Port wine is one of the world’s classic wines, from Europe to the Americas. Today you can now find bottles of different brands of Port Wine arranged on the shelves of supermarkets, all over the world.
Some of the best estates in the Douro began to appear from 1790, when the navigability of the Douro river was improved. One such estate was Quinta de Vargellas, which was later acquired by Taylor’s. The development of these great estates of great merit and the extremely high quality of their wines did much to boost the reputation of Port wine in foreign markets.
Made from the best Douro grapes, it is undeniable that this wine is unique and unmistakable: the climate, the location, the terroir and the production process give it characteristics that cannot be reproduced anywhere else on the planet. Nowhere else in the world is it possible to make Port Wine like that produced in the Douro, in Portugal, and for that reason alone, it is surely a great wine.
Wine has been produced in the Douro region for two thousand years, making this one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful wine regions. An interesting aspect of the Douro is that, even though it is constantly changing, in essence it has not really changed over time.
On the Taylor’s Port website, we can read that “..Although around thirty grape varieties can be used to make Port, most modern vineyards are made up of a selection of five or six top red grape types now generally considered to produce the finest wines. Some other varieties may be added in smaller proportions where dictated by specific growing conditions. For example, the Touriga Nacional thrives on shallow, stony soils in full sun. The Touriga Francesa prefers fertile sites and protection from strong winds. The Tinta Barroca, on the other hand, produces its best results on cooler north or east facing slopes and in locations with reduced exposure to sunlight.”
As one of the major producing houses, Taylor’s has pioneered the development of new styles of Port Wine over the years, such as Late Bottled Vintage and White Dry (Chip Dry). Port wines can be divided into 2 large groups: those that age in wood and those that age in bottle.
Port wines that age in wood are:
Port wines that age in bottle are:
Usually, each style of Port Wine is associated with a special moment, a particular dish or a specific celebration. However, today there are so many styles and flavours that we can enjoy a different Port Wine almost every day.
Culinary associations with Port Wine are not easy to work out, but they are delicious to try. We’re following the advice of Taylor’s Port and giving you some tips so that you can appreciate Port Wine fully and enjoyably.
“The association of Vintage Port with a mature blue cheese such as Stilton is one of the great classic food and wine combinations. The soft buttery texture, mellow character and piquancy of the cheese are perfectly matched by the powerfully majestic flavours of the Vintage Port.”
“A glass of chilled 10 Year Old makes a delicious aperitif, but is equally good matched to a hard, nutty cheese or a pudding such as apple pie, tarte tatin, baked figs, orange tart, (leave the peel on some of the orange) caramel tart, or cooked strawberries with pepper. The 20-Year-Old is excellent with crème brûlée, honey and almond cake and cheeses such as Parmesan and Manchego. Serve it in place of a Sauternes or Gewurztraminer with a delicate foie gras and brioche. The acidity of the 20 Year Old cuts perfectly through the richness of the paté. The venerable 30 & 40 Year Olds need no accompaniment, except time to savour them and a good armchair.”
“Ruby Ports are the ideal partner for a cheeseboard, chocolate dessert or even an intense Port wine reduction. Full flavoured cheeses such as a good farmhouse Cheddar or Red Leicester. Late Bottled Vintage Port is elegant and fruity, displaying the heritage of the great Vintages it makes an excellent match for a goat’s milk cheese such as a fresh Valençay or a Sainte-Maure. As the thick crumbly texture of the chèvre dissolves in contact with the wine, the ripe and opulent fruitiness of the LBV merges with the rich tangy flavours of the cheese in sublime synergy. The dessert aficionado should insist on being served a hot chocolate fondant with ice cream or why not try a chocolate cake with a raspberry sauce.”
“White ports are excellent when drizzled into a warm soup, adding some wonderful depth to the soup on a cold winter’s day or as a long drink served in a high ball glass.”
After these detailed and tasty descriptions, we are left with an overwhelming desire to visit a Quinta in the Douro or take a guided tour in one of the Port Wine Lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia. We suggest a visit to Taylor’s, which offers guided tours in several languages and has a beautiful view over the Douro River.
Taylor’s Port Cellars: https://www.taylor.pt/en/visit-taylors/port-cellars