This website uses cookies.
The cookies do not store any personal data.
By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.
Please read our privacy policy for further information

Accept & continue browsing

Return to all news

Mark Squires re-visits a Vertical tasting of Cortes de Cima Reservas

Portugal: Oldies, Reevaluations, and prominent Verticals - Mark Squires in Issue 227, 28th Oct 2016 | The Wine Advocate

94 points - 2011 Cortes de Cima Reserva
Drink Date - 2016 – 2034
This seemed rather brilliant when I first saw it. Nothing has changed my mind. In many ways, it is the hypothetical blend between the 2008 and 2009, showing the focus and elegance of the 2008, while adding a bit more depth and fruit, like the 2009. I'd say it leans more to the 2008, but the sweet fruit does have that nod to the 2009. As always, the structure is beautiful here. The backbone is real, but controlled. It is built for the long haul. The finesse of this bottling has become a hallmark over time. It is always elegant, no matter the size and power. This has reached a point where it is approachable and can be profitably drunk now, but you will reap further rewards if you give it another few years in the cellar. At that point, it will develop a bit of complexity and the moderate tannins will moderate even more. This carefully-crafted Reserva is a fine food wine now.”

93 points - 2008 Cortes de Cima Reserva
Drink Date  - 2016 – 2028
“The 2008 Reserva is revisited as part of this issue's vertical. This vintage always tended to produce elegant wines. So, too, here. With some time, though, its finesse and fine focus seem more like old-school craftsmanship than just a slightly underweight wine. It has fleshed out just enough and its depth is very respectable. Its pointed, fresh and persistent finish make it a pleasure to drink. It should continue to hold well. This understated, yet absolutely gorgeous 2008 fooled me early on. Mea culpa. This is the big beneficiary of this reevaluation. It has simply blossomed. It is a complete pleasure to drink.“ 

93 points - 2009 Cortes de Cima Reserva
Drink Date  - 2016 – 2030
“This was not overly expressive when I first saw it. Things are changing. In fact, it may be the fruitiest of the Reservas. Returning to a heavy Syrah component after the 2008's blend, this is a sexier wine than the 2008, but it never goes overboard, as many in Portugal did in this warm vintage. Still elegant, with the typically fine structure underneath, this is doing better now and proving that it is built for the long haul. The 2008/2009 duo are both showing beautifully (and better), both true to their vintages and demonstrating their class. It is hard to pick, but there is no reason to do so. This 2009 is richer, sweeter and deeper, but the finesse on the 2008 is special. Suit yourself. You can't go wrong.”

92 points - 2001 Cortes de Cima Reserva
Drink Date  - 2016 – 2024
“This is only three years younger than the 1998, but it is markedly fresher on the nose and palate. Beautifully focused, graceful and reasonably fresh, it is a wine that has retained its original elegance. It also has proven that it can age well. Its focused and tightly-wound finish is a pleasure. If there is a flaw, there is still too much oak, which gives this a slightly creamy vanilla nuance. At this age, though, the oak-impact isn't as serious and the wine combats it with some mature nuances, the benefits of age-derived complexity. The Syrah flavors also give this a dimension that the 1998 did not have. Overall, this is beautiful now, adding a little complexity to its finesse. Its juicy, fruit-laced finish makes it delicious. It should continue holding well for most of the next decade, but check in every now and then. This is a good time to approach it and I think this is its peak moment. I doubt it is going to get much better and it is not yet showing any cracks.“

90 points - 2004 Cortes de Cima Reserva
Drink Date  - 2016 – 2025
“This is vibrant, a bit burly and still tight on the finish. Its structure was always a selling point. It has respectable mid-palate depth and a gripping finish. That said, its main feature for many will be the somewhat odd nuance on the nose and palate, perhaps a touch of prune coupled with beef. I suspected a bit of volatility in there somewhere. As it airs, it also develops some tertiary nuances. There isn't much Syrah based on the statistics I was given, but it sure seems to add a bit of Syrah-ish aromatics and flavors. This big boy looks like it will continue to age well indefinitely, but its demeanor makes me wonder if the fruit will keep up with the power. At the moment, it is has a lot to offer. For safety, I'd dive in.”

90 points - 1998 Cortes de Cima Reserva
Drink Date  - 2016 – 2018
It is slightly past prime in some ways, but mostly in a good place. It still has the ability to get a bit fresher with air. The structure is still excellent - it is vibrant and firm on the finish, always nicely focused. The fruit and nose are older, however. There is little left in the way of freshness; it is mostly tertiary. That said, it has the feel of an expressive mature wine that, while not perfect, still has a lot left to offer. It certainly needs food. At this point, its complexity and advantages probably outweigh its modest demerits, but I would recommend drinking this up in the near future, no matter how long it theoretically lasts. It won't fall off the table, but it isn't getting any better and it has nowhere to go but down.”

89 points - 2004 Cortes de Cima Syrah
Drink Date  - 2016 – 2019
This modestly-priced Syrah has certainly given everyone their money's worth in terms of ageability. Showing some beef and game, some nods to the Northern Rhône, this doesn't have the concentration of the Reservas reviewed this issue, but it is more than respectable for the level. It is silky in texture and it finishes with persistent bursts of flavors. A perfect food wine at this age, it is still able to hold on for a few years, exceeding my drinking-window expectations. I will caution that some won't find the funky nose appealing, but this works well. Let's continue to take that ageing capacity carefully, but it seems able to hold well for the rest of the decade, at least.”