Port Wine Information

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Port wines derives it name from the the city of Porto located in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. Port wines are usually made from combination of up to five different grape varieties, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao, Tina Barroca, Tinta Rozi, and Touriga Fanacesas. It tends have a much richer, sweeter and heavier flavor than other wines. It is usually served as an before or after dinner drink because if its rich fruity flavor but is also goes well with sweet desserts, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and other sweet foods.

Port wines are forfeited which means that additional grapes spirits are added to the blend during processing to increase the alcohol content making it have a much higher alcohol content that other wines. There are several different classifications of port wine and it is based on the aging process. The first type of aging process is called reductive aging. This is when wines are aged in large sealed wooden tanks or bottles with very little exposure to oxygen. The large wooden vats have a very small surface area for the volume of wine involved which gives the wine its bright red color and fruity taste.

The second type of aging process is called oxidative aging. Wines are stored in smaller cask where the surface area to volume is larger than in the large wooden tanks. This type of port wine will have a mahogany hues and complex tastes. The wines are tasted regularly to determine what effect the aging time is having on the wine.

Ruby Port

Ruby port is aged for a minimum of 2 years in large vats prior to being bottled. It has a rich red color and a full fruity taste.

Tawny Port

Tawny port is aged for 2 years in the smaller casks and then bottled. It has a deep mahogany color and a drier wine with a nuttier taste.

Aged Tawny Port

Aged tawny port is usually aged for 10 years but some of the more expensive ones have been aged for more than 40 years.

Colheita Port

Colheita port is aged for at least seven years in the smaller casks before being bottled. It also only uses grapes from a single harvest year and is not blended with grapes harvested from other years. The label will have the year of the harvest.

White Port

White port is aged for two to three years in casks and then bottled. The taste can vary from very sweet to a light dry flavor. This is the type of port usually reserved for the drink called the Port Splash.

Crusted Port

Crusted port is a ruby port that is aged for about 3 years in cask and then finishes the aging process in the bottle. It is a blend of grapes from several different years and it is not filtered before being bottled which is why it will have sediment in the bottle.

Single Quinta Port

Single quinta port is Tawny port that uses grapes from a single vineyard and has been aged in casks for 2 years before being bottled. The wine is allowed to age in the bottle for five to fifty year more.

Vintage Port

Vintage port is aged for two years in large vats prior to being bottled and then it is allowed to age for five to fifty years in the bottle. It is one of the most sought after wines in the world and also one of the most expensive.