What Is Port Wine?

Port Wine

Port Wine

While you are spending time in Porto Portugal, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the incredible Port wine available locally. It’s easy to locate a good glass of port wine in any restaurant or bar associated with a number of hotels in Porto. Let’s take a look at this true gift from the grape. So exactly what is port wine?

Most Port wines are sweet, making them perfect for sipping after dinner with dessert. In Portugal, a traditional way of serving port is to provide it near the end of the meal, often with a cheese plate. Many local chefs pair port with chocolate desserts. Port has strong cultural significance in terms of socializing with friends and family, and is often enjoyed with a cigar or sipped while enjoying a long evening at home.

Port wine originated in Porto Portugal. (Note: for English speakers, the city would be called Oporto). During the 1600’s, French wine imports were prohibited to England, and wine merchants were anxious to find a likely substitute. Rich, dark wine was found in Porto, Portugal, but transporting the wine back to England was tricky, as far as preservation was concerned. The addition of brandy to the red wine was the perfect solution, and so, Port wine was born.

Wine Barrels

Over the years, wine makers developed the making of Port into a science, cultivating special varieties of grapes in order to produce the sweet heady wine. Many of the vineyards that produce the grapes for Port are located in the mountainous regions of the valleys around the Douro River. Today, these vineyards feature an incredible tasting experience, and if you have time, working a few vineyard visits into your time in Portugal is definitely worth your while. If you develop a taste for port, make the most of your transfers from Porto airport during your travels so you can visit the area’s wineries to find your favorite varieties.

Traditional Wine Making

Vineyard workers traditionally stomped the grapes in a granite trough that was called a lagare. The treading, or stomping, of the grapes actually produced heat which aided in the development of the rich wine. Grape treading would take a day and half, after which time the signature character of the Port would begin to develop. After collecting the juice, the wine would be aged in either wooden casks or glass bottles. Depending upon the type of aging chosen, the varieties of grapes used, the soil conditions and additives chosen by the different vineyards, the resulting port would be developed over time, resulting in very different types of flavors and colors. You could spend a lifetime sampling the various remarkable types of Port!

Even today, treading the grapes is the method used to produce port wines with incredible depth of flavor and color.

Visit a Local Vineyard

If you are new to Port wine, you will enjoy sampling the various types of Port in order to find what suits your palate. You may fall in love with the Tawny Ports, which are typically aged in wooden barrels or casks for decades. These wines age to a characteristic tawny color, and often develop a slight nutty or dried fruit flavor. The popular Ruby Ports is created from a blend of wines and develop into a rich deep ruby color. Vintage Ports can take decades to develop their signature flavor.

Whether you travel to Porto for business or pleasure, take time between your flights to Porto to enjoy a nice glass of port. You can hopefully work out visits to our local vineyards as a quick side trip during your transfers from Porto airport. Wine tourism in the Porto region is very popular, with wine lovers taking flights to Porto in order to enjoy the local wineries. It is easy to locate boutique wine hotels in Porto where you can combine your love of Port with your stay. Thank you for visiting the Porto Airport Transfers Blog.

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