Definition - Colheita

Anything to do with Port.
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Taylor Quinta de Vargellas 1987
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Definition - Colheita

Post by KillerB » 14:50 Wed 27 Jun 2007

Pronunciations are always good

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Fonseca 1963
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Post by AHB » 14:09 Mon 09 Jul 2007

Colheita (pronounced Col-yay-tah) ports are wines made from a single vintage that are matured in barrels for at least 7 years before being bottled. As these are wines that are intended to gain oxidative flavours before they are bottled, their maturing process is very different from that of a vintage port.

Colheitas are generally matured in small barrels so as to maximise their exposure to air and wood. This causes a small amount (approxiamtely 2%) of the wine in the barrel to evaporate each year with the result that the wines gain in concentration and complexity the longer they stay in the barrel. In addition, once or twice a year the winemaker will rack the wines from one set of barrels to another to ensure that all barrels develop and mature at the same rate and will blend between barrels to ensure consistent flavours are achieved. (Barrels do not naturally mature at the same rate. For example, barrels stored near to an external wall may experience a higher temperature than barrels stored near the centre of a wine cellar and therefore the barrels near the external wall will have a higher rate of evaporation.)

After a minimum of 7 years of such treatment, the wines can be bottled and sold as Colheita wines. However, it is relatively rare that colheita wines will be bottled and sold with only the minimum of 7 years of barrel aging and it is not unusual in Portugal to see pre-war wine still in barrels and being occasionally bottled.

Although the wine will continue to mature in the bottle, bottle aging produces different characteristics in a wine than those being aimed for by the winemaker in a colheita wine. For this reason, colheita wines are best drunk within 1-2 years of their being bottled, when they taste as fresh as possible. It is legally required to put the bottling date on the label of every colheita port.

However, colheita ports bottled some years ago can still be drunk with enjoyment - they will just taste different from the same wine bottled only recently!
Top Ports in 2019: Niepoort VV (1960s bottling) and Quinta do Noval Nacional 2017
Top Ports in 2020 (so far): Croft 1945 and Niepoort VV (1960s bottling)

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uncle tom
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Post by uncle tom » 15:28 Mon 09 Jul 2007

Spot on Alex.., for those with a short attention span:

Colheita = Vintage Tawny

Tom :D
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

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