The different kinds of port wine

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Port wine types

Port wine is of course still the most important thing for most wine producers in the Douro Valley, as you will rapidly notice when you come wine touring in the region. The “table wines”, i.e. wines that are not fortified, have recently become quite famous and very popular, but the traditional port is still the core of the wine business. On a wine tour to the Douro there will inevitably be a lot of port. (But who would wand to avoid that anyway?…)

Slightly simplified, one can divide port wine into these categories:

Ruby: bottled early. There are both simpler and more serious versions.

Vintage: vintage ports made mainly in “declared” vintages. Bottled early and aged in bottle for long. Also: late bottled vintage (LBV) that is a wine of “vintage style” which has been kept a few years longer in the barrel.

Tawny: port aged for a long time in barrel which gives it a little more rounded and softer character. Also available with approximate age indication: 10 year old tawny, 20 year old, 40 year old, etc., and even with vintage designation: “colheita”.

Tawny has, with good reason, started to become more and more sought after and can be exquisitely delicious to drink. The older versions can also be quite costly…

Time for an aperitif late afternoon
Time for an aperitif late afternoon

And one should not forget the white port wine. Wine “connoisseurs” have long looked down at white port and considered it to be an simple and sugary wine. It may have been partly true, but recently we have had the opportunity to try several white port wines on our wine tours which have been quite delicious.

Worth a try!

And now there is even rosé port. After a rule change a few years ago, it became legal. But so far only a handful of producers have launched a rosé port. Judging by the few examples that I have tried, there is no reason for more people to go for it. (On the other hand, perhaps the evolution will be as for white port!)

Read more on the Douro Valley for example in these articles:

Take a look at our wine tour program for the Douro Valley.

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