Weird and wacky Colheitas

Would you drink this?

from the beginning of the last century

we don't know how old this is...

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.

found at a house auction

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….

moscatel in the middle


  1. zoharwine /

    Hi Denise,

    Must admit there is a challenging aesthetic visual aspect to this decanter, to put it mildly. Did you try to pass it through a muslin cloth?

    Anyway i love Colheita’s and think they are seriously underrated which makes them great value for money. So please lets keep it as a secret.

    • Hi Gal! You know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! They actually put this wine thru muslin cloth TWICE! I can only imagine what it was like before they decanted it. I like colheitas too so I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion to keep it a secret. 😉

  2. You are brave, Sleuth! I am not sure I would have been game for something so sluicey looking!

    We met Oscar at the ’09 Wine Blogger Conference. His port is yummy! THanks for sharing!

    • I have to admit, this was one of the last colheitas we tried so there was probably a bit of “Dutch courage” going on there! Oscar is a lovely fellow and his still table wines are also very good. We’re hoping to start stocking both is ports and his wine in the market soon. Thanks for popping by! 🙂

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