To me there are not many things more soul warming and satisfying than a dram of Port on a cold winter night – to me it is the vinous version of comfort food. Add to that its incredible food pairing capabilities, enhancing such diverse flavors as a classic English Stilton or Farmhouse Cheddar served with dried fruits and good crusty bread, pan seared foie gras with toast points and something sweet, chocolate of all kinds, and all on its own in front of the fireplace.
While most people think of Vintage Ports as the top of the line, and indeed they are delicious – but they require decades of aging before they reach their peak of maturity, throw significant sediment and need decanting, should be consumed within a few days of opening, and they are relatively pricey. One great alternative is Colheita Port, essentially vintage Tawny that is aged in cask for a decade or more compared to true Vintage Ports that only spend about two years in wood. The difference is that Colheitas are ready to drink on release, matured to a beautiful ruby brick hue depending on how old they are.
At just over a decade in cask, today’s offer of Niepoort’s 2007 Colheita is just entering its prime. Lovely warm red fruits and kirschy cherry burst in front of the glass, followed on the palate but deliciously sweet liquor-like cherry essence, a spirit warmth, a vicious mouthfeel and a long warm finish. Even better yet Colheita Ports, unlike Vintage, also last for weeks after opening so you can have a sip, recork and enjoy it for weeks – if you can keep your hands off it that is!