Styles of port: Colheita

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Meaning ‘harvest’ or ‘crop’ and therefore by extension ‘vintage’ in Portuguese, colheita ports are in fact very different from vintage ports (below). Colheitas are best understood as tawny ports from a single year, bottled with the date of the harvest on the label. The law states that colheita ports must be aged in wood for at least seven years, although most are aged for considerably longer. The wines take on all the nuances of an aged tawny but should also express the characteristics of a single year. All colheita ports carry the date of bottling and most wines should be drunk within a year or so of that date. Colheita ports, once the speciality of the Portuguese-owned houses, have, in the 21st century, been taken up enthusiastically by the British shippers who sometimes use the word ‘Harvest’ on the label. (madeira may also use the word ‘colheita’.)