Made from exceptional grape harvests, Colheita Port and Vintage Port are among the most special proposals to be found among the different categories comprising the large family of this extremely iconic wine.

If, at a first glance, they may seem similar, which can create some confusion, the truth is that each of them presents a distinct offer, based on differentiated production processes, in particular concerning the way that the wine is aged.

We will show you the main differences between a Colheita Port and a Vintage Port.

Colheita Port Wine: wood aged

The vinification of what is known as Colheita Port is made only with grapes harvested in a single year. Underlying this process is the selection of some of the best grapes of that harvest. Grapes that are perfectly healthy and are able to offer structured grape must, with good tannins, superb aroma precursors and balanced acidity are, in principle, those with the greatest potential to give rise to the production of a Colheita Port.

This wine is wood aged and, by law, can only begin to be bottled seven years after the harvest. The natural oxidation from prolonged contact with the wood lends the Colheita Port a wide range of hues, from amber to golden, depending on its age and the type of grapes used in its production.

The aromas and flavours also evolve throughout the ageing process. As time goes by, the wine aged in casks gains interesting notes of dried fruit and nuts, honey, spices, vanilla, coffee, or chocolate.

You will find numerous Colheita Port wines of the Tawny or White type. It is mandatory for all of them to indicate the grape harvest year in question and the date on which the wine was bottled on their label.

Colheita Port wine pairs extremely well with desserts with dried fruit and nuts, egg-based puddings and savoury appetisers.

Vintage Port Wine: bottle aged

For many, Vintage Port is considered the high-end of Port wines.

Just like the Colheita, it is produced from grapes exclusively selected from a single harvest, regarded to be extraordinary. The major difference is in the ageing process to which each is submitted.

A Vintage ages in wood for two years, usually in large vats, in order to prevent its oxidation. It is subsequently bottled, where it continues to evolve gradually over decades. It is this capacity of ageing in the bottle that endows the wine with further complexity and inspires the famous phrase “like Port wine, the older the better”.

Nevertheless, a Vintage Port revels different charms at all stages of its bottled life, being an excellent choice for tasting, even when the wine is still young.
During the first five years, Vintages maintain their intense ruby colour and an exuberant concentration of aromas of red fruit and wild berries, with marked tannins and a lingering long flavour. As the wine progressively ages, in addition to the ripe fruit aromas, the wine becomes more complex, developing mineral notes and nuances and chocolate, herbs and spices, among others. Its colour matures, evolving to brick red hues.

A Vintage Port should be decanted a few hours before serving, because, being a wine that remains closed in a bottle for long periods and neither being filtered nor stabilised, it has a tendency to create sediment. This decanting will enable separating the sediment and aerating the wine, enabling it to release its aromas and be tasted in all its plenitude.

At the dining table, it pairs superbly with red fruit or chocolate-based desserts and puddings, and very intense cheeses, such as blue cheese.

You will find numerous Vintage Port wines of the Ruby type.

Now that you know how to distinguish between a Colheita Port and a Vintage Port, it’s time to take a decision.

If you want to enjoy the particular style and personality of a single harvest wine, with prevailing aromas of dried fruit, nuts and spices, ready to be consumed, we suggest you go for the Colheitas. If, on the other hand, time and patience are on your side, choose to have a Vintage Port in your wine cellar and allow it to age at its leisure. It will certainly be worth waiting for!

Take a look at our suggestions for you at Uva Wine Shop. We can’t deny having a special fondness for Kopke Colheita Port wines. Famous worldwide for their awarded quality, these wines are aged in wood for as long as possible and bottled only when ordered. Let yourself to be surprised!