Vinho do Porto

A symbol of Portugal, Port Wine tradition is centuries old and nevertheless a bright future ahead.

It has been called Fine Wine, Generous Wine, Shipping Wine Douro Wine, Factory and Loading Wine (Vinho de Feitoria e de Carregação), but now it has been known throughout the world as Port Wine.

 

Now as 300 years ago - when this fortified wine was firstly produced - in Oporto one can only find the offices run by the British, for the cellars are in Vila Nova de Gaia. On their turn, the vineyards unfold through the steep banks of the Upper Douro, a landscape classified by UNESCO as World Heritage.     

 

 

 



History and Legend

 

One among the legends about the origin of this wine dates back to the seventeenth century and tells of some monks from a monastery in Lamego area, who added an ‘aguardente’ (a fortification spirit usually referred to as brandy, but with little resemblance with commercial brandies)  to the wine of the Douro.


But what history records is that until about 1756, the adding of the fortification spirit only took place after the end of fermentation, resulting in a dry wine. In 1820 starts the so-called 'modern' process of adding the fortification spirit, as this addition would stop the fermentation. The alcohol drowns the yeast and fermentation is stopped, thus resulting a sweet wine.


Currently, it is produced very sweet, sweet, semi-dry or extra dry wine with the color of the different types of Port Wine varying between the inky (reds) and light-blond (whites).

 

A great wine category

 

Sorting it by categories,  the Port Wine can be divided into two large families, taking into account the type of aging.


Ruby-style wines have a more or less intense red colour, with the fruity aroma of young wines. In an ascending order of quality,  there are available in the market the categories: Ruby, Reserve (red color with intense and fruity aromas), Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage. The latter two can be stored for years, since they age well when in bottle.


As for Tawny wines, they have different degrees of maturation due to their aging in casks or barrels. Nectars have aromas of dried fruits and wood, and the older the wine, the more stressed are these features.


The lowest range is Tawny, corresponding to a current wine, followed by Reserva (red-blondish colour with aromas of dried fruits, roasting and wood from their minimum stage seven years in wood), then Tawny with an age indication (10, 20, 30 and 40 years) and finally Colheita.


The white wines are associated with longer or shorter aging periods, with varying degrees of sweetness, as a result of its preparation. A Reserva Branco  wine ages in white wood for seven years, at least, has golden tones and has a specific taste dues to its aging in wood.     



Vintage and LBV

 

Both wines are of exceptional quality and come from a single harvest. However, the Vintage is bottled between the second and the third year after harvest, while LBV is bottled between the fourth and sixth years after harvest.


The Vintage bottle-aging removes the initial astringency. To the Vintage wines that spend years in the bottle are associated aromas such as chocolate, coffee ... and spices like cinnamon and pepper. Also the LBV wines are full-bodied and have more or less fruity aromas and are usually less astringent than the Vintage of the same year.

 

 

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