Dark amber core colour and lighter rim, reminiscent of a youngish Colheita-style Port. Sharp and beautifully complex, as a result of the longer-than-usual time spent in casks. Hazelnuts gently showing through the ever-decreasing fruit. In the mouth it shows lovely acidity, making it sharp and elegant, with great complexity and balance. Quite spicy, moving away from the fresher fruits into hazelnuts and prunes. The finish is fresh and at the same time delicate and very long.
Garrafeira Port is one of the rarest styles of this otherwise familiar Portuguese fortified wines. Today it is only produced by the house of Niepoort, whose first edition was the 1931.
It is a smooth, delicate style which can retain great freshness even after prolonged aging. It is sometimes characterized as tasting like a cross between Colheita and mature Vintage Port.
Garrafeira is made from grapes from a single year, as with the above, but the production method is distinct. The forftified red undergoes three to six years ageing in wood, oxidating and losing some color. It is then transferred to glass demijohns and sealed with a cork.
This second period of aging is in a more reductive environment. A unique character "cheiro has garrafa" (essence of the bottle) is derived from direct contact with the glass. The demijohns are known as bon-bons at Niepoort, and vary from 7 to 11 liters (1.85 to 2.9 US gallons). This maturation lasts several decades before transfer to bottle, and there may be several years spent in bottle before release.
Old bottles labelled as Garrafeira Port from other houses may also be available, usually at auction. These may be more akin to a Colheita or a very old Vintage Port, depending on relative time spent in oak or bottle.
The word garrafeira appears on other Portuguese wines. This signifies a reserve wine with some extra aging, rather than any specific connection to the Port style.