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Home | Portuguese Port Wines

The Port demarcated region is in the upper Rio Douro valley and its tributaries almost stretching 100 Kms in total length. The terraced vineyards are on slopes that reach to about 500 mts. The land is divided into Quintas that are private estates, many of which are owned by the old English Port Lodges located at the mouth of the Rio Douro in the town of Vila Nova de Guia. This town lies on the southern riverbank and opposite the city of Porto. A visit to a Lodge is recommended as they are interesting and have lots of character within besides imparting the knowledge about preparing Port.

Port is a fortified wine from the remote vineyards in Portugal's Douro Valley. Here, in the Douro Valley, time has almost stood still. You will not find the latest wine making techniques and fancy equipment. Instead, you will find a wine industry much the way it was over a hundred years ago. Yet, in spite of it, or because of it, vintage Port is one of the world's greatest wines. - www.intowine.com

While the vineyards of France are for the most part on gentle slopes, the black grapes from which Port Wine is made grow on the rocky terraced hills of the mountainous regions of the Douro in the north of Portugal. Port is defined, by formal agreement incorporated in a Treaty of 1916, as `a fortified wine produced in the Douro region and exported through the bar of Oporto.' www.ilikewine.com

A glass of tawny port winePorto is famous for the eponymous port wine, a fortified wine (20%) made by adding brandy to the wine before fermentation is complete. The end product is strong, sweet, complex in taste and if properly stored will last 40 years or more.

There are many, many grades of port, but the basic varieties are:

Vintage is the real deal, kept in the bottle for 5-15 years, can be very expensive for good years. It is, nevertheless, worth it.

Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV) simulated vintage kept in barrel longer, ready to drink. Nice if you are on a budget.

Tawny is aged for 10-40 years before bottling, which distinguishes itself by a more brownish red color and a slightly smoother bouquet and flavor. As with any wine, the older it gets, the more rounded and refined it will be.

Ruby is the youngest and cheapest, with a deep red "ruby" color. White port is a not-so-well-known variety, and it is a shame. You will find a sweet and a dry varietal, the latter of which mixes well with tonic water and should be served chilled (if drunk alone) or with lots of ice (with tonic), commonly used as an aperitif.

White port is made from white grapes, and generally served as a chilled aperitif. It is the only one which is optionally available dry as well.

Garrafeira port is similar to Colheita. It is made from grapes of a single vintage, aged in wood between three and six years and then aged in large approximately 10L glass demijohns for an extended time.

Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV) port is intended to provide some of the experience of drinking a vintage port but without the decade-long wait of bottle aging. In contrast to vintage port's short time in barrel, LBV port is aged between four to six years in barrel, to mature it more quickly. Typically ready to drink when released, LBV ports are the product of a single year's harvest and tend to be smoother and lighter-bodied than a vintage port. LBV ports that are filtered do not require decanting and are ready to drink at bottling. Unfiltered or "Traditional" LBV ports require decanting like vintage ports do, and may improve in the bottle.

Late-Bottled Non-Vintage (LBNV) is similar, but not made from a single year. The confusingly named Vintage Character or Reserve port is similar to LBNV port. It is essentially a premium Ruby port.

Crusted port is a blend of port wine from several years, but retains the crust otherwise restricted to vintage ports.