Travel Guide to Portugal

Douro

The Nature of the Douro

The Douro Valley is rightly considered a wonder of Nature. The river extends for 900 kilometres throughout Iberia, as both the Douro and Duero, and carves its way from the Portuguese border to the Atlantic when it reaches Porto. On its journey, the Douro river has carved a meandering path that is simply mesmerising from …

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Port: Vintage 1827

What follows is part two in my telling of the story of Villar d’Allen. If you have not read part 1, please do so now. This story was originally published in 1981 by my Grandfather, retelling his experience opening a Quinta do Noval 1827. I have included footnotes to clarify some points, otherwise, this has been left …

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Colheita & Tawny Port Wines: Unique Styles of Wine for a Unique Moment

Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by Stuart George, a freelance writer in London. Stuart studied English and European Literature at the University of Warwick and then worked as a wine merchant, travelling extensively through the world’s wine regions, before turning to wine writing. We are elated to feature him today, in hopes of …

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Part 3: The Ultimate User’s Guide To Portuguese Cheese

In my two previous posts, we’ve explored Portugal’s most renown and cherished artisanal cheeses, learning the basic flavor profiles, as well as common Portuguese terms when buying and selecting cheese. (Read Part 1 and Part 2) Now it’s finally time to enjoy our delicious Portuguese cheese with some equally delicious Portuguese wine. For many of …

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Spanish Festival of Carnival in Galicia: Complete With Biting Ants, Torched Hay, Men in Lingerie and Ample Amounts of Cow Bell

When we invited you to participate in our Q&A competition, we had no idea of the number of challenging, thought-provoking and all around bizarre questions that would be filling our inbox. Rather than a simple question regarding the adequate age of utilizing an oak barrel for sherry, we instead, were asked about odd festivals we …

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Wanted: Tawny Port

Background
Tawny port wine is made from red grapes aged in wood, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation, for longer than a ruby port wine. As a result, the wine loses its brilliant ruby color, becoming a dark amber or a tawny hue with a characteristic “nutty” flavor imparted by the wood. Finally, through a system of fractional blending with various older port wines to match the house style, the resulting tawny wine is elegant and soft, showing delicate wood notes and rich mellow fruit.

Although there are several various kinds of tawny port wine, the two main types are: a young tawny that lacks any indication of age, and an older tawny labeled with a specific age.

Basic NV Tawny Port

Although the term “tawny’ refers to a wine that has been aged in wood for longer than ruby port wine, the majority of young tawnies are made from a blend of both red and white grapes, aged for approximately the same time as a ruby port wine. Come summer, several bulk tawnies are shipped up river to the Douro valley in cement baloes where they literally stew from the ambient heat, referred to as the Douro Bake. The Douro Bake is a traditional expression used to explain a particular characteristic imparted to Port when aged in a hot, arid climate, as opposed to the milder, cooler temperatures in Vila Nova de Gaia. Consequently, the resulting wines mature rapidly, losing their bright red color, and display a slightly brown tinge around the rim. On the palate, although lacking in the powerful fruit characteristics normally associated with a young ruby port wine, tawnies tend to be softer, more subtle, and many times, slightly more approachable.

Wanted: Ruby Port Wine

As we have done with both Sherry and Portuguese table wine, our goal is to provide you with a solid understanding as to what Port wine is throughout the month of November. Over the next two weeks, we will be providing you port wine profiles of each style with the occasional tasting note thrown in …

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