Port types

There are a number of Port types or classifications, please find below a summary of the various types being sold in the market place. All Ports are approved by the IVDP's tasting panel, the Câmara de Provadores

Vintage Port

Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a single year and are the best grapes and wine of that year. Vintage ports are not declared each year but depends on the quality of wines available. A “fully” declared vintage is when all the major port houses declare a vintage port in their own name and not as a single quinta (see below). Only about 2% of the port produced ends up being Vintage quality and declared. The decision on whether to declare a vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. The decision to declare a vintage is made by each

Vintage ports are aged in large barrels or Tonels for a maximum of two and a half years before bottling, and generally require another ten to forty years of aging in the bottle before reaching a proper drinking age. Since they are aged in barrels for only a short time, they retain their dark ruby colour, fresh fruit flavours and big tannins. Vintage ports are bottled unfiltered and include the lees that allow the wine to age in the bottle. Particularly fine vintage ports can continue to gain complexity and drink wonderfully for many decades after they were bottled. It is not unknown for 19th century bottles to still be in perfect condition for consumption.

Fully declared vintage port years since 1900 are :

2011, 2007,2003, 2000, 1997, 1994, 1992, 1991, 1985, 1983, 1980, 1977, 1975, 1970, 1966, 1963, 1960, 1958, 1955, 1950, 1948, 1947, 1945, 1935, 1927, 1924, 1920, 1912, 1904, 1900

Reserve or vintage character

Reserve port is a premium ruby port. In 2002 the IVDP prohibited the use of the term "Vintage Character", as the wine had neither a single vintage (usually being a blend of several different years of ruby port) nor the typical character of a vintage port.

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV)

Late bottled vintage (often referred to simply as LBV) was originally wine that had been destined for bottling as vintage port, but because of lack of demand was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. Over time it has become two distinct styles of wine LBVs are kept in wood and bottled between four and six years after the vintage. LBVs can either be filtered and fined prior to bottling or not.

The filtered wine has the advantage of being ready to drink without decanting and is usually bottled in a stoppered bottle that can be easily resealed.

Unfiltered wines are mostly bottled with conventional driven corks and need to be decanted. After decanting they should be consumed within a few days. Recent bottlings are identified by the label wording "unfiltered" or "bottle matured" or both. Before the 2002 regulations, this style was often marketed as '"traditional", a description that is no longer permitted.

LBV is intended to provide some of the experience of drinking a vintage port but without the need for lengthy bottle aging. To a limited extent it succeeds, as the extra years of oxidative aging in barrel does mature the wine more quickly.

Typically ready to drink when released, LBV ports are the product of a single year's harvest and tend to be lighter bodied than a full vintage port. Filtered LBVs can improve with age, but only to a limited degree; whereas the unfiltered wines will usually be improved by extra years in the bottle. Since 2002, bottles that carry the words "bottle matured" must have enjoyed at least three years of bottle maturation before release.

Single Quinta Vintage Port

Single quinta vintage ports are wines that originate from a single estate, unlike the standard bottlings of the port wine houses which can be sourced from a number of quintas. Single quinta bottlings are used in two different ways by different producers. Most of the large port wine houses have a single quinta bottling which is only produced in some years when the regular vintage port of the house is not declared. In those years, wine from their best quinta is still bottled under a vintage designation, rather than being used for simpler port qualities. In a sense, this kind of single quinta is a second wine of the regular vintage port and is typically sold slightly cheaper than the regular vintage Port.

With the opening of the Port market in the late 1980’s a number of independent quintas decided to ‘go it alone’, La Rosa was one of those. This created an Issue for vintage port declarations as these independents were not part of a large “shipper” and could usually find on most years a parcel of wine that could meet vintage quality. Therefore the number of single quinta vintages ports have grown in number over the last few decades.

In addition, some of the larger port wine houses also have introduced single quintas which are run as separate estates, rather than as a source of wine for the house's main bottling

Ruby Port

Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. After fermentation, it is stored in concrete or stainless steel tanks to prevent oxidation and preserve its rich claret colour. The wine is usually blended from different years to match the house style and is between 2 and 5 years old. At La Rosa our ports tend to be slightly drier than the norm and are made from A class grapes [link to grapes classification] and are foot trodden [link to how port is made], this gives La Rosa’s ports a deeper and richer flavours and colour. The wine is filtered and fined before bottling and does not generally improve with age.

Tawny Port

Tawny ports are wood aged ports and turn a tawny colour as they get older. At La Rosa all our Tawny Ports are aged in small wood casks (550 liters) called Pipes. The smaller casks or pipes are used to allow a gentle exposure to oxygen and imparts a "nutty" or “dried fruit and caramel” flavours to the wine.

We have 3 Tawny Ports and one Colheita (see Colheitas) [link to Colheita tab]

Fine Tawny is an entry level Tawny Port and has an approximate age of between [2-5] years, under this classification there is no minimum age requirement and they tend to be a blend of various ports. These ports are normally made from lower grade grapes from the area called em baixo do corgo (see demarcated region) [link to relevant page] and are mechanically made in stainless steel or cement tanks. However, at La Rosa all our ports are made from A graded grapes and are foot trodden, this gives the port a richer and fuller flavours.

10 Year Old Tawny – as the name suggests this is a port that has the characteristics of a 10 Year old Tawny. The classification does not mean that the port has a minimum of 10 years but only that it has the characteristics of a port aged for 10 years. At La Rosa we age our 10 year old Tawny in pipes (550 litre casks) and is blended on a regular basis from a number of different ages to ensure that it is kept fresh. 20, 30 Year Old

20, 30 year old Tawny Ports – as the name suggests these ports have the characteristics of 20 or 30 year old tawny ports. At La Rosa we have recently launched a 20 Year old tawny port.

Colheita

Colheitas are dated tawny port from a single vintage. The actual year of the vintage is shown on the bottle along with the year it was bottled. Colheitas should not be confused with vintage port (see below): whereas a vintage port will have been bottled about 18 months after being harvested and will continue to mature, a Colheita has been matured in wooden casks prior to being bottled and may have spent 20 years or more in wood before being bottled and will not improve once bottled.

Crusted

Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past. Unlike vintage port, which has to be sourced from grapes from a single vintage.

Crusted port is bottled unfiltered, and sealed with a driven cork. Like vintage port it needs to be decanted before drinking.

Although crusted ports will improve with age, the blender often seeks to make these wines approachable at a younger age than for his vintage ports. The date on a crusted port bottle refers to the bottling date, not the harvest date.

While crusted port is required to be aged in bottle for at least three years before it is sold, most producers store the bottles longer; so they are ready to be drunk when sold.

Rose Port

Rose port is a very recent variation on the market, first released in 2008. It is technically a ruby port, but fermented in a similar manner to a rose wine with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus creating the rose colour. It does not appear to have been a success and currently La Rosa has decided not to produce this type of port

White Port

White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles, although until recently few shippers have produced anything other than a standard product. Ordinary white ports make an excellent basis for a cocktail while those of greater age are best served chilled on their own. There are a range of styles of white port, from dry to very sweet. La Rosa produces a dry white port with delicious overtones of fruit and is delicious either on its own or mixed with tonic as a long drink for those hot summer days

 

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