Tag: port wine

Oporto and Douro: so near and yet so different


Ancient, rich in microclimates and with a variety of strains. This is the demarcated Douro region and it sits on shale soils in an area of ??great beauty that is distributed by secular terraces along the banks of the River Duero (Douro in Portugal).

In addition to beeing a site of World Heritage and birthplace of Port wine, the region is producing excellent white table wines, red wines, sparkling wines and muscat. The complexity of the aromas of port wine, originallycalled Vinho de cheiro (wine aroma), has continued to seduce the senses throughout the centuries. The proof of age is that they just celebrate their age: September 10, the Port Wine Day celebrates 259 years as the first demarcated region of the world.

Among the strains authorized in the production of wines of Douro, the most used are Touriga Nacional (the “Portuguese Cabernet”), Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao and Tinta Roriz (the Spanish tempranillo). The vast majority of wine is made with several strains although monovarieties are also produced, usually in the wines of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga franca.


The way of the winery, manual or the mechanical steps, is part of the traditional method of wine production in the Douro. However, some of the producers have contributed with the most recent methods, e.g.stainless steel tanks with temperature control during fermentation. The advantage of the original method is its ability to extract the tannins, the second allows the production of wines with well-preserved aromas. The use of the two methods simultaneously results in complex wines, quite dense and structured. In addition, a new generation of winemakers went on proving that the Douro lives not only of Porto. In this region, table wines are made with new methods and are true specialists in winemaking.

In 2014, the prestigious magazine Wine Spectator has tasted 18,000 wines from around the world to classify them in terms of quality, price and availability in the market. Your selection Top 10 includes three wines from the Douro region.

Vintage port wine Dow’s 2011 Symington Group was chosen as the best wine in 2014, 99 points out of 100. In third and fourth place, both with 97 points, were the Chryseia 2011 (also Symington) and Quinta do Vale Meão, Olazabal & Filhos, descendants of Antónia Ferreira, the famous “Ferreirinha”.

The Real Companhia Velha has over 250 years in production and owns an archive of historical documentation (across the river Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia, where the large wineries) enjoying the Douro wines are personalities like Marques de Pombal, Napoleon and Catherine of Russia.

This company sells and produces Porto wine on its 535 hectares of vineyards, distributed over 7 equal farms producing table wines such as Quinta das Carvalhas, one of the oldest in the region and the Quinta de Cidró in S. João da Pesqueira.


 TAGS:Real Companhia Velha Vintage Port 2004Real Companhia Velha Vintage Port 2004

Real Companhia Velha Vintage Port 2004



 TAGS:Real Companhia Velha Vintage Port 1985Real Companhia Velha Vintage Port 1985

Real Companhia Velha Vintage Port 1985



Portuguese cuisine for beginners


Portuguese cuisine can be considered part of Mediterranean cuisine. Its 3 axes are bread, wine, and oil. But it also has a significant influence from the Portuguese ex-colonies of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Brazilian cuisine), mostly in the use of spices such as piri piri, paprika and cinnamon.

What is the basis of Portuguese cuisine? We will briefly explain below.

1. Bread:

The bread (called PAN or PAO) is one of the basic elements of Portuguese cuisine. It is not always made with wheat flour but is frequent made of corn (especially in northern Portugal). The bread is part of very traditional dishes such as açordas and breadcrumb lentils. Among the best known you find the round loaves and medium-sized Broa de Avintes called Fogaça and “caralhotas” Almeirim. The “pão-com-chouriço” are consumed at fairs and festivals. While in northern Portugal, the “balls” are popular (bolas) they are similar to rolls but are stuffed with minced meat inside them. In this case, it is a good choice to combine with a good port wine.

2. Fish and seafood:

There are a variety of Portuguese dishes based on fish and shellfish. They eat a lot of freshwater fish. With the exception of the cod, which is very present in the Portuguese cuisine. For a better the conservation of this fish, it is usually dried with salt, since it is often consumed in areas distant from the sea.

3. Soups:

During Fall and Winter, soups are an extremely popular part of the Portuguese cuisine. Among them, we find the chestnut soup that also can be eaten sweet, green broth consisting of sausage, cabbage, and potatoes that can be paired with a good red wine and “fejoada”. To achieve a good pairing, we recommend warm wines, preferably a rustic variety of Carignan.

4. Wines:

In addition to Porto and Madeira, there are also green wines from the north,  white wines and young Porto (generally made in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia), Madeira wine Carcavelos, or muscatel of Setubal, and also the red wine Borba or Dão, among others. However, wines from Portugal deserve a separate chapter… Stay tunned!

 TAGS:Ferreira Dona Antonia ReservaFerreira Dona Antonia Reserva

Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserva: a fortified wine from Port made of tinta barroca, touriga franca, tinto cão, tinta amarela, tempranillo, tinta çao, port, tinta roriz, touriga nacional and touriga francesa and presents an alcohol content of 20.00%.



 TAGS:Blandy's Duke Of Clarence RichBlandy’s Duke Of Clarence Rich

Blandy’s Duke Of Clarence Rich: a fortified wine from the region of Madeira and shows an alcoholic content of 19%. 



Portugal as a land of wine: Azores and Madeira


Madeira wine, or just Madeira, is also known as Generoso Madeirense or Vinho de Torna-Viagem and is produced on the island for over 500 years.

Departing ships loaded with wine, considered second-class, made possible to discover the power and impact of fermentation. The wine was stored in the cellars of the ships for over a year and the accumulated heat in the tropical region cruises transformed it into excellent nectar.

When fermentation happened on solid ground, two types of technique that originated 2 kinds of wine were developed: the “canteiro” wine, fermented in barrels stored in the top storage during the early years, which lower floor as they aged (you can drink them from the 4th year); the “estufado” wine heated in vats at 55° C for 3 months, which can be consumed from the 3rd year. In the Azores of the XIX century, the “estufado” wine was a strong-tasting drink and colour similar to Sherry.

Madeira is a fortified wine, rich, with an alcohol content between 17 and 22º, which remains in oak barrels through a slow and concentrate oxidation process. This type of wine is divided into: Blend, wines of varying age, with an average of 10 years and from the same strain; Colheita (vintage), wines from the same vintage and a single strain. They can be consumed from the 4th year; Vintage, which ages at least for 20 years and then must pass a test that determines the authorization to be bottled or not. These are wines of great age, great acidity and freshness. There are some Vintage 1975 in perfect condition.

However, the fame of the islander wines do not spread to all the islands in the same way.


Wines from Azores“Pasado” wine (Malvasia strain) and “Seco” wine – produced on the island of Pico, had a vinification process similar to that of Madeira, where the fermentation was interrupted by adding brandy, as with the Port wine, but the wines from Azores were considered lower quality than Madeira wines.

Probably because of the lack of data existing on the issue, for a long time it was believed that the wine elaboration was limited to the islands of Pico and Graciosa, but they were actually all devoted to the growth of vineyards. Although they were rocky islands with very difficult climatic conditions, as a result of volcanic eruptions, the Azores have performed an intensive effort of vineyard planting.

In the first half of the nineteenth century the islands suffered an aggressive outbreak of powdery mildew, which forced the replacement of strains such as Verdelho (white Verdejo), and instead some American vines were planted, especially the strain “Isabela” (banned today in Europe for its high content of methanol).

The elaboration of spirits suffered a considerable increase, and flavours multiplied, from molasses brandy of the island of S. Jorge, to the dark spirits of Terceira, and the red fig, loquat and peach liquor, from Pico Island.

White wine recovery was gradually achieved and one of the examples of the history of wine in Azores is the Cooperative Winery of Graciosa Island.

In Madeira, the Madeira rum, white and aged, has won a role that can even be visited – the “Engenho do Porto da Cruz” is a museum centre, near the “Casa del Ron”, where you can drink some exceptional reserves.

Among the strains traditionally used in the islands we can find:

  • Malvasia – One of the first strains that reached the islands of Azores and Madeira during the first half of the fifteenth century. This strain produces a sweet wine, with aroma and flavour of nuts and notes of honey. A perfect pairing with cheeses and chocolate.
  • Verdelho – It produces a semi-dry wine, taste of ripe pineapple and tropical aroma. Good pairing with cheeses and soft broths. This strain is used in the two archipelagos.
  • Cercial – With this strain is made a dry wine, with citrus and caramel aromas. It is ideal as an aperitif or combined with nuts or olives. This strain is used in the two archipelagos.
  • Boal / Bual – The result is a semi-sweet wine, with honey aroma and taste of caramel. It is ideal in the pairing with fruits, cheeses and desserts. High quality strain in the Azores and used in the two archipelagos.
  • Tinta Negra – Some say that this strain is the result of crossing Pinot Noir with Grenache. In Spain it is known as Negramoll and is cultivated mostly in the Canary Islands. Pairing with vegetables, rice and white meat.

 TAGS:Madere CruzMadere Cruz

Madere Cruz: a fortified wine with DO Madeira which blend contains negramoll.



 TAGS:Blandy's Madeira Malmsey 10 Years OldBlandy’s Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old

Blandy’s Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old: a fortified wine of the best of malmsey grapes and presents an alcohol content of 19º.



Pork tenderloin with Oporto: recipes with wine

Looking for a simple and delicious dish to prepare for 4 or 5 person? Think about the pork in Porto. This is a very healthy recipe made in the oven. In addition to being simple to do, it is nutritious. This is a great idea for special dinners. You don?t only prepare a good meal. The best interest of pork in port is that you can enjoy time with your guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen preparing everything.

Pork Tenderloin with Port


  • 1 pork tenderloin of 1 kg
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 glasses of port wine
  • Oil and salt


Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Step 2:
Cut the onions into very thin slices
Step 3:
In a saucepan add the olive oil and spread evenly with a brush to grease
Step 4:
Next, place the onions on the pan and grease with olive oil.
Step 5:
It is now time to put the whole tenderloin on the bed of onion rings
Step 6:
Pour 1 ½ cups of port wine on the tenderloin and make seasoning with salt and pepper before placing in the oven.
Step 7:
At this point, think about the cooking. For a well cooked fillet, leave it longer at a lower temperature on the hoven. For a well cooked fillet, let leather 1 hour at 180 degrees. For a less cooked fillet, 40 minutes at 290 degrees.
Step 8:
Remove the tray from oven. Mix the cooked onion with the piece of pork juice.
Step 9:
Replace the tray in the oven so it does not lose heat. Crush the garlic and add to the mixture to liquefy. The sauce is ideal to be served with the fillet.

Serve the Pork Tenderloin with Porto is a good idea, because the sauce is made of the same wine. Pairing guaranteed! Today we recommend you:

 TAGS:Niepoort The Senior TawnyNiepoort The Senior Tawny

Niepoort The Senior Tawny



 TAGS:Port Sandeman RubyPort Sandeman Ruby

Port Sandeman Ruby

How can the Port Wines be distinguished?

 TAGS:The port wine has been made since 300 years and belongs to the category of the fortified wines. The fortified wines are made by increasing their alcohol content by adding a specific quantity of brandy during the fermentation.

At first, this process was carried out in order to prepare the wine for the transfer by sea from one continent to another. Fortified, the wines could resist to humidity and temperature swings.

Now the fortified wines are multiple and it’s complicated to understand what the labels refer to. You can be confronted to different styles, that are created thanks to a difference in aging.

Some of the varieties used for red port are Latouriga, Tinta cão, Tinta barroca, Tinta Roriz or Tempranillo and French Toutiga , while for the creation of white port the Malvasia king, Malvasia thin and Codega are used.

The styles of port:

Vintage Port: This is the highest category of port wine. It is made from the finest grapes from different vineyards are bottled between the second and third year without a filter. The minimum aging time is 10 to 15 years.

Porto Crusted: These wines are hard to fine. Also called encrusted because of the sediment left in the bottom of the bottles. They are like vintage wines, but they are made from mixtures of two to three different crops. They must be decanted before drinking.

Porto LBV: The initials indicate Late bottled Vintage. Developed since the 60s, they are bottled after spending 4-6 years in wood, from what it takes its dark and powerful flavour.

Garrafeira Port: This port spends seven years in the pipe, then is aged for approximately 40 years in carboys. They are very durable and retain their qualities intact.

Tawny: It can be identified by its brown color, obtained by contact with the wood between 5 and 7 years. After the process it will spend 10, 20, 30 or 40 years bottled before release.

Porto Ruby: A classic red port wine, its taste is fruity and its color as indicated by its prestigious name : ruby.

Porto Branco, Blanco or White: One of the less popular port as it is overshadowed by the red.

Sweet sparkling, another option for the desserts

 TAGS:Tired of the typical muscat? Bored of that glass of port that looks like the after lunch official drink? Come on man, there are other options, just encourage yourself and try something new. Sweet sparkling wines are the chic option to accompany desserts.

Sweeter than a champagne or a cava (Spanish sparkling wine), but not as mellow as muscatel or port wine, sweet sparkling wines are the youngest choice for an evening that ends withan original point.

But you need to find the appropriate glasses because sweet sparkling wines should not be served in shot glasses! You will make a very good impression if you also include any of thesesparkling wines in your wine list. And if you are worried about your image and you are always trying to find the perfect way for the food to be presented, sweet sparkling wines will help you get that infallible gourmet touch.

You can bring them to the table with a grape or with a lychee inside. Or you can cut a slice of strawberry and use it to decorate the edge of the cup. Because the variety of colors and flavors of these wines will help you get a beautiful table, where the pink, green or golden colours of the wines you choose can match with details of the dessert or the dishes or linens, why not?

Usually, this kind of wines has a lower graduation than other. This fact makes them perfect for extending the after lunch or dinner. They are also the preferred option for many women because of how easy they are to drink and also due to their sweet but not too much touch which makes them perfect to have one more glass.

The port wine

 TAGS:There are many styles of port wine, but four are the most important.

  • The white, which can be dry or semisweet.
  • Among the reds, the most common is the ruby, a young wine that owes its name to its color.
  • There is also the tawny, aged in wood for many years (not less than six) where by oxidation becomes a dark amber color.
  • Finally, the vintage, the wine that has given its reputation to Porto, which comes from an exceptional crop, which is bottled young, unfiltered, to maintain all its structure and fruity characteristics.

Not all port wines are drunk at the same temperature. The white should be served cool, both the ruby and the vintage should be consumed at room temperature or slightly cool, between 16 and 18° C, at the same temperature than the reds, and the tawny (old port) is consumed like cognac, heating the glass with your hands to facilitate the release of its aromas.

Both ruby and tawny can be consumed when they are released to the market. The vintage, moreover, the wine with more ability to age in the world, must be preserved for 10-15 years or even more, to reach its fullness.

The gastronomic recommendations listed the white port (not too sweet) as an appetizer, served cold; for the desserts, the tawny; and for pate, cheeses -especially the blues like Roquefort or Gorgonzola-, and game meats, the vintage. The tawny is also suggested instead of cognac with a cigar at the end of dinner, and to accompany nuts. Moreover, the vintage is one of the few wines that get along with chocolate.

The serving of port wine has its peculiarities. A bottle of tawny which has passed a long process of oxidation during its stay in wood, does not need to be totally consumed after opening, and can be kept for a time in good condition. The vintage, however, once uncorked behaves like any other wine, and the contact with air affects it quickly. It is for this reason that tawny bottles can be stored upright in the cellar, while the vintage must be kept horizontally for many years avoiding any contact with oxygen, and they use the best corks from Portugal. The serving of vintage requires a special treatment. Since it is not filtered before bottling, precipitates much coloring matter in the bottle and it is therefore necessary to decant.

Origin of port wine

 TAGS:Great Britain not only made famous tea and whisky. Despite barely not producing wine, it also made great contributions to the development of global viticulture: British were the ones who discovered port wine. The history of this Portuguese wine dates back several centuries in the past, but it was only in the seventeenth century when English imposed it on the rest of the world. Great Britain was at war with France, which forced the Crown to declare the embargo on products from that country. It was in search of quality wines to replace the French that its citizens found that different drink, with a greater than usual alcohol content and a dry or sweet flavour, which surprised even the most demanding.

Its secret lay in the addition of several liters of brandy per barrel during fermentation in order to retain some of the natural sugar in the grape. The interest aroused in England by port wine made many investments from that country to establish in the area surrounding the Portuguese city of Oporto, giving great impetus to viticulture in the region. Some of those wineries still retain the English names of its founders, ?Croft?, ?Offley?, ?Gordon rahams?, ?Sandeman?, ?Dow?, ?Warre?.

By the mid-eighteenth century, the port wine received a final boost when the Portuguese Crown created by law the current Real Companhia Velha, the oldest winery for elaboration of port wine, and immediately after, between 1758 and 1761, delimited the region for port wine production, giving birth to the world’s oldest appellation, prior to that of French wines. From that date are definitively established the processing methods that are still respected today.

The wines, made from over 12 varieties of grapes, white and red, are fermented in the cellars located in the alto Douro (name given to the Douro River as it passes through Portugal), near the terraced vineyards installed on the slopes of the hills. After development of the fermentation, when the yeast still have not consumed all the sugar, it is added brandy (spirit of wine), preventing the further fermentation and sweetening the drink. Once completed, the port wine is moved downstream to aging in the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, facing the city of Oporto, near the Atlantic Ocean.