Cockburn’s aims to shake up port with experimental trio

Cockburn’s has produced a trio of experimental ports under the name Tails of the Unexpected.

The ports are initially available only in Portugal and the UK because of the limited quantities being produced.

The focus is on the on-trade and travel retail, and sales through Cockburn’s own online shop where they are being sold for £20 a bottle.

The bottle labels feature the influences, origins and stories that inspired each blend including the former Cockburn’s winemaker John Smithes, Porto trams and a burlesque dancer from London’s Soho district.

The bottles are shaped like a cocktail mixer and are made from recycled glass.

Cockburn’s owner Symington Family Estates hopes the ports will push the boundaries of port making to attract a new generation of port drinkers.

Ruby Soho is a premium ruby port blended using grapes that are typically reserved for the top Cockburn’s vintage ports.

It is has been made with the signature mixed drink Port & Lemon in mind.

The port has been bottled young to preserve its “ripe red fruit character and pin sharp acidity”. 

Tawny Eyes is a barrel-aged tawny port, sourced from casks usually destined for long-term ageing.

It has been bottled after a few years in oak to achieve a balance between the wood and the fruit, and comes with a Tawny & Ginger suggested serve.

The grapes for White Heights are from high altitude vineyards, producing a medium dry white port “characterised by remarkable lift and acidity”.

Cockburn’s said the port’s tropical fruit flavours and honeysuckle notes make for a White Port & Tonic or straight serve.

Rob Symington, director of Cockburn’s owner Symington Family Estates, said: “We are thrilled to share this new project with the world.

“We believe the wines, the serves, and the packaging represent an exciting innovation for the port trade.

“In addition, this is our first ever direct-to-consumer launch, and through the summer and autumn we want to engage a community of adventurous port drinkers in Portugal and the UK with this new concept.

“To celebrate the launch of Tails of the Unexpected, we are hosting a street art competition in Porto, decorating Porto’s beautiful old trams with the illustrations, and throwing a series of secret gigs in bars throughout the city.

“In the UK– the brand’s number one market – we will be popping up at the seaside towns of Brighton and Falmouth to give holidaymakers a chance to be among the first people to experience these new ports – and to enjoy the signature cocktails which we have developed with the help of some top mixologists from Porto and London.”

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