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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 as "Vinho do Porto" or simply "Porto" not according to its area of origin Douro is named, but after the port city postage from where it is shipped. At the origin were the Englishman in connection with their trade wars with France involved. In the 17th century, the import of French wines was for a while England prohibited and then charged with high duties. This led to a bottleneck in the supply. 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 convent where the abbot offered them a wine that they loved. The clergyman told them the secret of why this wine was so pleasantly sweet and soft, namely by pouring with brandy, that is Spriten in the fermentation, Then the two bought up the entire stock, sent the cargo to England and the triumphal procession of port wine, initially referred to as "Red Portugal" started.

Decisive for the port wine boom was the completed in 1703 Methuen Treaty (Contract) which provided for tariff concessions for the import of Portuguese wines in England. The former port was almost exclusively intended for export to England, so 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. Among them were names that still play a crucial role today, such as Cockburn. Croft. Ferreira. Niepoort. Sandeman. Taylor's as well as the later of Symington acquired companies Dow, Graham and Warre. The British trading houses built in 1790 in Porto das Factory House, which initially serves as a factor store and then from 1811 until today as a men's club and meeting place.

The English actually acquired a monopoly on the marketing. Under the then prime minister Marquês de Pombal (1699-1782), in the area Carcavelos owned a winery, was to protect the authenticity of the port wine in 1756 the area Douro defined within its limits. Only the best vineyards were included. On the approximately 250,000 hectares of land, only about one-eighth is suitable for port grapevines. The area is next to it Chianti to the oldest legally defined wine regions in the world. Pombal took further measures to protect the Port wine. As an important measure to break the English monopoly, he founded the "Real Companhia Velha". He also banned the addition of elderberry juice and fertilizing manure. This did diminish the earnings but increased the quality.

Port Wine Region

The defined border was for two centuries exclusively for the port. The Portuguese name "Vinho do Porto" is from the city postage Derived from the lower course of the Douro. Only in 1979, the DOC classification was extended to "normal" wines, that is opposite the port unsweetened red and white wines. However, the best soil is reserved for the port, which are mainly the most suitable slate soils on mostly terraced slopes. The region is located in northwestern Portugal and includes the valleys of the Douro River and its tributaries to the Spanish border. These waters exert a positive effect on the viticulture or create the condition by formation of valley slopes.

Port wine - map and vineyards

There are three official sub-zones for the port wine area. The Baixa Corgo to the west includes 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 yields lighter wines. The largest zone "Cima Corgo" (Upper Corgo) is located north and south of the Douro between Baixa Corgo in the west to Cachão da Valeira in the east. The area around the town of Pinhão, which is centrally located here, is considered to be the best, where most of the large port wine houses have their quintas (wineries). The zone "Douro Superior" lies 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 country.

On about 33,000 hectares, there are about 30,000 wine growers, whose 80,000 vineyards are classified in a very complex system. The criteria are assessed 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 share) 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 yield that may be produced by the respective winery (Quinta). The better the rating, the higher the price of grapes. In the Douro area there are over 80 grape varieties, these are recommended in the categories, allowed and tolerated divided. The Institute IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto) regulates the cultivation, processing and trade of wine from the Douro region, in particular port wine. Among other things, it is determined annually which quantities of grapes may be processed into port. About 40% are used for the production of port wine.

Making the port wine

The most important port grape is the red one Touriga Nacional, other red ones are Tinta Amarela ( Trincadeira Preta ) Tinta Barroca. Tinto Cão, Tinta Roriz Tempranillo ) and Touriga Franca, The main white ones are Encruzado, Esgana Cão ( Sercial ) Folgasão and Gouveio ( Verdello ). The grapes are laboriously read by hand and then transported in baskets to the wineries. The port needs the tannin and dye-containing pods. But since the wine is only a short fermentation goes through, this is going through pounding the mash with wooden pestles (macaos) or traditionally on a large scale even with bare feet in Lagares (Stone troughs) forced. The fermentation of the maximally half fermented wine becomes by addition of high-percentage Aguardente stopped (as opposed to sherry, where only after the fermentation is talked). The colorless and tasteless spirit of wine ( ethanol ) with 77% vol contributes only alcohol content, but no taste or smell. It is made from wines from southern Portugal or from Douro's own surplus wines. On average, 440 liters of wine are added to 110 liters of wine spirit (one quarter), which is the equivalent of 550 liters pipes yields, the traditional Douro barrels.

Port wine - big concrete tanks

The base wines are still being finished in the wineries of the producers in the Douro Valley. They will be in big concrete tanks stored in the vineyards near the cellars and then transported in the 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 purpose rabelos in use (see picture below). Only there are the wines in the cellars on the northern slope and in the Lodges (Warehouses) of the numerous Portweinhäuser located here in a long period of maturation and by artful blend to the famous dessert wine. The warehouses are built from the river bank in steps up the mountainside. Until Portugal's entry into the EU in 1986, all port wines in the lodges had to be matured, bottled and delivered. Today, this is allowed throughout the Douro Valley in the Quintas (wineries) itself.

Port Rabelos (ships) for transport

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 by tasting in groups, this determines the future port type. The majority is subjected to a waste cycle, which ensures consistent quality. An important criterion is the number of years that the port matures after aging in the bottle. There is a distinction between a "British port wine" with dark, sweet and fruity wines (Vintage Port), as well as a "Portuguese port wine" with elegant, soft wines (Tawny). There are red, white and now also pink port wines, although these have little in common with the types of "normal wines":

colheita
The name derives 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. He matures for at least seven years in a wooden barrel, but often also for ten years and more. The label got to vintage, Filling date and the fact of Fassreifung included. Compared to a vintage, a Colheita is immediately enjoyable. The great vintage in the last century were basically Colheita types, because they were bottled after a longer Fassreifung as today. With the Vintage the Colheita is one of the best types.

Crusted port
A blend of good vintages, but not the quality of a vintage reach. The wine is relatively young after a maximum of three years mostly without filtration Bottled, where it matures several years and a depot forms on the bottom of the bottle and possibly crust on the bottle wall. He must therefore decanted become.

LBV (Late Bottled Vintage)
A cheaper version of Vintage Port grapes from a vintage that matures for at least four to six years in barrel and / or tank. The name comes from the opposite of the real vintage "late" bottling. The label indicates vintage and bottling date. The black-red wine is slightly lighter than its big brother, full-bodied and fruity. He usually has no deposit, otherwise this is usually declared on the label with "traditional". Filtered LBVs are ready to drink immediately, but the rather rare unfiltered ones develop in the bottle for another five to six years.

Rosé Port
A first time in 2008 from the port wine house Croft generated pink to bright pink colored type. He'll be like a jumper rosé wine manufactured. Already a year later he was vom IVDP admitted 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 maturity. The dunkelrubinrote, sweet and fruity wine is blended from several vintages of younger wines and matured in barrels or steel tanks two to three years. Before bottling, filtration takes place. The immediately enjoyable Ruby accounts for the largest production share.

Ruby Reserve
A black-red, tannin-rich and fruity type. The old name Vintage Character was banned in 2002 to avoid confusion with the real Vintage Port. It is also a blend of several years (which is why the old name was confusing). Compared to the Ruby he ripens longer than this with four to five years in the barrel. Before filling, filtration takes place.

Tawny
General term for a type that matures mostly in the barrel 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 weaker color intensity and because a larger proportion of white wines is included. It is always a blend of several vintages. Occasionally, small parts of a 20- to 40-year-old port are assembled. The older wines of this type are called "Fine Tawny" or "Fine Old Tawny" or "Aged Tawny". Previously, they were also marketed under the name "Dated Port". The average age of the wines used is stated on the label (10, 20, 30 years and more). Traditionally, Tawnys are considered digestif (Verdaungstrunk) after the meal.

Vintage port
The so-called "vintage port" is the best port from a particularly good and big vintage. This occurs at best three times in ten years, the production share is only one percent. The decision is made by each producer individually, not all produce a vintage in the same year. The following vintages have been declared excellent by most of the renowned wineries: 1970, 1977, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2011. This wine becomes reductively expanded and created 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 for drinking after 10 to 12 years at the earliest. But it is only after at least 20, 30 and even more years of bottle aging that he reaches the highest perfection with incomparable oiliness, fragrance, fullness and delicacy. But since the wine comes immediately after bottling in the trade, the "responsibility" on the enjoyment of consumption lies with the consumer. When bottle aging forms a strong depot on the bottom of the bottle and possibly also in the form of a crust on the bottle wall. He must therefore be decanted.

White Port
He is, as the name says, pressed from the white grape varieties. The production is similar to the red port, but the mash time is much shorter or it does not apply at all. It usually ripens in the tank for two to three years and has a relatively low alcohol content of about 15% vol. Compared to the other types of port wine. Only at the White Port there are sweetness levels from dry to sweet (extra seco, seco, meio seco, doce, muito doce). The matured longer in oak barrels develop a golden yellow color and a nut taste and can also be preserved for decades. The White Port accounts for around 15% of production.

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

Reserva / Reserve / Fine
Designates an upscale quality. The term is not regulated and is handled differently depending on the producer. It can be a Crusted, Ruby, Tawny or White.

garrafeira
Designates an outstanding quality. The wine must be aged for three to six years in the barrel (similar to a LBV) and then at least another eight years in the bottle. This quality is only produced by very few producers who were first Niepoort, The term can also be found on the label old Vintage Port, but then not necessarily comply with the current regulations.

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

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

Port wine - bottles of eight producers

Port wine producers

Well-known producers, often including DOC wines Douro produce, or Portweinmarken 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 Cotto, 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 (owned Roederer ), Real Companhia Velha, Rozès, Sandeman. Symington (Dow's, Gould Campbell, Graham's, Quarle's Harris, Quinta do Vesuvio, Smith Woodhouse, Warre's) Taylor's and V. Leite de Faria.

Additional information

Complete listings of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the various wine-regulated wine, sparkling wine and distillate types are under the keyword winemaking contain. Comprehensive information on wine law is available under the keyword wine law,

Map: By 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 on Pixabay

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