The first Port wines emerged in the later half of the 17th century and traditionally from the Douro Valley region. Located in the serene hills that rise from the pristine Douro river in Northern Portugal, the area is blessed with similar climate conditions to that of the Mediterranean which imparts the perfect ratio of sunlight, warmth and moisture to the vineyards.
During 1756, the Royal Charter established a method for balancing trade and production, equalising prices as well as ensuring quality. Port traditionally comes in several styles with one being the basic Ruby Port. Due to the ageing process of around 3 years prior to bottling it gives this wine an unmistakable bright ruby red colouring and robust flavour that is imbued with a distinct sweet warmth and a hint of uncomplicated spicy undertones.
There’s also the Tawny Port and this is an exceptional blended wine created from the mix of several harvests. An extended period of ageing in the range of 3 to 40 years prior to bottling helps develop a distinct deep reddish-brown colouring that has a dry nutty flavouring laced with raisin overtones.
The Full Vintage is possibly the most famous of all the ports. It’s produced from a single harvest and matured over a 2 to 3 year period. It acquires most of its essential characteristics from being bottled and laid to age over a long period. Once aged appropriately it’s imbued with a complex mix of layered flavours that are defined by the specific maker, the climate as well as the year amongst others.