Port Wine

11 October 2012, Thursday . City Porto & Gaia


Port wine is a fortified wine and naturally produced exclusively from grapes from the Douro Wine Region, in northern Portugal about 100 miles east of Porto. [1] Ruler and Pinion are the main centers production, but some of the best vineyards lie in the most eastward. the port wine has 16 brands available.

Although produced with grapes from the Douro and stored in cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, this alcoholic beverage known as "port wine" from the second half of the seventeenth century to be exported around the world from this city. Vila Nova de Gaia is the place with the highest concentration of alcohol per square meter in the world.


The "discovery" of Port wine is controversial. One version, championed by producers of England, says that the origin date of the seventeenth century, when the merchants of England and Scotland who were former Marines retired Marinhada England, settled after retirement in Porto, Portugal, and added brandy and another pinch of salt, the wine from the Douro region to prevent it from spoiling sour, turning vinegar. But the process that characterizes obtaining the precious nectar flavor Sea was already well known before the start of trade with the English, the "No Nau - course", it was put on a Portuguese wine cask docked in the city Porto that was floating for some time, and where the wood, by osmosis Chemistry penetrated the mild flavor of the Sea and Marine nectar. In the Age of Discoveries wine was stored in this way to save a maximum of time during journeys. The fundamental difference lies in the area of ??production and the varieties used today protected. The company was the first to Croft export port, followed by other English and Scottish companies.

What makes the port wine different from other wines [2], and the unique climate, is the fact that the fermentation of wine is not complete, it was stopped at an early stage (two or three days after the initiation), by adding a neutral grape spirit (about 77 degrees of alcohol). Thus Port wine is a naturally sweet wine (since the natural sugar of the grapes does not become completely alcohol) and stronger than other wines (between 19 and 22 alcohol).


Fundamentally consider three types of port wines: White, Ruby and Tawny.

White Port

The white port wine is made exclusively from grapes which during the fermentation process there is no contact with the must of grapes, and aged in large oak vats (20 thousand more liters). Typically Port wines are white wines young and fruity (not belittling the reserves) and are the only wine of Porto which categorizes as to its sweetness. There are so dry whites, half-dry and sweet. Still, due to how the Port is produced, the wine is almost never completely dry, always keeping some of its initial sweetness, so it is common to find white "dry" with some sweetness.

Ruby Port

The Ruby red wines are also aged in vats. Due to the low contact with the timber (because the surface / volume ratio is small) longer retain its initial characteristics due to the low oxidation. Very fruity wines are so dark in color (ruby), with flavors of red fruits (berries or plums for example) and with characteristics of young wines.

In this type of wine, in ascending order of quality, fit into the categories Ruby, Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage. The wines of the best categories, especially the vintage, and to a lesser extent the LBV may be saved, because age well in the bottle. [1]

Tawny Port

The Tawny are also red wines made from the same grapes fact that Ruby, but that only age two to three years in vats, then moving to the barrels of 550 liters. These allow a higher contact between wine and wood and then with air. Thus Tawny breathe more rapidly aging and rusting. Due to the high oxidation Tawny lose the initial color of red wines, gaining lighter tones like amber, and flavors of dried fruits like walnuts or almonds. With age the Tawny earn even more aromatic complexity, enhancing the aromas of dried fruit aromas and getting wood, toast, coffee, chocolate, honey, etc..


The existing categories are: Tawny, Tawny Reserve, Tawny with indication of age (10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years) and Harvest. These wines are lots of several years, except for Harvest, which resemble a Tawny with an Indication of Age with the same aging time.

In wines very old tawny red color original (ruby) new wines will disappear and becomes brownish red hues, golden amber.

Unlike red wines, wine white Port, again usually straw yellow color, with aging come to acquire increasing color, showing the yellow / golden yellow / brown and white wines already in very old color reaches its amber, mingling with the red wines also very old.


Other categories of port wine.

Port wine that ages up to three years is considered standard. All other wines that stay longer aging in wood belonging to special categories, either because the grapes that originated are better quality, either because they were produced in an exceptionally good year in terms of weather. Thus, among the special categories, it is common to find the reserve, the LBV, the aged Tawny and Vintage, and, less regularly, the Harvest.


The Reserve Port is produced from grapes selected high quality, and can either be white as red. In general, they are seven years maturing in wood, after being bottled. These wines should be treated the same way as the standard, ie, not age in the bottle (so it must always be kept upright) and after opening can be consumed within a period not exceeding six months. The Reserves have the characteristic that they can be drunk either as an aperitif or as a dessert wine. If you choose to drink before meals, it is advisable to serve it fresh, even if it is a red book.

Within the reserve are distinguished Tawny Reserve, which feature a color ink Auburn, with aromas of dried fruits, wood and roasting, resulting stage mandatory minimum of seven years in wood, to complement with some lingering aromas of fresh fruit . In the mouth, the softness is already notorious characteristic of wines aged in cask. In turn, the Reserve Ruby, resulting in lots younger than originate a wine-colored ink, with intense aromas and fruity wines are full-bodied and astringent but less than the Vintage and LBV. There is also the White Book, which is a white Port of very good quality and that obtained by blending aged in wood for at least seven years, with golden hues, good flavor complexity which is notorious aging in wood and persistent flavor

LBV Port

Port wines LBV (Late Bottled Vintage acronym) have the appearance of red wines Ruby (red colors and fruity flavors loaded) and are produced from a single harvest exceptionally good. Age from four to six years within the rafters, and then bottled continue their evolution, although not very significant. Therefore, LBV bottles are different, because the stopper is entire (ie has the usual plastic lid at top), meaning that the bottle must be kept horizontally (to moisten the wine cork). The LBV, unlike Vintages, can be consumed soon after bottling, since its development in the bottle is too small. The LBV thus eliminate the disadvantage of Vintages in relation to the waiting time before consumption, and even that is not a true Vintage, has many of its features, and offers a fairly close to the experience of drinking.

Aged Tawny

As its name indicates, these wines age in oak casks for longer than the normal three years. There are, thus, Tawny 10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years, and the older they are, the clearer becomes their colors and become more complex and their liqueur flavors: honey, cinnamon, chocolate, wood ... The trail left by these wine taster's mouth is unmistakable. The Tawnies are aged between Port wines more expensive market.


It is very common to find port wines with this designation, since they present very similar characteristics to those aged Tawny, have been increasingly unsuccessful undertakings of port wine.

High quality wine from a single harvest. Is aged in wood for varying periods of time, never less than seven.

The label, the word harvest is always followed the same year, which was considered exceptionally good for the production of Tawny Port Wines. The wine is aged about twelve years in oak casks, and features bright colors, a brownish golden, almost amber. The taste of a crop is very similar to a Tawny 10 or 20 years, but more logically rich and elegant.

During aging in cask aromas young, fruity and fresh, evolve by oxidative pathway, giving rise to a bouquet that brings out the aromas of dried fruit aromas of roasting, wood and spices. In the course of aging, will increase the smoothness, harmony and complexity of the bouquet. The color develops into the blondish, noting even greenish in very old wines. High quality wine obtained by blending the wine harvest of several years in order to obtain a complementary organoleptic characteristics. Is aged in wood for varying periods of time in which the age on the label corresponds to the approximate average age of the participants in the batch different wines and expresses the character of the wine in relation to the characteristics conferred by aging in casks. So a wine 10 years reveals a color, aroma and taste typical of a wine that remained for ten years in cask. As the wine harvest date, show a characteristic bouquet of oxidation which leads to aromas of dried fruits, spices and roasting, most evident in older wines. In the mouth, turn out to be soft and harmonious wine with an aroma very persistent. The Harvest 1994 is famous for having been produced in one of the best years ever for the Ports.


The Vintage designation is the highest rating that can be assigned to a port. It is considered Vintage Port wine obtained from the harvest of a single year, and is a designation given only in years of exceptional quality considered. Suffer a cask aging for a maximum of two and half years, subsequently being aged in the bottle.

Its aging potential is enormous and it is therefore advisable to guard for a period not less than 3-4 years in bottle. This wine should be taken only after meals and small amounts.

With aging in bottle becomes soft and elegant, faded initial astringency. Acquires therefore a balanced aroma, complex and very distinct. At Vintage with a few years in bottle are associated aromas of roasting (chocolate, cocoa, coffee, cigar box, etc.)., Aromas of spices (cinnamon, pepper, ...) and sometimes fruity aromas.


It is a blend of wines from several vintages, bottled after about three years in wood. It is one of the best alternatives to real vintage and form a sediment (or crust) in the bottle, needing decanting.





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