The Prestigious Wines of Porto, Portugal
The vineyards of Porto are one of the most prestigious in the world. From the 17th century, its zone of production was jealously protected by the producers of the Douro Valley: it is one of the earliest existing regions.
A Fortunate Alliance
Although Portugal, like Spain, produced wine since antiquity, the history of its vineyards is quite different thanks to the alliance between Portugal and England. Porto was the location of the marriage of João I and of Philippa of Lancaster in 1387, which served as a symbol of the military alliance between the nations.
From then on, Porto became a fortified trade town between the countries. In the 14th and 15th centuries, shipyards multiplied, and the trade contributed to the development of the Douro Valley vineyards. In light of a conflict between England and France, the English people abandoned Bordeaux wines in favor of those from Porto.
Porto is a blend of several grapes and all the varieties can leave the beginner perplexed. The best is Vintage, the King of Porto. Vintage results from the best regions and only the best years. It is produced only 2-3 times per decade (approximately 5% of the production). It is not filtered and spends two years in barrels before a decision is made concerning whether or not it is worth for the Vintage label. Then it ages in bottles and typically rests for at least decade to express itself completely. It’s generally considered necessary to finish a bottle the day that it is opened!
The Best Way To Drink Porto
The French drink it at room temperature as an aperitif. The Portuguese enjoy it cool but, of course, without ice. The English, reserve their best bottles for liqueur. There are almost as many ways to drink Porto as there are Porto drinkers.
But we think the best way to drink Porto is in Porto! That is why our Back Roads and Wines of Portugal Tour always includes a wonderful tour and tasting at one of Portugal’s oldest Port wineries. However you enjoy your Porto, we hope you’ll consider experiencing firsthand the rich tradition of Portuguese wine-making, and sample it our favorite way – in Portugal!