Racking old Port Wine; what is wrong in the photo?
You are right, the mouth of this 14,000 liter balseiro is open. It is not that often that we rack our old Ports. This is the balseiro where our Colheita 1994 has aged for several years. But now it’s time for it to go to smaller containers. It will age in 605 – 615 liters pipas, some older than anyone of us, while others no more than 10 years old.
Why did we decided to change? While aging in balseiros, the Port will have little contact with oak, as the area per volume of contact is reduced. But if we switch it for pipos, Port will be more influenced by the oak. The fruity flavours conserve longer if the Port is aged in bigger containers but smaller containers will help the wine to reach elegance, nut flavors and sometimes chocolate. And this is the way my sister Claudia and me thought the Colheita 1994 should develop to. On the other hand, Colheita 1996 reached such a balance between fruit and oxidation in these same pipos, that we would like our 1994 Colheita to inherit it too.
We have bottled 3,000 bottles of 1996 Colheita few weeks ago, while for the 1994 we put apart 2,800 liters, to be bottled in the next weeks. No more bottling of any of these wines is planned for the next 12 months. These bottles have to be enough for all of us!