Definition - Garrafeira

Anything to do with Port.
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KillerB
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Definition - Garrafeira

Post by KillerB » 14:50 Wed 27 Jun 2007

Obscure ones are always good

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Frederick Blais
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Post by Frederick Blais » 23:12 Wed 11 Jul 2007

I guess I'll have to break the glass on this one :o

The first 6(average) years of a Garrafeira are spent like a LBV, aged in a big vats. Then, the Port is transferred in a glass container often called demijohns(bon-bon in french). It will aged in these glass container often averaging 11 litters for as long as the producer feel it is appropriate. Once ready, it will be transfered in a regular 750ml bottle. It still has the ability to age in this bottle format.

If you see a Garrafeira port bottle, you'll read the year of the harvest, the year it was bottled:transfered in dimeijin and the year it was decanted : transfered in 750ml bottle. Normally, in neither of the process the Port is filtered, just gently transfered to try to separate it from most of the dregs.

They are not cheap mainly reflected the fact that it takes more place to store them than a big pipe for the same volume. They are also rare for the demand.
Last edited by Frederick Blais on 21:41 Mon 21 Apr 2008, edited 1 time in total.

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DRT
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Post by DRT » 23:20 Thu 12 Jul 2007

I think this is the only style of port that I have never tasted. One day I will have to seek one out just out of curiosity.

For those who have tasted this style, what characteristics would you say set it apart from Colhieta and Aged Tawny's?

Derek
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Ernest H. Cockburn

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Post by RonnieRoots » 23:33 Thu 12 Jul 2007

I've only ever tasted the 1952 Garrafeira, once. It was leaning more towards a colheita port than towards a VP, but the weight, intensity and characteristics of prunes and chocolate set it apart from older colheitas. It was a unique experience.

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Post by DRT » 23:48 Thu 12 Jul 2007

Ronnie,

Would you please expand on some of those charactaristics you referred to above?

Was is heavier than a VP, thicker than a 40 year old tawny etc.

Thanks

Derek
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Ernest H. Cockburn

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Post by Conky » 23:57 Thu 12 Jul 2007

Derek,

I can understand your curiousity. But I think you may be asking too much of Ronnie. Imagine the two occasions we've had the good fortune to enjoy each others company and drink quality Port. What if I then asked you, some time later, to elaborate on one of them???

I suspect there may be a tad of coughing and spluttering? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Alan

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Post by DRT » 00:06 Fri 13 Jul 2007

Corky,

I'm only guessing here but I think Ronnie has a slightly different approach to Offlines than you or I :roll:

Anyway, to clarify, what I'm looking for are sensory descriptions of the style, not specific tastes. For instance, I have only had 3 40 year old Tawny's that I can remember. I can't begin to describe specific tastes or differences between the three wines but I do remember them all being extremely smooth, thick and glupey with no overpowering heat and a nutty rather than fruity taste.

Taylor's, Calem and Vasconcellos (in reverse order of preference) for those who are interested in which ones I have tasted.

Derek
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Ernest H. Cockburn

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Post by Jay P » 07:50 Fri 13 Jul 2007

glupey?

Were you not with us at Avepod? I have had a few that were certianly not "glupey".

Jay
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KillerB
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Post by KillerB » 00:47 Mon 16 Jul 2007

I think terminology is being mixed up here. The word Derek was looking for was 'gloopy', very different meaning and etymology from 'glupey'.

Having had a glass or two with Ronnie, I can assure you that although his posts may give an air of meticulous efficiency, he makes it up as he's going along as well. :P
Port is basically a red drink

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Post by DRT » 00:57 Mon 16 Jul 2007

I can confirm that gloopy was the word I was searching for. Just take a mouthful of Calem 40 yr old and you will get the picture.

Derek
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

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Post by mosesbotbol » 13:07 Thu 19 Jul 2007

I had a '44 Niepoort Garrafeira this spring I would put it on top 10 all favorite ports. Amazing something that old and doesn't need decanting. The bottle had a textured exterior and odd color glass too.

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Post by Frederick Blais » 03:05 Fri 20 Jul 2007

I'll spend 12 days with Niepoort's this year during the harvest. I'll try to bring more light in this this topic.

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Post by Conky » 09:55 Fri 20 Jul 2007

That was a great bit of 'Name Dropping' Fred, well done. :D

How did that come about?

Alan

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Post by Frederick Blais » 06:01 Sat 21 Jul 2007

To make it quick, I've been in touch with Dirk Niepoort for a few years, I've visited the quinta and lodge a couple of times and last year when I met Dirk for a dinner he proposed we should meet at least once a year and also that I'd be welcome to participate in the harvest.

There is nothing as good as living your passion with passionnates in the place where so many passion did and will continue to rise.

If you haven't, you might want to read this article Alan : http://www.frederickblais.com/vindouro/ ... 02006.html

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Post by RonnieRoots » 13:04 Sun 22 Jul 2007

Hmm, Derek, I guess by now you should know that KillerB is right.

I tried to look up my notes from that evening, but it appears that I haven't made any. I think Stevie did, and he may give some more specifics on the port. I do remember that it was great. When we just poured it in the decanter it had a very distinct 'flor' aroma (like in sherry) to it, that I never experienced in port before.

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Post by StevieCage » 10:19 Mon 23 Jul 2007

Here is my TN for the '52 - this one was bottled 1955, decanted 1984 and tasted in April 2004:

Niepoort 1952 Garrafeira Port: lighter and more brown than the Graham's ’55. Nose: nice! Sweet for sure: molasses and caramel. Rich, very rich and full bodied. Sweet, with chocolate and prunes. Smoooooooth finish, with more caramel and coffee. Very long. More Colheita than VP in character.
This was an extremely tricky Port for tsunami to identify, and none of us had ever tasted a Garrafeira Port. It was decanted some six hours before serving.


Ronnie added this later:

Again WOW. Lady Roots and I were so incredibly happy that we found this port a while ago that we thought it would be an ideal wine for this offline. So together with Stevie we bought another bottle and drank it on day 1. All I can say is that I am very happy to have another bottle. Where the 55 VP showed lots of power, this port was an example of enormous subtlety. Wonderful and unique experience.

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Post by Conky » 10:47 Mon 23 Jul 2007

Stevie,

So its one to look out for. I presume they're not common and are expensive?

By the way, who's Tsunami?

Alan

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Post by StevieCage » 11:12 Mon 23 Jul 2007

They are indeed quite rare. I think we paid 200 Euros for this bottle, which I still think was a very good price.

Tsunami is a guy from Switserland who posts on the WineSpectator forums. The TNs of the Garrafeira were from an offline with him and the Roots' that lasted three days. 88)

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Post by mosesbotbol » 13:58 Tue 24 Jul 2007

StevieCage wrote:Here is my TN for the '52 - this one was bottled 1955, decanted 1984 and tasted in April 2004:

Niepoort 1952 Garrafeira Port: lighter and more brown than the Graham's ’55. Nose: nice! Sweet for sure: molasses and caramel. Rich, very rich and full bodied. Sweet, with chocolate and prunes. Smoooooooth finish, with more caramel and coffee. Very long. More Colheita than VP in character.
This was an extremely tricky Port for tsunami to identify, and none of us had ever tasted a Garrafeira Port. It was decanted some six hours before serving.


Ronnie added this later:

Again WOW. Lady Roots and I were so incredibly happy that we found this port a while ago that we thought it would be an ideal wine for this offline. So together with Stevie we bought another bottle and drank it on day 1. All I can say is that I am very happy to have another bottle. Where the 55 VP showed lots of power, this port was an example of enormous subtlety. Wonderful and unique experience.
Very similar to the '44 I shared this spring.

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Post by Frederick Blais » 21:42 Mon 21 Apr 2008

I've amended my definition of Garrafeira due to most recent information I could share with Dirk over the last week-end.

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Post by Simon Lisle » 15:23 Tue 22 Apr 2008

I can say that Derek and I shared a 1917 garrafeira at my home since this thread started.

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Post by DRT » 19:01 Tue 22 Apr 2008

I had the privilege of seeing the entire stock of Garrafeira in the Neipoort cellar yesterday and was given a description of the wine making process by the son of the Neipoort Cellar Master, Jose Rodrigo.

Fred's description matches what I was told. Some additional pieces of information that I had explained to me are as follows:
  • Niepoort are the only shipper who own the 11 litre Demijons in which this wine is aged. They have approximately 4,000 demijons, almost all of which are filled with wine, and are believed to have been purchased from a French perfume importer in the early 20th Century.
  • The wines that are used to make Garrafeira are of Vintage quality when they are selected to enter this unusual wine ageing process.
  • Niepoort have only produced (or that might be "released") 7 Garrafeira vintages, the earliest of which was 1931. The latest release has just been bottled ready for sale but will not be released to the market for a further 2 to 3 years as it is allowed to settle in the bottle after being decanted from the Demijons.
  • Whilst the wines are ageing in the Demijohns they are sampled every few years to see if they are reaching optimum maturity. There is no science or plan to this, just the judgement of the winemaker and Dirk Niepoort as to whn to release the wine. Once the decision is made, every Demijohn from that vintage is decanted into a steel cask and then bottled without filtration.
-------

Simon,

After speaking to Jose yesterday I believe that the bottle we shared was a Colheita which was labelled using the traditional meaning of "Garrafeira", which means "old wine", prior to the style of wine produced by Neipoort gaining the official clasification of "Garrafeira". No other producer makes this style of wine and, if bottled and sold today, the bottle we had from Royal Oporto would be labelled Colheita.

Derek
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Post by Simon Lisle » 19:14 Tue 22 Apr 2008

Derek two of the bottles we had that night were Burmester 1900 colheita and the 1917. The Burmester was a typical colheita but the 1917 was extremely light I'm no expert in this field but I beleive both were bottled quite close in years but the contrast was quite extreme.Does this mean that Niepoort are the only producer of garrafeiras?

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Post by DRT » 19:48 Tue 22 Apr 2008

Simon Lisle wrote:Does this mean that Niepoort are the only producer of garrafeiras?
I think they are. Other producers have used the word on labels but, according to Mayson, the style wasn't officially classified until 2002.

Mayson translates the term Garrafeira as "private wine cellar" or "private reserve". I believe that is what it meant on the bottle we had.

Interestingly, Tom showed me a bottle of Neipoort last week that has a "decanted" date and a "bottled" date on the label but did not use the word Garrafeira on the label, presumably because the classification did not exist at the time it was bottled.

Derek
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By what process does a garrafeira become a garrafeira?

Post by jdaw1 » 01:39 Thu 24 Apr 2008

By what chemical or other process does a garrafeira become a garrafeira? Is it the storing in the large bottle? (So would a very large bottle of VP be garrafeira-like?) Or is it the oxidation that occurs when decanted into 75cl bottles? Or something else?

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