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1979 Port

November 21, 2012
Question by: Connie, Cambridge

Q:

What can you tell me about Port wine Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1979 and when should it be drunk by?  Thanks.

A:

Hi Connie, 1979 was a difficult year and not declared, only a few quinta wines were bottled.  By the time shippers would have had to make the decision about 1979, it was clear the 1980 wines were outstanding, and most producers opted to declare 1980 instead.  That said, a Vintage port of around 30 odd years of age, if it was well made and has been well-cellared, could be a real pleasure to drink.  As this was not an oustanding, declared year, we would hesitate to recommend ageing it further.

One other possibility - does the label have the word "Colheita" on it?  Whereas true Vintage Port is bottled just two or three years after harvest and aged in bottle, a Colheita is a single-harvest wine (like a Vintage) which has been aged at least 7 years (and often much much longer) in small wooden casks, so that it turns a tawny colour and the flavours mature quite rapidly due to the micro-exposure to air through the pores of the casks.  A Colheita is a style of Port which is ready to drink when bottled and relased to market but if it has been well-cellared, should still be enjoyable.  We are aware of some 1979 Colheitas in the market, though not from this producer specifically. 



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