Port Wine is considered one of the best wines in Portugal. Visiting Porto means knowing Port wine. It isn’t enough to taste it, you must feel it and know its wonderful history. The Port Wine Route is the best option to have access to all this beauty. The acclaimed Port Wines are World Heritage and the landscapes where this product is made are UNESCO heritage. Let’s start by knowing more about its characteristics.
Port Wine is distinguished from ordinary wines by its particular characteristics: a great diversity of types in which an incomparable richness and intensity of aroma is surprising, a very high persistence of aroma and taste, a high alcohol content – usually between the 19 and the 22% vol. -, in a wide range of sweetnesses and great diversity of colours. There are a number of designations that allow the identification of the different types of Port Wine.
The colour of the different types of Port Wine can vary between the retinto and the light brown, with all the intermediate tones being possible – red, red-brown, brown and light-brown. The Wines of Porto Branco have different shades – pale white, straw white and golden white -, closely related to the production technology. When aged in hoof, for many years, the white wines acquire, by natural oxidation, a light-brown tonality similar to the very old red wines.
In terms of sweetness, Port Wine can be very sweet, sweet, half-dry, or extra dry. The sweetness of the wine is an option of manufacture, conditioned by the moment of interruption of the fermentation. Port Wines can be divided into two categories depending on the type of ageing:
Port Wine: Ruby Style
These are wines that seek to sustain the evolution of their colour, more or less intense and maintain the fruity aroma and vigour of young wines. In this type of wines, in ascending order of quality, the Ruby, Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage categories are included. The wines of the best categories, mainly Vintage, and to a lesser extent the LGW, can be stored as they age well in bottles. LGW and Vintage are especially recommended.
Port Wine: Tawny Style
Obtained by stocking wines of varying maturity degree, driven through ageing in casks or barrels. These are wines in which the colour presents evolution, and should integrate in the sub-classes of colour red-brown, brown or light-brown. The aromas resemble nuts and wood; the older the wine, the more these characteristics become accentuated. The existing categories are: Tawny, Tawny Reserve, Tawny with Age Indication (10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years) and Harvest. These are wines with several years, except the Harvest, which resemble a Tawny with Age Indication with the same time of ageing. When they are bottled they are ready to be consumed. We advise wines of the Tawny categories with Age Indication and Harvest.
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White Port Wine
White Port Wine comes in several styles, namely associated with periods of more or less prolonged aging and different degrees of sweetness, which result from the way in which it is produced. Traditional wines were combined with floral and complex aroma wines with a minimum alcoholic content of 16.5% (Light White Port Wine) capable of meeting the demand for less alcohol-rich wines.
Rosé Port Wine
Wine of pink colour obtained by little intense maceration of red grapes and in which oxidation phenomena are not promoted during its conservation. These wines are meant to be consumed as new with good aromatic exuberance and notes of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. In the mouth they are soft and pleasant. They should be enjoyed fresh or with ice and can be served in various cocktails.
Port Wine Tour
Inaugurated on September 21, 1996, the route has more than 50 places to visit in the Douro Demarcated Region among other wine contiguous areas. From the small winemaker to the big producer, everything is possible to know and visit.
The route includes a visit to the vineyards and cellars, which have huge barrels and pieces from previous centuries, tasting the various types of wine and also participate in unique activities as the collection of grapes and winemaking tasks. The route can be made in different ways, between car, train and boat.
There are several routes that make the Port Wine Route. We suggest “Baixo Corgo Route”. In this route, you will embark at Cais de Gaia, a place full of cellars where the wine ages. Then you’ll follow to Peso da Régua, considered the capital of Port Wine. In this humble, but majestic city, you must catch the old steam locomotive that will take you on a historic trip. This will undoubtedly be an experience that you will never forget. It is imperative to visit the huge vineyards, as well as the Douro Museum and the Port Wine mansion-house, “Solar do Vinho do Porto”. Within this route, between an exceptional food and drink, you can rest in old manor houses and homes, such as Casa de Mateus, which also produces its own wine, one of the favourites of Portuguese people.
The wine is presented in different tones, which diversify according to its age. “The older, the better”, some people defend about this wine.
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