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Oenology

OENOLOGY

THE SECRETS AND KNOWLEDGES!

Port Wine is much more than a fortified wine made from grapes. It is a characteristic wine of a single region in the world, made from grapes derived from native grapes. For always, the work of Men has been adding secrets and knowledge that are passed from generation-to-generation in families, which are rich in history and tradition. It is a wine from ’here’, and is a wine like no other in styles, aromas and flavours that are absolutely irresistible.

THE GRAPE VARIETIES

The hardness of soil and harsh climate, along with harsh winters and scorching summers, cause most varieties to be traditional and native to the region, and therefore, rarely found elsewhere. The best-known red grape varieties are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Cão and Touriga Francesa, in over thirty varieties, which contribute to the longevity of the vines and allow for more sugar and color concentrated grape must.

THE WINEMAKING

After the harvests, which take place in late summer, the grapes are transported to the winery where one proceeds to the more or less complete de-stemming, before placing them in the mills to be crushed. The more traditional process known as stomping (or Pigeage), is done by men, in a ritual with a lot of history and tradition. Nowadays, although there are innovative mechanical extraction systems, which coexist with the traditional system, the image of the grape stomping done by men lined up shoulder-to-shoulder stepping the grapes with their feet still has a huge importance – after all, it’s an exciting ritual, full of symbology and with an ancestral identity.
It then takes place the fermentation and maceration process that, because the Port wine is a fortified wine, should be very short (2-3 days). As the fermented wine is transferred to vats, grape brandy is added, which must comply with the rules of the tradition and practices of each house, essential for obtaining a high quality wine. The Port Wine Institute (Instituto do Vinho do Porto) has an important quality assurance role, executing a strict control over the entire process of adding grape brandy (known as the benefit). For such purpose, laboratory analysis and sensory analysis are carried out.
The wine remains so, usually until spring of the following year, before being placed in casks or vats, thus beginning the aging process. This is unique for every styleand takes into account the quality of wine after it is evaluated. The choice of the container in which the wine ages is also crucial for the style of the Port wine that the harvest generates.

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