VINIFICATION - BLENDING
Aging – Type
The alcoholic fermentation of the must is stopped by an addition of neutral alcohol of vinous to become a fortified wine (named mutage). This technique helps to keep the naturel sugar of the grapes and increase the alcoholic percentage.
The action of “mutage” has to be made early during the alcoholic fermentation for a sweet port-wine and later for a dry port-wine.
The aging and blending method influence the family and the type of port-wine (for example Ruby or Tawny style), that the oenologue wants. Each “quintas” have as well is own and authentic style.
The aging will bring extra flavor and refine the wine thanks to the oxygen and the wood. Port-wine can be age in stainless still tank, wooden vast (until 100 000 L), oak barrel (around 650 L) or in bottle for the vintage, depending of the style.
Even if all the port-wine has a wooden aging, there are two main family: Ruby style which keep aging in bottle and the Tawny style age in an oxidative environment, in barrel.
Rube Reserve: A blend of the youngest harvest. It is a wine with ruby color, hence the name, with red and black fruits aromas, crisp and full-bodied, to drink rapidly.
Crusted: Is a blend of harvest, rarely more than three, sale on the market after at least three years in tanks and two years in bottle.
Late Bottled Vintage : The Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) come from one harvest only, one vintage. It is bottled after an aging of 4 to 6 years. The color panel goes from dark ruby red to garnet. It is a full-bodied port-wine with generous tannin, mellowness and fruity with an evolution of chocolate and mint flavors.
Vintage: Born from one harvest and one year. Vintage stays in wooden tanks during two years before carry on aging in bottle; and has the best potential to be kept in a cellar (through 60 years and more!).
Young vintage is usually dark, fruity, spicy and full-bodied; with the time, it will be mellowness with complex aromas and length in mouth.
Tawny Reserve: aged in oak barrel, the color can go from red-ruby to brownish, the aromas are balance between fresh fruits and dried fruits.
Tawny with an age distinction: the period indicated on the bottle (10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years and more) is equivalent to an average of aging of different wine lot. According to whether the ageing, the color fluctuates from brownish to amber with topaz and mahogany reflection. This type of port-wine offers a large range of flavors as sweet spices, crystalized orange, nutty, coffee, grilled bread, vanilla or Tabaco… with a long and complex length in mouth.
Colheita: Tawny made from one harvest only, with a minimum ageing of 7 years in oak barrels. Over time, colheita offer more progressive flavors and aromas depending of vintages and “quintas”.
Special category of white port-wine
The labelling of port-wine can mention Reserve or age distinction (10, 20, 30 or + 40 years) in accordance with the regulation based on the control of “Instituto do Vinho do Porto”.