Weird and wacky Colheitas
Would you drink this?
What if I told you it was a port wine? More specifically a colheita who’s age was unknown? Even after double decanting it was still looking murky but we went for it anyway.
I always get confused about port classifications but I after spending an evening drinking with the fellows from The Port Forum, I’m pretty clear on what a colheita is. For the record, colheita is a tawny port that is made from a single vintage. Tawny port is red wine (from various vintages) that is aged in wooden barrels and then bottled as opposed to vintage port which is aged in bottle. The Colheita carries two dates, the date of the vintage and the date it is bottled, which is often seperated by decades….And that ends the educational portion of today’s lesson.
My good friend Oscar Quevedo was in town to sell his ports and he invited me to join him and a group of Port aficionados for a night of wierd and wacky Colheitas. The premise of these get togethers is to bring in your favourite ports to share. Since Oscar was in town, they decided to do something a bit different, hence the Colheitas. I later found out that colheita is not one of their favourites but that didn’t stop them. We jumped around the decades, 1994, 1965,1968, 1975, 1934, 1950, even the fabled 1977 (which sadly was corked!) and the one pictured at the very beginning. It was pretty cool to have the opportunity to drink wines that were older then almost anyone I know. I found many of them to have espresso coffee bean, maple syrup and of course nutty flavours and aromas.
Oscar did have one trick up his sleeve, producing a moscatel that was 50- 60 years old. It had the experts fooled. Despite it’s age, it was light and grapey with lovely elderflower notes and marzipan fighting it out for dominance. Oscar had found it in his grandfather’s cellar and brought it just for us. What I loved was the wonderful balance that this and all the other wines had. Perfect combination of acidity and fruit, none were flabby, even the “ageless” one.
That colheita pictured at the beginning was drinkable, a bit hammy and salty and really wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it but we could still get some nutty sweet notes off it. For me it was a whole new experience and as a sweet wine lover, I really enjoyed those colheitas. The port guys, however, not so happy but I’ll leave them to their vintage port, at least til the next tasting….