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port wine

Porto (I)
Porto (F)
Port wine (GB)
Vinho do Porto (PO)
Vino de Oporto (ES)
Port wijn (N)

World famous dessert wine from Portugal who as "Vinho do Porto" or simply "Porto" not according to his area of origin Douro is named, but after the port city postage from where it is shipped. The English were instrumental in the creation of the wars in connection with them France involved. In the 17th century, French wine was imported for a while England prohibited and then charged with high tariffs. This led to a supply shortage. In 1678, a Liverpool wine merchant sent his two sons to Viano do Castello near the city of Porto to buy wine. In Lamego they came to a monastery where the abbot offered them a wine that they loved. The priest told them the secret of why this wine was so pleasantly sweet and soft, namely by pouring it on brandy, that is Spriten in the fermentation, The two then bought up the entire stock, sent the cargo to England and the triumphal march of the port wine, initially known as "Red Portugal", began.

The decisive factor for the port wine boom was the one completed in 1703 Methuen Treaty (Contract), which provided for tariff reductions for the import of Portuguese wines into England. The port wine at that time was almost exclusively intended for export to England, which is why it is still called "Englishmen Wine" today. At that time it was still common to add red elderberry juice as a colorant. From the beginning of the 18th century, English, German and Dutch families settled in Porto to market the port wine. These included names that still play a crucial role today, such as Cockburn. Croft. Ferreira. Niepoort. Sandeman. Taylor's as well as that of later Symington acquired companies Dow, Graham and Warre. The British trading houses built this in Porto in 1790 Factory house, which initially served as a factories and then from 1811 until today as a men's club and meeting point.

The English practically acquired a monopoly on marketing. Under the then prime minister Marques de Pombal (1699-1782), who is in the area Carcavelos The area was owned by a winery to protect the authenticity of port wine in 1756 Douro defined within its limits. Only the best vineyards were included. On the approximately 250,000 hectares of land, only around an eighth is suitable for port vines. The area counts alongside Chianti to the oldest legally defined wine-growing regions in the world. Pombal took further measures to protect port wine. As an important measure to break the English monopoly, he founded the "Real Companhia Velha". He also prohibited adding elderberry juice and fertilizing with manure. This did reduce the earnings, but increased the quality.

Port Wine Region

For over two centuries, the defined limit was only for port wine. The Portuguese name "Vinho do Porto" is from the city postage derived on the lower course of the Douro. It was only in 1979 that the DOC classification was extended to “normal” wines, ie red and white wines that were unsprit compared to port wine. However, the best soil is reserved for the port wine, which is above all the most suitable slate soils on mostly terraced slopes. The region lies in the north-west of Portugal and includes the valleys of the Douro River and its tributaries to the Spanish border. This waters have a positive effect on viticulture or create the conditions by forming valley slopes.

Port wine - map and vineyards

There are three official subzones for the port wine area. The zone "Baixa Corgo" (lower Corgo) in the west comprises the area north of the Douro between Barqueiros and the west bank of the Corgo and south of the Douro to Armamar. This coolest and wettest zone produces lighter wines. The largest zone "Cima Corgo" (upper Corgo) is north and south of the Douro between Baixa Corgo in the west to Cachão da Valeira in the east. The area around the city of Pinhão is considered the best, most of the large port wine houses have their quintas (wineries) here. The "Douro Superior" zone is in the east and extends to the Spanish border in the north. This is the smallest and driest area and partly not yet fully used pioneer land.

There are around 30,000 winegrowers on around 33,000 hectares of vineyards, whose 80,000 vineyards are classified in a very complex system. The criteria location, Tilt (the steeper the better) exposition, Sea level, microclimate, training system. vine, Planting density, general condition of the vineyard, age of the vines. soil type (Slate, granite, stone part) and earnings, This is done in six stages from A (1,200 points and more) to F (399 points and less). This results in the amount of yield that can be produced by the respective winery (Quinta). The better the rating, the higher the grape price. There are over 80 grape varieties in the Douro region, which are recommended, allowed and tolerated in the categories. The Institute IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto) regulates the cultivation, processing and trade in wine from the Douro region, in particular port wine. Among other things, the amount of grapes that can be processed into port wine is determined annually. Around 40% are used for the production of port wine.

Production of the port wine

The main port grape is the red one Touriga Nacional, other red ones are Tinta Amarela ( Trincadeira Preta ) Tinta Barroca. Tinto Cao, Tinta Roriz ( Tempranillo ) and Touriga Franca, The main white ones are Encruzado, Esgana Cão ( Sercial ) Folgasão and Gouveio ( Verdello ). The grapes are laboriously harvested by hand and then transported in baskets to the wineries. The port wine needs the tannins and coloring pods. But since the wine is only a short one fermentation going through, this is going through pounding the mash with wooden pestles (macaos) or traditionally on a large scale with bare feet in Lagares (Stone troughs) forced. The fermentation of the maximally half-fermented wine is done by adding high-proof Aguardente stopped (in contrast to the sherry, where only after fermentation is used). The colorless and tasteless wine spirit ( ethanol ) with 77% vol only contributes alcohol, but no taste or smell. It is distilled from wines from the south of Portugal or from surplus wines from the Douro itself. On average, 440 liters of wine are added to 110 liters of wine spirit (a quarter), which is equivalent to 550 liters of wine pipes results in the traditional Douro barrels.

Port wine - large concrete tanks

The base wines are still being completed in the wineries of the producers in the Douro Valley. They will be big concrete tanks stored in the vineyards near the cellars and then transported in spring to the Porto suburb of Vila Nova de Gaia on the opposite bank of the river (see picture above). In the past, there were special boats for that rabelos in use (see picture below). Only there are the wines in the cellars on the north slope and in the Lodges (Warehouses) of the numerous port wine houses located here in long maturity and through artistic blending to the famous dessert wine. The warehouses are built in steps from the river bank up the mountain slope. Before Portugal entered the EU in 1986, all port wines in the lodges had to be matured, bottled and delivered. Today this is allowed everywhere in the Douro Valley in the Quintas (wineries) themselves.

Port wine rabelos (ships) for transportation

Port wine types

The best port wines have an alcohol content between 19 and 22% vol and a residual sugar content between 40 and 60 g / l. At this point it is decided which of the many port wine styles should be created. The wines are now divided into groups by taste tests, which determine the future port wine type. The majority is subjected to a blending cycle, which ensures consistent quality. An important criterion is the number of years that the port wine matures in the bottle after being removed from the barrel. A distinction is made between a "British port wine style" with dark, sweet and fruity wines (Vintage Port), and a "Portuguese port wine style" with elegant, soft wines (Tawny). There are red, white and now also rose-colored port wines, although they have little in common with the types of "normal wines":

colheita
The name is derived from the Portuguese word for "harvest" and in the broader sense "vintage". It is a vintage port, you could also call it an old tawny or vintage tawny. It matures in wooden barrels for at least seven years, but often for ten years or more. The label got to vintage, Bottling date and the fact of barrel maturation included. Compared to a vintage, a Colheita is immediately ready to be enjoyed. The great vintages in the last century were basically Colheita types because they were bottled only after a long barrel maturation like today. With the vintage, the Colheita is one of the best types.

Crusted port
A blend of good vintages that do not achieve the quality of a vintage. The wine becomes relatively young mostly after a maximum of three years filtration bottled, where it matures and ages a few years depot on the bottom of the bottle and possibly crust on the bottle wall. So he has to decanted become.

LBV (Late Bottled Vintage)
A cheaper version of the vintage port made from grapes from a vintage that matures in barrels and / or tanks for at least four to six years. The name derives from the "late" bottling compared to the real vintage. The vintage and date of filling are indicated on the label. The black-red wine is a little lighter than its big brother, full-bodied and fruity. He usually has no deposit, otherwise this is usually declared on the label as "traditional". Filtered LBV are immediately ready to drink, but the rather rare, unfiltered ones still develop in the bottle for five to six years.

Rosé port
A first from the Port Wine House in 2008 Croft generated pink to bright pink type. He'll be like a sprite rosé wine manufactured. A year later, IVDP approved as an official type. The light, fruity wine tastes between a white port and ruby.

Ruby
The simplest and cheapest type. The strong ruby to cherry red eponymous color results from the low oxidation and short ripening time. The dark ruby red, sweet and fruity wine is blended from several vintages of younger wines and matures in barrels or steel tanks for two to three years. Filtration takes place before bottling. Ruby, which is ready to eat, makes up the largest share of production.

Ruby Reserve
A black-red, tannic and fruity type. The old term Vintage Character was banned in 2002 to avoid confusion with the real vintage port. It is also a blend of several vintages (which is why the old name was confusing). Compared to the Ruby, it matures longer in the barrel at four to five years. Filtration is carried out before filling.

Tawny
General term for a type that mostly matures in barrels for up to three years. It develops the color of with longer maturation Amber to mahogany ( tawny = tan). This results (compared to the mostly reddish-black color of all other types) also because the tawny is produced from mostly lighter wines with a weaker color intensity and because a larger proportion of white wines is also included. It is always a blend of several years. Occasionally, assembly is done with small parts of a 20- to 40-year-old port. The older wines of this type are called "Fine Tawny" or "Fine Old Tawny" or "Aged Tawny". In the past, they were also marketed under the name “Dated Port”. The average age of the wines used is indicated on the label (10, 20, 30 years and more). Traditionally, Tawnys are considered digestif (Digestive drink) served after eating.

Vintage port
The so-called "vintage port wine" is the best port from a particularly good and large vintage. At best, this happens three times in ten years, the production share is only one percent. The decision is made by each individual producer, not all of them produce a vintage in the same year. The following vintages were declared excellent by most renowned wineries: 1970, 1977, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2011. This wine is reductively expanded and produced from a single vintage. It usually matures in barrels for two to a maximum of three years and is then bottled. A vintage is ready to drink after at least 10 to 12 years. But it is only after at least 20, 30 and even more years of bottle maturation that it reaches maximum perfection with incomparable oiliness, fragrance, fullness and delicacy. However, since the wine goes on sale immediately after bottling, the “responsibility” lies with the consumer about the maturity. A strong one is formed during bottle aging depot on the bottle bottom and possibly also in the form of a crust on the bottle wall. It must therefore be decanted.

White port
As the name suggests, it is made from the white grape varieties. The production is similar to red port wine, but the mashing time is much shorter or it is not necessary at all. It usually matures in a tank for two to three years and has a relatively low alcohol content of around 15% vol compared to other types of port wine. Only with the White Port are there sweetness levels from dry to sweet (extra seco, seco, meio seco, doce, muito doce). The matured in wooden barrels develop a golden yellow color and a nut taste and can also be kept for decades. The white port accounts for around 15% of production.

The additional designations Reserva and garrafeira are only used for certain types of port wine for better quality variants (especially longer maturation). They are common in Portugal, especially for normal DOC wines with appropriate production rules (grape varieties, maturation period, alcohol content, etc.).

Reserva / Reserve / Fine
Denotes high quality. However, the term is not regulated and is handled differently for each producer. It can be a Crusted, Ruby, Tawny or White.

garrafeira
Denotes outstanding quality. The wine has to mature in the barrel for three to six years (similar to an LBV) and then in the bottle for at least another eight years. This quality is produced by very few producers, the first one was Niepoort, The term can also be found on the label of old vintage ports, which do not necessarily correspond to today's regulations.

Single quinta vintage port
The term indicates that this port wine comes from a single winery. In principle, this can be any of the types, but mostly Colheita, LBV and Vintage.

Especially with very old port wines, the use of a is due to perhaps crumbly cork Port tongs to recommend. Long-aged types like vintage usually have to decanted become. Top quality must be consumed as quickly as possible within 24 hours after opening. That is why they are corked normally. Barrel-aged types such as Colheita, LBV and Tawny are more stable with regard to oxygen contact and do not have to be decanted. Usually they come with a resealable cork stoppers (Stopper cork) closed. There is also a special one Port Wine Glass,

Port wine - bottles from eight producers

Port wine producers

Well-known producers, often DOC wines Douro produce or port wine brands are: Barros, Bright Brothers, Burmester, Cálem, Churchill, Cockburn. Croft. Ferreira. Fonseca, Kopke, Lemos & Van Zeller, Martinez, Messiah Morgan Niepoort Offley Osborne, Quinta da Carvalhosa, Quinta de la Rosa, Quinta do Côtto, Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Noval, Quinta do Passadouro, Quinta de Roriz, Quinta do Noval, Quinta do Vale da Raposa, Quinta do Vale Meão, Ramos Pinto (belongs Roederer ), Real Companhia Velha, Rozès, Sandeman. Symington (Dow's, Gould Campbell, Graham's, Quarles Harris, Quinta do Vesuvio, Smith Woodhouse, Warre's), Taylor's and V. Leite de Faria.

Additional information

Complete lists of the numerous vinification measures or cellar techniques, as well as the various types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law are under the keyword winemaking contain. There is extensive wine law information under the keyword wine law,

Map: Von Rei-artur - Own work , CC BY 2.5 , Link
Dourotal: By Bruno Rodrigues , CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Concrete tanks: Egon Mark
Rabelos (boats): by Nuno Lopes from Pixabay

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