Port Wine

Port Wine is a fortified wine, as defined in EU legislation. It is produced in the Demarcated Region of the Douro under very specific conditions resulting from natural and human factors. The winemaking procedures, based on traditional methods, include stopping the fermentation of the must by adding grape brandy (benefício), making up lots of wine and ageing the wine.

Port Wine stands out from ordinary wines due to its unique characteristics: an enormous variety of types that surprise us with the wealth and intensity of their incomparable aromas, a highly persistent aroma and flavour, a high alcohol content (usually between 19 and 22% vol.), a vast range of degrees of sweetness and a assortment of colours. There is a set of categories that identify the different types of Port Wine.
The different types of red Port vary in colour from deep purple to light gold, with a range of intermediary hues (tawny, golden tawny, golden and light gold). White Port comes in various shades (pale yellow, straw and golden white), all intimately related to the winemaking technique used. When aged in cask for many years, white wines acquire, through a natural oxidation, a golden hue that is very similar to that of a very old tawny wine.
In terms of sweetness, Port can be very sweet, sweet, semi-dry or extra dry. Just how sweet a wine will be is a choice made during production; it depends on when the brandy is added to stop the fermentation of the wine

Vinho do Porto: cores

Port Wines can be divided into two major categories according to the manner by which they are aged.

Ruby Style
Are wines in which the winemaker looks to restrain the evolution of their deep red colour and maintain the fruit and strength of a young wine. This is the type of wine that you will find in the following categories, in ascending order of quality: Ruby, Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage. The finest category wines, especially Vintage, followed by LBV, are good for storing as they age well in bottle. We particularly recommend LBV and Vintage.

Tawny Style
Are obtained from lots of different wines that have aged for different lengths of time in casks or in vats. With age, the colour of the wines slowly develops into tawny, medium tawny or light tawny, with a bouquet of dried fruits and wood; the older the wine, the stronger these aromas. The present categories in this style are: Tawny, Tawny Reserve, Tawny with an Indication of Age (10, 20, 30 and 40 years old) and Colheita. These are blends of wines from several years, except for Colheitas, wines of a single year that are similar to an aged Tawny of the same age. These wines are ready to drink when they are bottled. We particularly recommended a Tawny with an Indication of Age and Colheita.

White Port
Varies in style according to whether it has aged for a shorter or longer period of time, and different degrees of sweetness according to the manner by which it is made. In addition to the traditional White Ports, there now are other wines with a floral and complex aroma and a minimum alcohol content of 16.5% (Light Dry White Port) capable of meeting the demand for less alcoholic Ports.

Rosé
Rosé is a pink-coloured wine obtained by light maceration of red grapes, with no oxidation during preservation. These are wines to be drunk young and are highly aromatic with notes of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. They are soft and pleasant on the palate. They are best drunk chilled or with ice, and can also be served in several cocktails.

Ruby Style: Bottled matured

Ruby Reserve Port
Full-bodied, rich and deep ruby red, these wines are frequently the product of a selection of the best Port Wine made each year, blended together to create a young, powerful, fruity and intense wine that is also rounded and versatile.

Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV)
This is a Ruby Port from a single year, chosen for its extremely high quality and bottled after ageing for four to six years in wood. Most of these Ports are ready for drinking when they are purchased, but some will continue to age in bottle (check the label). LBV Port is a deep ruby red, extremely full-bodied and rich in the mouth and it possesses the particular style and personality of a wine from a single harvest.

Crusted
Vinho do Porto de elevada qualidade. É obtido por lotação de vinhos de diferentes colheitas e engarrafado após 3 a 4 anos de envelhecimento em madeira. Uma vez engarrafado, as suas características peculiares originam um depósito (crosta) na parede da garrafa.

Vintage Port
Considered by many as the jewel in the Port Wine crown, this is the only Port that ages in bottle. Produced from the grapes harvested during a single year and bottled two to three years after the vintage, it develops gradually for 10 to 50 years before it is drunk. The charm of Vintage resides in the fact that it is attractive at pratically all stages of its life in bottle. During the first five years, it retains the intense ruby of its original colour, exuberant aromas of red fruits and wild berries and a taste of black chocolate, all of which is balanced by strong tannins that make it the perfect accompaniement to desserts that are rich in chocolate. After ten years in bottle, in addition to its throwing a light deposit, Vintage takes on garnet tones and attains a delicious plenitude of ripe fruit aromas and flavours. As the wine matures, its colour turns a rich golden brown and its fruit acquires a greater subtlety and complexity and the deposit that it throws becomes thicker.

Port (Vintage) Single Quinta Vintage
These Vintages are unique in that they are not only the product of a single harvest but also of a single quinta, or wine estate, which makes them truly exceptional.

Special Categories

These styles include wines that are famous for their characteristics, which is why they are known as special categories

Tawny Style: Wood matured

Tawny Reserve Port
Aged in oak, this wine boasts extremely elegant flavours, the perfect combination of the fruitiness of youth and the maturity of age, also apparent in their attractive médium golden brown colour.

Tawny 10 Years Old Port
A bit more developed than Tawny Reserve, this is a very similar wine but with the added assurance that it bears the characteristics of a ten years old Port.

Tawny 20 Years Old Port
With colours ranging from a reddish to golden Tawny, these exceptional wines are full of fruit and their flavours are more developed and concentrated due to the fact that the wine was aged in small oak casks. The extremely intense aromas and flavours are reminiscent of toasted vanilla and dried fruits, with delicate hints of oak.

Tawny 30 Years Old Port
Certain Ports are set aside to age longer in wood. The gradual exposure to air concentrates and intensifies the original fruit of these wines, creating more complex characteristics where honey and spices are touched with deep aromas of dry peaches, hazelnuts and vanilla.

Tawny 40 Years Old Port
This classification is given to the oldest Tawny Ports, wines that are marvellously concentrated and complex. Intense, they all but explode in the mouth, filling your palate with aromatic flavours that will astound your senses.

Colheita Port
These single vintage Tawnies are aged in cask for a minimum seven years and present a wide range of colours from golden red to tawny, depending on their age. Their bouquet and flavour also develop over time to create different style Tawnies.

Special categories of the White Port Wine
Port Wines can bear the designation 'Reserve' or 'Indication of Age' (10, 20, 30 or more than 40 years old) on the label, provided that the criteria of the Port Wine regulations are met.

Pairings with Port Wine

Toasted almonds, smoked salmon, dry plums or dates, served as an aperitif to a meal, are perfect when accompanied by a chilled White Port. If you choose to serve a paté, we recommend a 10 years old Tawny. White Port continues to be an excellent choice for a light meal based on salads or grilled fatty fish such as salmon. This is also an excellent wine to drink with rich, creamy soups.

If the appetizers include strong cheeses or patés or if dried fruits and walnuts are part of the dish, you should choose a chilled 10 years old Tawny.

Roast meats and steak with rich sauces or well-seasoned with pepper and spices go beautifully with an LVB as it balances the intensity of the flavours.

The dessert is the ideal moment for savouring a Port Wine that will harmonise in countless ways cheesecakewith fruits, sweets and cheeses. Cakes and chocolate mousse go extremely well with a young and fruity LBV or Vintage.
The intensely rich and sweet traditional Portuguese desserts (based on egg yolks and sugar) are highlighted by the delicate flavour of a 10 or 20 years old Tawny.
If you have chosen a fruit salad, caramel custard or almond tart, desserts with less intense flavours, vanilla ice cream or dried fruits, we recommend a younger wine such as a Tawny Reserve or 10 years old Tawny that has been chilled to accompany the temperature of the dessert.
If on the other hand, you prefer a cheesecake or a mild, creamy cheese, you should select a Ruby Reserve or an LBV. Strong and hard cheeses are best when eaten with older Tawnies such as a 20 years old.

Proof that Port Wine can be drunk at all times during a meal is when you light your cigar and delight in an old Vintage. These wines are also superb when drunk on their own, after first having been carefully decanted.
With your coffee, enjoy a 20 years old Tawny or older Port. On their own, 30 years old and more than 40 years old blended Ports offer you intense experiences when they are served slightly cooled in large glasses in which you can get the full benefit of their bouquet.
Colheita Ports, although also very enjoyable when drunk on their own, are excellent when drunk with the desserts that we commend for Tawny Port, depending on their age.

Serving temperatures

Rosé Port: 4ºC
White Port: 6-10ºC
Ruby style Port: 12-16ºC
Tawny style Port: 10-14ºC

Conservation after de bottle has been opened

Conservation after de bottle has been opened
Vintage: 1 – 2 days
LBV: 4 – 5 days
Crusted: 4 – 5 days
Ruby / Ruby Reserve: 8 – 10 days
Tawny / Tawny Reserve: 3 – 4 weeks
Tawny with an Indication of Age: (10, 20, 30, +40 years): 1 – 4 months (Younger Tawnies should be consumed earlier)
White Port with an Indication of Age (10, 20, 30, +40 years): 1 – 4 months (Younger White Ports should be consumed earlier)
Colheita: 1 – 4 months (Younger wines should be consumed earlier)
Standard White Port, depending on the style: Modern (fresh and fruity) – 8 - 10 days; Traditional (wood matured): 15 – 20 days

Source: Instituto do Vinho do Porto and Wines of Portugal


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