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   Port, or to give it its full name ‘vinho do porto’, is a Portuguese wine from the area known as the Upper Douro which starts 45 miles from the coast at the town of Oporto and stretches east to the Spanish border.

   Wine is fortified with grape brandy, which stops fermentation before it is complete by raising the alcoholic point beyond that at which the yeast can survive.

   This produces wines with residual sugars, giving Port its inherently sweet style.


 Port History

    British merchants traded Portuguese wines as early as the middle of the 14th century, turning from the preferred French wines during times of war.

   To ensure wines were stable enough for shipment, brandy was added after fermentation had finished. It was not until 1730 that it became common practice to fortify the wine during fermentation, creating the style we recognize today.


 Styles of Port

 There are   seven different styles of wood matured Port
  four different bottle mature styles
  These offers different flavor profiles and affordability, and require different handling and serving methods as explained below.

 White Port  (wood matured)

   - Made using only white grapes to achieve a light golden color, white Ports are usually aged for three years in large oak vats prior to bottling.

   They can be either very dry or sweet.

   Sweet wine Ports are often served with melon.

   Dry whites make great aperitifs.


 Ruby Port  (wood matured)

  - A rich, fruity and sweet Port created from a blend of both young and old wines.

   Usually aged three years in large oak vats prior to bottling,

   Rubys are everyday drinking Ports.


 Tawny Port   (wood matured)

- Blended Ports from different harvests aged for a longer period in wood, which changes the color and gives the wine a smooth consistency.

   They are aged in ‘pipes’ for about three years to produces a very soft and smooth style of Port. Serve slightly chilled.


 Vintage Character    (wood matured)

- Made from a blend of the highest quality Ruby Ports with extra age, these are sometimes referred to as VC, premium ruby or reserve Ports.

   After maturation for 3-5 years in oak vats, they are blended to give full bodied, round and fruity Ports with vintage characteristics.

   Serve slightly chilled.


 Colheita    (wood matured)

 - A tawny Port from a single year, rather than from a blend of a number of years. Colheitas are aged in ‘pipes’ for 8-40 years and generally excellent wines displaying the character of a particular year, but with a consistent soft, smooth style, they should be serve slightly chilled.


 Old Tawnies   (wood matured)

 - These wines are aged in ‘pipes’ for 10-40 years and can only be labeled 10,20,30 and over 40 years old.

   The stated age is an average age of the wines in the blend.

   The best are among the best wines from this region.

   Soft and smooth in style.


 Late bottled vintage    (wood matured)

  - LBV Ports are from a good single harvest and are age 4-6 years in wood, then filtered prior to bottling, meaning that they will not develop in the bottle.

   The term is also applied to some bottle matured Ports.

   Wood matured LBVs have more depth and complexity than Vintage Character Ports and tend to be more full-bodied than bottle matured LBV Ports.

   Serve slightly chilled.


 Late bottle vintage   (bottle matured)

  - Bottle matured LBV Ports are made from better quality grapes than are used in wood matured LBV Ports, and come from a good single harvest.

   They are matured in wood for 4-6 years before bottling, where further maturation will develop.

   They are not as full-bodied as wood matured LBV Ports, but generally more complex, and should benefit from being left for 5 years before opening.


 Crusted   (bottle matured)

  - Ports from different, but excellent years are blend together and bottled to create the British style of Port, which is not generally available in Portugal.

   They are matured 3 ½-4 years in wood prior to bottling then left to develop in the bottle for a further four years or more.


 Single Quinta   (bottle matured)

 - These are the product of a single estate(quinta) and are only made from ‘A grade’ grapes matured for 2-2 ½ years in large oak vats prior to bottling.

   Further maturation takes place in the bottle.


 Vintage   (bottle matured)

  - On average a vintage is declared only three times a decade, 18 months after the wine goes into wood, and with the agreement of the general Port Producing House.

   Vintage Port is made from outstanding wine from an outstanding year and by only a handful of vineyards in the Alto Douro.

   It is matured 2-2 ½ years in large oak vats prior to bottling, with further maturation taking place in the bottle.


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