A bit more about Portugal - Port wine

Rabelo boatsRabelo boatsThe name of "Port wine” is explained by the fact that the wine is stored at and commercialized from the port located between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

The wine went down the river in the typical "rabelo” boats and was aged in the storehouses of Vila Nova de Gaia, since this region shows little variation of temperature throughout the year.

Did you know that the port wine is linked to the English?

The history of Port begins in the 15th-century. The Portuguese of course, had been making wine for hundreds of years since the Romans introduced wine to the Iberian Peninsula in the first century B.C. By the second half of the 15th century Britain declared war on France and blockaded French ports. This created an instant shortage of wine. New sources had to be found and Portugal turned as an alternative. Unfortunately, wines of the quality they were looking for were not readily available. So if the British wanted good wine, they were going to have to oversee its production themselves. To protect the wine during the long sea voyage it was sometimes ‘fortified’ prior to shipment with the addition of a small amount of grape spirit, or brandy after aging. Though today the process of fortifying Port is different, the wine is fortified during fermentation.

Port wine is typically richer, sweeter, heavier, and higher in alcohol content than unfortified wines. This is caused by the addition of distilled grape spirits (aguardente similar to brandy) to fortify the wine and halt fermentation before all the sugar is converted to alcohol, and results in a wine that is usually 19 to 20% alcohol.

The Port Wine is divided into three big families, White, Tawny and Ruby, being the first made from white grapes and the other two, from red grapes.

Port wine at the beachPort wine at the beachWhite Ports are drunk as an aperitif, sometimes mixed with tonic, neat on ice, or in cocktails.

Ruby is best drunk at cool room temperature, and is good with certain cheeses, Queijo Serra da Estrela, Queijo de Azeitão, Cheddar. They are also a good match with bitter chocolate or coffee desserts. Tawnies are best served chilled, summer or winter.

They might be an aperitif, or drunk at the end of the meal, perhaps with walnuts to nibble.

Would you like to tase the Port wine? Come and cycle with us in Portugal!

                                                                 A magyar verzióhoz kattints ide!