Port Gifts ...

Ports make a wonderful gift, and are ideal for anniversaries, birthdays, corporate gifts and other special occasions. With prices starting from 8.99 theres a Port for all budgets. Its a wonderful partner to Cheese, so why not add a selection of Cheeses, or a nice Truckle of Cheddar or Blue Stilton.

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Fonseca Organic Port

Port Styles

Ruby ...

Is the most basic and least expensive style of Port. It is a blend from the produce of several harvests that spends two to three years in stainless steel or wood before it is bottled.

Late Bottled Vintage or LBV ...

Unlike Vintage Character, are actually the produce of a single vintage. A vintage not deemed good enough to make a Vintage Port, will go into the making of a LBV. It is left in wood for four to six years, then fined and filtered before bottling. It is ready to drink earlier than Vintage Port and they do throw little sediment in the bottle.

 Tawny Port ...

Is aged a few years longer than ruby, at least six years in the cask before it is bottled. Though some tawny is simply a mixture of ruby and white ports, the best tawny Ports have acquired their pale colour an amber brown or tawny hew from longer wood ageing. The flavor becomes drier and nuttier from the oxidation.

At its simplest, tawny Port has a characteristic caramel-like sweetness that people often love. Tawnies receive longer aging in wood than ruby Port. That not only adds flavor but helps make the wine longer-lived; an open bottle of 40-year-old tawny Port will remain fresher and last longer than a young tawny or a vintage Port, which is bottle-aged and spends relatively little time on wood. Other sweet red dessert wines are sometimes labeled as "ports," but true Ports are from Portugal's Douro region.

As with sparkling wine, each Port producer has a house style. Some are weighty and ripe while others are lighter-bodied with nuances of wood spice, pepper and more evident tannins. Because most tawnies are nonvintage, they can be blended from multiple years' lots so the wines' flavors are consistent from year to year.

Aged Tawny ...

Are the best tawny Ports. They give the average age of the wines that have gone into making the blends. They are available in 10, 20, 30 and 40 - year versions with a corresponding increase in price. A 20-year tawny may give you the most enjoyable experience for the price. Aged tawnies are made from high quality wines and are the byproduct of a master blender.

A good strategy is to start with a fine tawny or 10-year-old tawny, then progress to richer, more complex, and more expensive older tawny and colheita Ports. You may quickly become a fan. We definitely are.

 click to see more Taylors 20 Year Tawny Port

Vintage Ports ...

display a richness not found in any other wine, with the smooth, sweet, warming black and red fruit combining elegance with power. Just as with any wine there are differences in both quality and style between the various houses.

They are the finest and most expensive of the Port styles. At most, it accounts for about 2% of all production and is one of the most sought after wines in the world. Vintage Port comes from a single harvest of exceptional quality, as stated on the bottle, and is bottled after two to three years of cask ageing. The wine then spends many years maturing in the bottle. It may take 15 to 50 years for a good Vintage Port to be ready for drinking.

What is a Split Vintage Port? The 1983 was an underrated vintage, and it has stood the test of time extremely well, and is now very highly regarded. In 1983, Winter was long and cold and spring was very late, with snow falling in certain parts of the Douro as late as 20th May. The weather then warmed up but still remained unsettled throughout much of the summer. What made the vintage was the burst of very hot weather at the start of September, with temperatures rising to 30 degrees centigrade. The harvest was one of the latest on record, starting on the 3rd October.

10 major shippers declared this year and thus 1983 is regarded in Port circles as a "split vintage".

In youth the wines were powerful yet austere, lacking the showy opulence of the 1985 vinatge. However, in bottle they have developed marvellously, with the best examples being complex and harmonious. Excellent value for money Ports.

Cask or Bottle Aged? The biggest difference between cask-aged Port and bottle aged Port is the cask-aged Port is ready to drink as soon as it is bottled and it will NOT improve with age. Bottle aged Port on the other hand gets better as it matures in the bottle.

Grape types used in Port; There are around 40 different grape varieties permitted in the production of Port - however the vast majority of Ports are produced from a blend of 5 grapes - Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, and Tinto Cao.

Touriga Nacional produces small, dark-skinned grapes that produce opaque black wines of great extract and high tannins - it gives grip, body, and structure to the blend.

Touriga Francesca has a thinner skin and consequently produces wines lighter in colour and tannins than Touriga Nacional. It contributes fruit, aroma, suppleness and roundness.

Tinta Roriz is the Portugese name for Tempranillo and its high sugar content and low acidity contribute colour and fruit.

Tinta Barroca which is normally grown at highish altitudes and on north-facing slopes, is prized for producing wines of delicacy, finesse and with smooth, velvety fruit. It brings elegance and sweet, ripe fruit to the final blend.

Finally Tinto Co produces fine and complex wines, though it is probably the least important of the 5 grapes as its painfully small yields have reduced plantings to almost insignificant levels.

Buy Port from The Cheese and Wine Shops wide range of Ports here!

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Seasonal Port from Dows

Port House Styles ...

For many people, Dow`s Ports are the firmest, driest style of Port, and Grahams the sweetest. Warre sits stylistically between the two, while Taylors is probably the most elegant. Crofts and Smith Woodhouse are slightly earlier maturing, and offer excellent value.