Chapter 4.General View on Port Wine

DSCF5864A vintage Port Wine bottle from 1896 that belongs to the private collection of Graycliff Estate

Perhaps no other wine, apart from champagne, has so inspired a way of life. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was the Englishman‘s drink; it was by way of toast which held this great empire together. Untouched yet by brandy, the port was rather hard, tannic and stiff. It was, however, over the next 150 years that port wine was transformed from a clumsy, unyielding drink into a sweet, smooth wine. After the Napoleon wars at the beginning of the 19th century, stopping fermentation with brandy came to be appreciated as producing a better product.

Graycliff’s wine cellar is home to some of the world’s finest and rarest ports, a fortified wine grown in the Douro Valley in Portugal.

White Port


Extremely popular in France and Portugal, it is an aperitif style made either quite dry or sweet.


Ruby Port


This is the original port of Portugal which takes approximately three years maturation.


 

 

 

 

Tawny Port


There exists three very distinct categories of tawny port.

Basic Tawny is a wine that matures in wood until its color has begun to fade and thus acquires a certain nutty character. Most basic tawnies are bottled when they are five years old.

Aged Tawnies: These are a much superior style of tawny destined for long maturation in casts of up to forty years. Aged tawnies are indicated on the label by 10, 20, 30 and 40-year-old. The confusion of port labeling is that the Blended Tawny is given an average age and not necessarily that the wine is that age.


Colheita Ports: These ports maintain a vintage date often 20 or 30 years after the vintage. Younger wine is mixed with old vintage in order to refresh it. The actual refreshing will have taken place in a cask over a period of years rather than in the final blending stage.


Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV): These are wines from one year that have been held in a cask for a longer time than a true vintage port. They are intended as a substitute to the more expensive vintage ports. According to most testers they are a pale imitation to quality ports.

Vintage Character: This is an LBV port that is a blend of numerous years. Like the phrase itself it seems almost up to the shipper and accuracy of time will be confusing to the consumer.

Crusted Ports: These are ports blended from a number of vintages and matured up to four years. Unlike vintage character wines and LBVs, they are not filtered before bottling.

Vintage Ports


This is the height of port production and vintage. This is a ruby port from a single year that has been bottled two years after the harvest. Only the finest wines are put aside for vintage port-and that only in good years. These are the ports that keep and need many years in bottle to mature; all other ports are ready to drink once bottled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Published on October 6, 2008 at 08:53  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It s extremely popular in UK that s why exist port wine in the first place

    • This is developed tradition ( popular custom ) due to numerous colonies and foreign territories which provided Great Britain with countless numbers of spices , beverages and so called “foreign” products.

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