finish, laced with cloves. Surprisingly balanced and versatile.

NV Cockburn’s Tails of the Unexpected Port White Heights – Strong notes of sugared, white grapes lead the way on this rather straightforwardly sweet number, which dials back on the elements of oxidation or aging and lets the more exuberant white grape must dominate. Some time in glass is helpful, giving the wine a mild note of orange blossoms and clover honey. Perhaps sweeter (by design) than most white Ports, making it a prime candidate for a white Port and tonic cocktail.

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