#DrinkPort. So what exactly is Port and how do you drink it?

Feb 25th 21

Port wine is one of the most emblematic Portuguese products. One of the crown jewels, its quality and unique character are recognized all over the world.

Our flagship property, Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias, has a long history of Port wine production. Exceptional wines are produced here. Today, 50% of the wine production from the Quinta is Port, steeped in history and tradition. How Port Wine is made and how it should be consumed is still a mystery. 

What is Port wine?

Port Wine is a fortified wine made from Douro's emblematic grape varieties in one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world. Traditional viticulture and vinification processes are reverently upheld. Initially, the Port wine process is similar to that of table wine. The principle difference is the interruption of fermentation by adding grape brandy (aguardente) to the must. The high alcohol content of the brandy (almost always 77% vol.) annihilates the yeast and micro-organisms responsible for alcoholic fermentation, the transformation of sugar into alcohol halts. The addition of brandy also means Port wine has a high alcoholic content (19 to 22% vol.), higher than that of table wine. Subsequently, Port wine ages in wood barrels. 

What styles of Port exist?

There are two principal styles of Port wine: Ruby and Tawny. 

Ruby and Tawny Ports result from distinct ageing processes.

Ruby Port:  Aged between two and three years in wood, the oxidation period is concise, preserving the wine's distinguishing characteristic (an intense fruity aroma). LBV (Late Bottled Vintage), ages 4 to 6 years in oak. Ruby Ports have intense, rich colour, akin to young red wines. This style of Port includes Ruby, Ruby Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Vintage Port. Exceptional harvests produce Vintage, the finest Ruby Port. Vintage wines age for decades and even centuries. The refined quality and structure of the wine are revealed no matter how old the Vintage is. 

Tawny Port:  Aged in wood for four years or more. The longer the ageing period, the better. Tawny Ports age exceptionally. There are blends with average ages of 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years or more. There is also the very special "Colheita," a wine that originates from a single harvest. Tawny wine colours range from golden to deep amber as a result of the oxidation process. A Tawny is ready to be consumed once bottled. Its levels of complexity are a revelation, thanks to the slow oxidation process while ageing in the wood. The aromas evolve, characterized by notes of nuts, honey and spices. The intensity and complexity vary according to the age of the wine. 

What makes Kranemann's wines distinctive?

At Kranemann Wine Estates, we currently only make Tawny and Ruby Ports. We aim to produce Ports that pay homage to tradition at Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias and the terroir of the Távora Valley. The cooler climate of the Quinta and the quality of the grapes ensure the wines are balanced and fresh. Refinement is crucial here. Our Ruby wines, for example, maintain the richness of the fruit and the typical structure of the Douro. They also reveal the characteristic backbone of the Távora Valley, a unique acidity that gives the wine its balance. This very balance between the sweetness and acidity, combined with the layers of complexity achieved through ageing in wood, produces some exceptional wines.

When should you drink Port wine?

The answer is almost at any time! There is a common misconception that Port wine is only associated with a traditional environment, served in large glasses, almost exclusively at times of celebration. However, the different types of Port have huge pairing potential: with cake, with desserts and nuts (especially Tawny wines), with chocolate (Rubies, particularly Vintage or LBV...), or in pairings with the most diverse cheeses (depending on the type of cheese, the pairing possibilities are truly surprising). Port wines can even be paired with whole meals, from starters to main courses and desserts.

Try something new, honour the tradition and history behind Port wines.