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Port Wine

Port Wine: the sweet nectar produced on the slopes of the Douro valley. Its great fame, its long history and its unique characteristics have made it one of the most desired delicacies. Regardless of your style, no-one is out of place with a glass of Port Wine in their hand, especially with the breathtaking landscape of the Douro Valley as a backdrop.

Rabelo boats and the city of Oporto as a background | © Cida GarciaPort wine stored in the cellars | © Celestino ManuelGaia Cable Car flies over the Port Wine Cellars | © Cida GarciaVineyards of Ferreira's cellar | © Museu do DouroCaves Offley | © Melanie AntunesVisitors of the Port Wine Cellars | © Melanie AntunesSinalized cellars | © Cida GarciaCaves Offley | © Melanie AntunesLanes between the Port Wine Cellars | © Cida GarciaWhite Port and Ruby | © Melanie AntunesThe path to the wine cellars | © Melanie AntunesVila Nova de Gaia | © Cida GarciaCaves Ferreira | © Melanie AntunesTawny stored, 2011 | © Melanie AntunesPorto and river Douro | © Cida GarciaInside the Port cellars | © Celestino ManuelVisitors await visit to the cellars | © Melanie AntunesBoat arrives in Cais de Gaia | © Cida GarciaCask with wine | © Celestino Manuel

Browse related Points of Interest:
Port Wine Cellars, Quintas

With its distinctive and strong personality, Port Wine has been associated with prominent figures and events throughout history. The Duke of Wellington drank Port before and after the battle of Waterloo (Belgium), Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral took Port to Brazil on the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic (1922), between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro. In the 18th Century, the Russian Empress Catarina made Port Wine fashionable at court and throughout history it has continued to play a part in court life. Even today Port Wine is popular with the British royal family.

Port Wine acquires its unique characteristics from both the region’s climate and the soil type. Furthermore, unlike other Douro wines, the fermentation for Port Wine is interrupted with the addition of Aguardente Vínica (alcohol distilled from wine) which alters the sweetness of the wine according to when it is added. How the wine is stored and for how long, are also key factors that make this wine so distinctive.

When drinking a glass of Port Wine you will feel an intense aroma and a sweet flavour, although some Ports can be dry. The colour of the wine varies according to its age, acquiring stronger tones as it matures. The wine has a high percentage of alcohol which should be between 18 and 22%.

White Port Wine (light or dry) is also available with a minimum of 16.5% alcohol and Rosé Port Wine has recently been introduced to the market. Rosé Port is a pink coloured wine that is made through the light maceration of red grapes, impeding the oxidation process. These are exquisite wines which should be drunk young, and served chilled. They can also be made into a variety of popular cocktails.

Port Wine can be divided into two styles: Ruby and Tawny. The first group is bottled young; they maintain their rich deep red colour, their fruity aroma and the intensity of a young wine. The second group ages in barrels and shows variations in colour with nutty, dried fruit and woody flavours.

In addition to the standard Ruby Port, there is the Ruby Reserve that is often the product of a selection of the best Port Wines made each year, blended together to create a young, intense and fruity wine. The Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) is a high quality wine, bottled after ageing for between four and six years and is ready to be consumed after purchasing. Some LBVs are semi-filtered which means that they can mature in the bottle for around 5 years, after which they should be decanted before being consumed. The Vintage Port is one of the most highly regarded of the Port family and is one of the few Ports that mature in the bottle. Vintage Port can mature in the bottle for between 10 and 50 years. This wine is made from one single year and is bottled two or three years after the harvest. Its colour and flavour gradually develop with age making it a full-bodied, intense wine. The Single Quinta Vintage Port (Single Vineyard Vintage) is a high class Port made from just one year and one particular vineyard.

The standard Tawny Port ages in wooden barrels, gaining a golden tawny colour, hence the name. The Tawny Reserve ages in oak barrels and has a fruity aroma that is more robust than younger Tawnys. The 10, 20, 30 and 40 year old Tawny Ports alter according to their time in contact with the oak. As the wines ages it becomes more intense, more complex with stronger aromas of vanilla, hazelnut, dried apricot and honey. The Colheita Port is a Tawny Port that is made from just one year which will also alter in accordance with the time it spends aging in oak.

Port Wine also comes in a different variety called Crusted Port. The name comes from the sediment that forms as the wine ages, the crust. Crusted Port is a ruby wine and it is often known as the “poor man’s vintage” as it is a vintage Port Wine that is made from a blend of different years. Crusted Port should age for at least three years in the bottle.

With this diverse range of aromas, flavours and prices there is something to tempt every wine lover’s palate and produce unique flavour sensations.

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