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Delaforce Colheita 86, 79, 52

Tasting Note (TN) December 2008

I absolutely love Port wine, which most people think of as a string sweet desert type wine.
Without going into immense detail, Port is from the Douro Valley of Portugal. It is a blend of several types on grapes, and there are many types of Port available.

These include Vintage Port, which is made only in the best of years, for example 1970, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, and 2000 among others. They are aged in the barrel for up to 2 ½ years and then bottled. They need to age further in the bottle before they are ready to drink, often 10-30+ years. For example I think the 1985s are still damn young and will improve with time. At 25 years of age, they are adolescents. I've had Vintage Ports over 100 years old that still rocked.

Tawny Ports are aged in the barrel much longer and are ready to drink when released. Most are a blend of vintages, and a 10 year old tawny will be a blend of barrel aged wines with an average age of 10 years. Officially speaking, there are 10, 20, 30 and over 40 year old designations of tawnys.

Colheita Ports are somewhat rare. They are tawny Ports, meaning barrel aged, but from a single vintage. I love Colheitas but rarely run into them.

I recently had the opportunity to try the Delforce Colheitas from 1986, 1979, and 1952. All but the 52 were tasted more than once (and I’ve got a couple more 52s in the cellar for a special occasion). Here are my tasting notes:

Delaforce Colheita 86, 500ml bottle -- 89 points

Color: rich amber rose

Nose: not a big nose, but a touch of molasses, maybe some orange peel, and some talcum powder with air. Quite pleasant

Taste: Good balance with tea, slighty spicy, perhaps candied orange peel or candied yam on the long finish

I really like this wine, and it's 90+ points of enjoyment for me, but 88 in the complexity department. I want more! (I’ve had more. A very pleasant wine but on the simple side).

Delaforce Colheita 79, 500ml bottle -- 85-92+??? points

Color: rich amber rose, perhaps slight darker than the 86

Nose: not a big nose, chalk, slate, talcum powder with air. Something clean and surgical to the nose. Candied fruit with 1-2 hours of air. Nice.

The few drops left in the morning, not enough to taste due to evaporation, had a mindblowing nose of charcoal.

Taste: Slightly spicier than the 86 but more subdued, similar to the 86 but less outgoing and gregarious. With 1 1/2 hours of air, this improves a lot. I fear I drank it much too fast after opening the first time.

An 85 pointer upon opening, but it kept getting better. It was a solid 90 when it was finished (first bottle, admittedly drank too fast).

Decant this puppy at least 1 hour, preferably two, before drinking. It opens up a lot and greatly improves.

Delaforce Coheita 1952,  500ml bottle --  93+ points

My nose was slightly stuffed, hence the "93+" -- its nose may have been much better than I thought. This DID improve with time, and deserved more than the mere hour from opening to finishing!

Color: rich amber/dark brown

Nose: Brazil nuts, molasses, brown sugar. Maybe a touch of alcohol but it's hard to say. I get unscented baby powder/talc,

On the palate this almost explodes it's sooo intense and looooong. Concentrated essence of roses behind a wall of treacle, a molasses like substance, and a spiciness that's hard to describe as I've never encountered it before. Almost painful in intensity, but it never quite crosses the line from pleasure. Maybe a hint of candied orange peel with an hour or so of air.

3 Days Later: The empty glass, empty save for some dried residue, had a fantastic 97 point nose of caramel and charcoal! Wow!

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