The 27th of January marks the International Day of Port Wine. We invite you to discover some facts about this liquor of the gods and to discover the different types of Port Wine.
International Port Wine Day
Created in 2012 by the Center for Wine Origins, an institution in the United States, the International Port Wine Day emerged with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of protecting the name of Port Wine (appellation of origin). On this day, all over the world, people are invited to taste Port wine, share the experience and learn more about this wine.
Although the date is not recognized by the IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto), which celebrates the Port Wine Day on 10 September, traditionally there are recreational activities in the port wine cellars, as tastings. And the city’s restaurants make special dishes harmonized with wine.
This year it will not be possible to visit the cellars or the restaurants, but you will be able to taste a glass of Port Wine in the comfort of your home. Make sure you choose the right wine for you, discover the different types of Port wine.
Types of Port Wine
Port Wine is distinguished from ordinary wines for its unique characteristics, such as high alcohol content (up to 22%), color, sweetness and aroma that vary according to the different types of Port.
Despite being known as a sweet wine, Port Wine can vary from very sweet to extra dry. The sweetness of the wine is determined by the manufacturer, who conditions it by interrupting fermentation.
Port wines can be divided into two categories depending on the type of aging – bottle or wood.
This label is given to younger wines, who spend between three and six years in barrels. Little oxidized, they have an intense fruity aroma and dark color (ruby). Within the Ruby style, in ascending order of quality, are inserted the Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage categories , which age in the bottle.
Ruby Port wines combine well with savory cheeses – such as parmesan -, chocolate and chocolate-based desserts. That is, they are an excellent accompaniment for dessert!
Less full-bodied and with softer colors than Ruby, Tawny Port is aged in wooden barrels (greater oxidation), which gives it an aroma with notes of nuts, spices and wood – the older the wine is the more these characteristics are accentuated.
The Tawny style is divided into Reserve, Tawny with Age Indication (10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years) and Harvest. These wines, once bottled, are ready to be consumed.
Tawny Port is an excellent accompaniment for aged cheeses, nuts and chestnut-based desserts.
White Port wines are, as the name suggests, produced from typical white grape varieties from the Douro Region. Aged in large oak vats, they have different styles (“normal” white, tear, white with age indication and harvest) associated with more or less prolonged aging periods. And different degrees of sweetness (dry, extra dry and sweet) that result from the way they are produced.
Young White Ports are usually consumed as an aperitif and in cocktails while those aged with a more intense and full-bodied flavor are preferably served after the meal as a digestive.
The driest Port wines go well with smoked salmon, fresh fruit, vanilla ice cream, cured cheeses and olives. The sweets go well with gaspachos and combinations of fruits and meats, such as melon with ham.
Pink Port is an innovative wine, sourced from red grapes from the traditional Port Wine varieties. Its pink hue is obtained through mild intense maceration of the grapes. After production, it evolves in stainless steel vats in order to maintain its original freshness and avoid excessive oxidation; there is no evolution in the bottle.
Fresh, fruity and with a smooth texture, it should be served cold between 8 and 10 º C or with ice. Ideal for hot days, Pink Port wine can be enjoyed in cocktails and goes well with fish dishes and red fruit desserts.
In short, Port wine is a unique wine that is distinguished by its vast palette of color, flavor and sweetness, which allows people with the most varied tastes to savour it.