Prohibition had come to an end; the noble experiment that became such a failure. The new regulations beginning on the 1st of January 1935 were modeled to protect the U.S. government revenue on liquor.
On each bottle it should state the manufacturer’s permit number, year and symbol of the purchaser. Also the words, Federal law prohibits the sale or reuse of this bottle, should be printed on the bottle. A bottle being imported to the American market also had to follow the regulation and violating the rules were subject to a fine or imprisonment – or simply both.
Furthermore the rules also dictated that all bottles marked, Federal Law Prohibits Sale or Reuse of this Bottle, must be destroyed when empty.
Now, in my possession I have a bottle of Kopke’s labeled Vinho Velho with the ‘Federal law prohibits….’ printed on it! Does that make me a criminal since I have decanted it and the bottle is empty? Should I pour back the content to be safe because I don’t want to go to prison two years!
Thankfully no; the law demanding the printing on the bottles between the years of 1932 until 1964, are today obsolete.
Relieved I am not a criminal the questions starts to pop up; has this bottle really been in the United States but then being shipped back to Portugal? Then why? Or is it simply a bottling at Kopke’s for private use, taking whatever bottle you found, and filled it with the tawny?
I love playing detective, especially when the content of the bottle is good, really good! However, I’m stuck and won’t come any further at the moment – hence Kopke has to be involved in this case.
For now – please settle with the following:
Vinho Velho was often used before, for wines not passing by the tolls in Vila Nova de Gaia, because they stayed in the Douro Valley for private use at the winery’s or as gifts to friends and family. Therefore not taxed.
Before opening the bottle was allowed to stand up for 24 hours allowing for the sediment to stabilize. Opened, decanted and wow, this is good tawny! Dark amber colour. Huge nose filled with fresh walnuts, old wood, figs and licorice. It’s old but still manages to be quite fresh.
The taste is creamy in its texture, almost fat, and the concentration level is impressive. Some sweetness lost. Figs, dates, sweet licorice, a bit of dust, old casks and nutmeg. Lovely acidity. The only but; a slight bitter taste at the end. On the other hand; it’s still a joy to sip and with some roasted and salted sun flower seed’s I’m quitting complaining.
To be continued…..