Crusted port database

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Re: Crusted port database

Postby jdaw1 » 10:39 Tue 28 Dec 2010

uncle tom wrote:Colheitas have to be from a single harvest.
Elsewhere on :tpf: we have discussed to what extent very old purportedly single-harvest wines have been topped up, refreshed, or whatever. Some slippage in the terms might be customary.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Andy Velebil » 17:07 Tue 28 Dec 2010

jdaw1 wrote:
uncle tom wrote:Colheitas have to be from a single harvest.
Elsewhere on :tpf: we have discussed to what extent very old purportedly single-harvest wines have been topped up, refreshed, or whatever. Some slippage in the terms might be customary.

There is no IVDP regulation that requires the Port used to top up a barrel be from the same vintage. Some producers use the smae vintage and some use a younger one. Regardless of what is used, they are still legally considered a Colheita from a single harvest and be labelled as such.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby jdaw1 » 22:41 Fri 31 Dec 2010

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Re: Crusted port database

Postby uncle tom » 15:41 Thu 06 Jan 2011

There is no IVDP regulation that requires the Port used to top up a barrel be from the same vintage


Unless I've missed something, the IVDP does not have rules relating to topping up; but they do define a colheita as being wine from a single harvest - so topping up with something else would appear to be a bit naughty, although I don't think it needs to be wine from the same original production - just the same year.

Rules, as always, are made to be broken; so what happens in practice is another matter..

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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Andy Velebil » 03:54 Fri 07 Jan 2011

uncle tom wrote:
There is no IVDP regulation that requires the Port used to top up a barrel be from the same vintage


Unless I've missed something, the IVDP does not have rules relating to topping up; but they do define a colheita as being wine from a single harvest - so topping up with something else would appear to be a bit naughty, although I don't think it needs to be wine from the same original production - just the same year.

Rules, as always, are made to be broken; so what happens in practice is another matter..

Tom

This was a topic in a FTLOP newsletter as one of the "A Question For The Port Trade". Some interesting replies from producers as some topped up with the same vintage and some used a younger vintage. There is no rule for or against to break when it comes to topping up a barrel. A bit of a grey area maybe....
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Glenn E. » 05:46 Fri 07 Jan 2011

Andy Velebil wrote:
uncle tom wrote:
There is no IVDP regulation that requires the Port used to top up a barrel be from the same vintage


Unless I've missed something, the IVDP does not have rules relating to topping up; but they do define a colheita as being wine from a single harvest - so topping up with something else would appear to be a bit naughty, although I don't think it needs to be wine from the same original production - just the same year.

Rules, as always, are made to be broken; so what happens in practice is another matter..

Tom

This was a topic in a FTLOP newsletter as one of the "A Question For The Port Trade". Some interesting replies from producers as some topped up with the same vintage and some used a younger vintage. There is no rule for or against to break when it comes to topping up a barrel. A bit of a grey area maybe....

I'm with Tom on this one. It looks pretty clear to me that for a Port to be labeled a Colheita, it cannot be topped up with Port from a different year. Period.

There are no rules regarding topping up that I can find, but the rules about what can and cannot be labeled a Colheita are very clear. To be labeled a Colheita, all of the grapes must come from a single harvest. Therefore, if you top up a Colheita barrel with a Port from a different year that barrel is no longer Colheita. ALL of the Port in the barrel - whether there originally or added later to top up the barrel - must come from a single harvest.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby DRT » 03:42 Sat 08 Jan 2011

I agree that in today's world the notion of topping up a cask destined to be bottled and sold as Colheita with wine of a later vintage would not be acceptable, However, I think Tom and Glenn are applying today's sensibilities to yesterday's reality. Wood-aged vintage wines of old were "refreshed" with younger wine. To pretend otherwise is just nonesense.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Glenn E. » 23:50 Sat 08 Jan 2011

DRT wrote:I agree that in today's world the notion of topping up a cask destined to be bottled and sold as Colheita with wine of a later vintage would not be acceptable, However, I think Tom and Glenn are applying today's sensibilities to yesterday's reality. Wood-aged vintage wines of old were "refreshed" with younger wine. To pretend otherwise is just nonesense.

Sure, but to be bottled as a Colheita today the wine cannot have been topped up or refreshed with a younger wine. The current regulations are quite clear, and make no allowances for historical practices.

If you buy a Colheita that was bottled before those regulations were put in place then your wine may have been refreshed at some point. But once the regulations came into effect one would hope that they were followed, else what is the point of having them in the first place?
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby DRT » 10:40 Sun 09 Jan 2011

Given that the practice of "refreshing" existed and was legal for over 100 years, do you really think that the shippers started from scratch when the current legislation was created?

Many shippers still have pipes of old vintage-dated wines from the 19th century and even more from the early 20th. At the time these wines were produced and in the first few decades of their life they will probably have been refreshed with younger wines. Some of these will have documented records of how they have been maintained but many will not, especially those acquired when already of considerable age. I don't see a problem with this because these wines are what they are and it is impossible to turn back time and comply with legislation retrospectively. If a shipper decides to bottle a 100+ yr old Colheita today do you really think the IVDP would expect them to produce definitive proof that the wine had not been refreshed by their ancestors or the previous owners of the wine stock? Even if that was asked for it would be almost impossible to prove so the test would be somewhat redundant.

But getting back to the source of this debate:
DRT wrote:
jdaw1 wrote:The Army & Navy Co-operative Society, March 1908:
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This is Colheita, not Crusted.

I think that describes what would have been considered a legitimate wood-aged vintage wine in 1908. Today we call those Colheitas. At no point in time have they been classified as "Crusted".
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby uncle tom » 09:18 Tue 11 Jan 2011

Given that the practice of "refreshing" existed and was legal for over 100 years, do you really think that the shippers started from scratch when the current legislation was created?


Of course not, and the timeline is quite clear..

The 'refreshed' tawnies evolved into the 10-20-30-40yr and 'Very old' multi harvest blended tawnies that we have today, while Colheitas are from a single harvest and have been bottled under that name for a very long time; although distribution into anglo saxon markets seems relatively recent.

Have some wines been sold as Colheitas that were not strictly correct? Doubtless this has happened, and probably as much to stretch the stock as to enhance it..

However, I don't believe a refreshed tawny has ever been correctly defined as a Colheita.

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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Andy Velebil » 21:59 Tue 11 Jan 2011

uncle tom wrote:Have some wines been sold as Colheitas that were not strictly correct? Doubtless this has happened, and probably as much to stretch the stock as to enhance it..

However, I don't believe a refreshed tawny has ever been correctly defined as a Colheita.

Tom

Tom,

Topping up a Colheita pipe with a younger Colheita vintage is still done today and there is no regulation forbidding it. Those pipes are then bottled and sold as a Colheita.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby DRT » 00:00 Wed 12 Jan 2011

Does anyone know when the current Colheita definition/legislation came into existence?

The most prominent vintage that is still bottled by many shippers in 1937. If the current legislation came in more than 10 years after that I would be very surprised if any 1937 doesn't contain a small amount of younger wine.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Glenn E. » 01:25 Wed 12 Jan 2011

Andy Velebil wrote:
uncle tom wrote:Have some wines been sold as Colheitas that were not strictly correct? Doubtless this has happened, and probably as much to stretch the stock as to enhance it..

However, I don't believe a refreshed tawny has ever been correctly defined as a Colheita.

Tom

Tom,

Topping up a Colheita pipe with a younger Colheita vintage is still done today and there is no regulation forbidding it. Those pipes are then bottled and sold as a Colheita.

Andy,

IVDP regulations clearly define a Colheita as from a single harvest. It is, therefore, not legal to top up a Colheita pipe with a younger Colheita vintage because that pipe would no longer be from a single vintage. Or rather, you may do whatever you want while you are topping up, but if you use anything but the same vintage to top up a Colheita pipe then that pipe is no longer a Colheita.

There are no regulations regarding topping up because there don't need to be any. The IVDP regulations for what a Colheita can contain are all that are needed.

Does this mean that it never happens? Evidently not. But it is clearly not legal unless there's some loophole that I'm just not seeing in the IVDP regulations.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby JacobH » 12:22 Wed 12 Jan 2011

I think this debate about the IVDP regulations is caused by them not being clear. The main set of regulations simply describe a colheita inter alia as being a wine "proveniente de uma só vindima" (i.e. "from a single harvest") without specifying what is meant by it being "from a single harvest". If this was in England, I would say that it would be arguable that wine could still be "from a single harvest" if it were topped up, especially if the additional wine is a small amount (say less than 5%) and if it could be shown that this is a long established practice.

Compare the Portuguese regulations to the English and Scottish regulations for Scotch which say that Scotch may only be labeled with a year on the bottle if "all of the whisky in the drink was distilled in that year"; something which to my eyes is much clearer. Even the EU (which could not draft legislation in a readable way if its €114 billion budget depended on it) in its regulations for labeling of spirits says: "a maturation period or age may only be specified in the description, presentation or labeling of a spirit drink where it refers to the youngest alcoholic component".

But then these regulations are Portuguese and not English; they may be clear enough to Portuguese readers. Equally, it may be the IVDP has a set of rules which are more precise than the regulations which would cover questions such as topping-up.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Andy Velebil » 15:54 Wed 12 Jan 2011

Don't shoot the messenger....

From the July 2009 FTLOP newsletter...
Roy’s follow up question: Claudia [Quevedo], what about the role of "topping off" ... how often is it done to the
pipes and is there a difference between doing so to a Tawny Port vs. a Colheita? Also, do you have
to use the Port from the identical year to use to top off a Colheita or can it be refreshed with
something younger like can be done with Madeira?

Claudia responds: It really depends on the Port we have in the pipe. Usually we prefer younger Port
for the topping off. This way we can ”refresh” the Port. As you know the Port in the barrels incurs in a
slow oxidation, transforming the fresh fruity flavors into nuts, dried fruits, and all the other flavors that
come up from the oak. We think the Ports used to get better with a 5%-10% blend of younger Port to
get a little bit of body, freshness as well as a longer and more lingering finish.
The capacity of the barrels is also important. The balseiros and toneis, with over 5,000 liter capacity
have a smaller area of contact per liter of Port. So the oxidation will be slower and smoother. In these
cases sometimes we prefer to top off with Port of the same age.
Regarding Colheitas and Tawnies: the pattern of the Tawnies (color & flavor) is more strictly
controlled by the IVDP. So, in order to obtain certain colors and flavors we "have to use" small
capacity barrels, such as 550-600 liter pipas (pipes). The pattern of the color for the Colheitas is not
as strict, so we prefer to age the Port in balseiros of 14,000 liters. This way we get a slower oxidation,
allowing us to still have quite fresh flavors, good tannins and acidity and full body in 15 or 20 year old
Colheitas.


Roy’s follow up question for Poças’ head winemaker Jorge Manuel Pintão: What about the role
of "topping off" ... how often is it done to the pipes and is there a difference between doing so to a
Tawny Port vs. a Colheita? Also, do you have to use the Port from the identical year to use to top off
a Colheita or can it be refreshed with something younger like can be done with Madeira?

Jorge responds: The ‟topping off” or as we say in Portuguese ‟o atesto,” is done at least once a
year. There is no difference in procedure between a Tawny Port vs. a Colheita Port. We always use
the same wine (same year, quality and/or batch for the ‟topping off.”
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Glenn E. » 23:20 Wed 12 Jan 2011

Andy Velebil wrote:Don't shoot the messenger....

No shooting necessary!

If you read both of those responses carefully it sounds like they use the same wine to top up a Colheita. Jorge says so specifically, though his statement does imply that they do it because they want to, not because they are required to by the IVDP. Claudia's response is harder to parse, and doesn't really directly answer the question. She says that it depends on what they have in the pipe and that they usually prefer to top off with a younger vintage, but doesn't say which they "usually prefer" to top off with a younger vintage and which they don't. She then continues with "Regarding Colheitas and Tawnies:" which implies that the first part of the answer was regarding something else.

So sadly, those answers don't really clarify anything. :(
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby oscar quevedo » 01:09 Fri 14 Jan 2011

Time to put my two cents in. Actually, I think there is no answer for this, not from the legal side, neither from the producer’s point of view. Why?

On the legal side, IVDP says that a Colheita is a ‟Port Wine from single harvest”, so 100% of the Port, the total amount from a single vintage. But on the other side, IVDP does not contemplate any evaporation rate for the barrels. However, we all know that anything you age in the wood will evaporate slower or faster. Port Wine in a 550 liters pipa (kind of barrel from the Douro) will evaporate at an annual rate of around 3% (even higher in dryer and hotter cellars), but this evaporation rate is not reduced from the inventory together with the IVDP. If you declare 550 liters in 1911, and leave it in the pipa from 100 years, in 2011 this pipa will have 27 liters, or 5% of what you had in the year 0. But the figure on your inventory is 550 liters. There is no answer on the legal field.

Now lets analyze the winemaking process. Lets imagine we have 10 pipas. We use one for topping off the other 9. At an evaporation rate of 3%, this pipa will last for 4 year. At the end of the 4th year we choose a second pipa to top off the remaining 8. This second pipa will top off the others 8 pipas for 6 years. And so on! (if you are lost, just open the Port bottle and search for something more interesting). Going to the point: is the Port from the topping pipa aging in perfect conditions? I guess no, because as soon as it starts topping other pipas it will not be completely full and this will speed up to fast the oxidation/ aging process. The more it tops off other pipas, the bigger is the amount of oxygen in the topping off pipa.

That being said, is logistically hard to top off with the same wine for a long period. On the producer’s point of view, it depends on what you want from the Port: topping off with Port from the same age keeping the same flavor profile or refresh it with younger Port to increase the flavors spectrum.

So, can a Colheita be topped off with a younger Port and still be called a Colheita? Yes, it can, and sometimes we do it.

Note 1. I have to apologize for using the text above for a blog post. But I thought that these could be an interesting theme to share with the few others that read our blog. Actually, I'm not pasting here my post, but the other way around.

Note 2. The IVDP legislation, on the technical stuff, is/can be highly influenced by the Conselho Inperprofissional, a kind of body where the grape growers, producers and shippers are represented. If the Conselho Interprofissional wished to change the legislation, specially regarding the question of the evaporation influence on the stocks, they would have already changed it.

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Re: Crusted port database

Postby DRT » 01:17 Fri 14 Jan 2011

Thanks, Oscar. Answers from someone in the trade are always welcome :wink:
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby Andy Velebil » 03:32 Fri 14 Jan 2011

Oscar,
Thanks for making things quite clear.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby JacobH » 13:02 Mon 17 Jan 2011

Thanks Oscar, for your insight. Could I ask how it tends to work in practice? Do you tend to top up the pipas once a year or are they topped up on a more regular basis so that the barrels are usually very full?
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby oscar quevedo » 19:58 Wed 19 Jan 2011

Of course you can Jacob, pleasure to talk about that! We use to top up every six months, both pipas and balseiros. Last week we top up all the balseiros of 14.000 liters with around 200 liters. It's important to keep them completely full because we want to have a slow oxidation resulting from the contact with the oak (which is porous) not by having oxygen in half-full pipas.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby g-man » 20:25 Wed 19 Jan 2011

oscar quevedo wrote:Of course you can Jacob, pleasure to talk about that! We use to top up every six months, both pipas and balseiros. Last week we top up all the balseiros of 14.000 liters with around 200 liters. It's important to keep them completely full because we want to have a slow oxidation resulting from the contact with the oak (which is porous) not by having oxygen in half-full pipas.


curious, do you do a small bottling pre topping off? That way you have a stash that'd be 6 months trailing the current batch and you can tell if it would be better to bottle before topping or bottle after topping. Not sure if it'll be totally worthwhile though.
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby oscar quevedo » 20:34 Wed 19 Jan 2011

Good question g-man! No we don't, but as we use similar Ports for topping up I'm not sure if you would find significant differences between batches. In any case, I'd prefer to have these samples since the beginning of the topping off. But that's is more extra work!!!
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby g-man » 21:06 Wed 19 Jan 2011

oscar quevedo wrote:Good question g-man! No we don't, but as we use similar Ports for topping up I'm not sure if you would find significant differences between batches. In any case, I'd prefer to have these samples since the beginning of the topping off. But that's is more extra work!!!


if you send me these samples, I'd be happy to do the work for you and posts notes/maintain records. 88)
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Re: Crusted port database

Postby jdaw1 » 23:08 Wed 09 Feb 2011

Bottle seen during a visit to the Wine Society.
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