Almost everyone knows that Port or Port wine is an alcoholic drink and is made in Portugal. We would like to give you some more details about grape varieties and the best known types of port.
We distinguish here 7 types of port, where we have omitted the least known. For information about Crusted / Toze / Garrafeira / Single quinta vintage port you can get advice from us.
Tawny Port actually starts as a Ruby Port, but then it takes a longer period on wood to soften the port and give it its round character. The large oak barrels are somewhat porous, which causes oxygen to pass through, which has evaporated part of the wine over the years. This concentrates flavors in the remaining port and leaves a light “air gap” at the top of the vessel. This air allows the Tawny Port to oxidise during its time in the oak barrel. Because this oxidation process takes place, the color of the wine changes slowly from a purple-red color to a Tawny or red-brown color. The more time the Tawny spends in wood, the more complex the taste and color of the Tawny becomes. Unlike Vintage Port, Tawny Port is often served lightly chilled or even poured over ice. Lightly cooled Tawnt port creates a beautiful summer drink. Well-fitting dishes and appetizers with Tawny Port are: various dried fruits (especially apricots), cream caramel, walnuts, pear tartlet, bread pudding, rice pudding, strawberries, lightly heated and sprinkled over vanilla ice cream, sharp cheddar cheese, creme brulee or bittersweet chocolate desserts.
This port consists of the harvest of 1 single year. The port must have matured in a wooden barrel for at least seven years. The colheita port is Tawny in color and is ready for consumption. The harvest year and the number of years that the port has matured in the barrel are mentioned on the bottle. These Ports taste good with different meat dishes and also with chocolate, cheeses and nuts. This port can be enjoyed on a pleasant evening at home. In the summer a chilled Colheita is a delicious refreshment.
The Aged Tawnies are a lot more expensive than the standard Tawny’s because they have matured much longer in barrels. With the Aged Tawny, the number of years (10, 20, 30, 40 years) on the bottle is that the port has matured in barrels. The typical Tawny color occurs during ripening. Because this is a mix of ports, the age indicated on the bottle is the average age of the blend.
White port or White port is a neglected sort of port because most people only drink this port in the summer. And that’s a shame, because this port has more to offer! The White port of Churchill’s, for example, has been aged for 10 years in barrels, which gives a very nice and deep taste to a white port. Aged White ports have a kind of light Tawny color. White port, unlike some wines, is only made from white grapes. Also white port are matured at least three years on the barrel. In Portugal they also appreciate white port! Often this is drunk as a mix of 1/3 white port, 2/3 tonic with a slice of lemon and with that a delicious cocktail. White port can always be consumed as a fresh appetizer. This port is completely fresh with a leaf of basil and ice cream.
The delicious sweet port from Portugal is the Ruby Port. Ruby port is recognizable by its dark red to purple-red color. The Ruby port has aromas of ripe dark fruit and is sweet in taste. A Ruby Port is a mix of different years, on average 3 to 5 years old. They are simple and fruity due to their young age and therefore less complex than a Reserve Ruby or Late Bottled Vintage Port. These Ports gradually evolve into a Vintage Port style.
Ruby Port is made to drink immediately and is not meant to be stored. Many people use Ruby Port to cook with, (for example poached pears) because you get a lot of fruity taste for relatively little money.
Slightly chilled Ruby Port is a delicious drink on a warm evening. Once opened, Ruby Ports will last a long time, so there is no rush to drink the bottle quickly
Ruby port is delicious with a piece of soft cheese or sweet desserts.
The Ruby Reserve Ports have been on wooden casks longer, making the Reserve more character and hints of wood. The Reserve is delicious with a cheese plate and dried fruit.
At Vinho do Porto you can buy the best Ruby Ports at a low cost.
Everybody must have tasted a good Vintage once in his life. Really a pleasure to drink … a Vintage melts in your mouth, give away the most intricate bouquets and make you crave for more. Every sip of your glass is a real enchantment. The Vintage ports may only carry this name if they have obtained this quality stamp after strict inspection of the Instituto dos Vinhos Douro e Porto. This ensures the quality of the Vintage is good.
Vintage Port is considered the crème de la crème, the king, from the Port. On average Vintage Ports are only made three times a decade, in the best years. A “Vintage declaration” only happens when a port house believes that they have enough grapes of a very high caliber, from a single harvest. Vintage Ports are usually a mix of grapes from various Quinta’s (vineyards) that a producer owns or purchases. However, some grapes are also purchased from other contracted Quinta’s. After the first vinification, the Vintage Ports are stored in used (and neutral) oak barrels for at least two years. According to the law, Vintage Ports must be bottled between the 2nd and 3rd year after the harvest. They are bottled unfiltered, which will form a fairly large amount of sediment over time and must be decanted prior to drinking. The top Vintage Ports can easily be kept for 30+ years under the right conditions.
Decanting Vintage Port:
Before you want to drink a Vintage port, the bottle must have stood upright for at least 12 hours. The “deposit” (sediment) will then have subsided to the bottom of the bottle.
The Vintage port must then be decanted. Here the port is transferred to a decanter. Leave 1 to 2 glasses in the bottle, this is the deposit. The time of decanting depends on the age of the Vintage port. You can roughly follow the duration below:
A Vintage younger than 7 years (is actually too young): decant 10-12 hours in advance
A Vintage from 8 to 15 years old: decanting 8-10 hours in advance
A Vintage from 16-25 years old: decant 6-8 in advance
A Vintage of 26-35 years old: decant 4-6 hours in advance
A Vintage of 36-45 years old: decanting 3-5 hours in advance
A Vintage of 46-60 years old: decanting 2-3 hours in advance
A Vintage 60 years and older: decanting 1-3 hours in advance
The Late Bottled Vintage Port is a premium ruby-style port from a single year. They age between 4 and 6 years in oak barrels and are then bottled. Most are then ripe to be drunk. The label must always state the year of harvest and the year of bottling. These ports give great value for money, and are a pleasure to drink.