How Port wine is made, in pictures

 

The Douro Valley in northern Portugal is the home of Port, a famous fortified wine style. The region is one of the most beautiful in the world, with steeply sloped banks rising on either side of the Douro river and its tributaries.

These steep slopes are often trellised so they can be worked safely, but where [...]

How Port wine is made: a film from the 2016 vintage

By Jamie Goode and Treve Ring (Gismondi on Wine)

In mid-September, we visited the Douro Valley in Portugal during harvest. We spent quite a bit of time chatting with the producers. The vibe here was good: most seemed to be in the midst of a successful vintage, and quite happy with the fruit that was coming [...]

10, 20 and 40 year old Tawnies from Fonseca

Had a chance to run through these aged tawnies from Fonseca. The 10 year old is pretty good, but the 20 and 40 year olds are remarkable wines, showing lovely elegance and purity, and some red fruit character still. When Tawny is good, it’s pretty irresistible.

Fonseca 10 Year Old Tawny
Warm and spicy with lovely depth. [...]

Dinner with Dirk: Chave 1988, De Vogüé Bonnes Mares 1969 and Taylors Vargellas 1976

Dirk Niepoort is one of my favourite people on the planet. Last night we dined at Noble Rot, and shared some very special bottles.

Chave Hermitage 1988 Northern Rhöne, France
This bottle was pretty much perfect. In beautiful condition and still a deep, primary colour. Lovely detailed black cherries, spice, tar, pepper and meat notes, as well [...]

O-Port-Unidade 2013 Vintage Port

This is a great project – one that I mentioned last year when I tried a cask sample with lunch. It’s a charity Port project to which 20 of the leading Port producers from the Douro each contributed around a ton of grapes. These were fermented together in a lagar at the Niepoort winery, and [...]

Dow's 1960 Vintage Port

This was stunning. Dirk Niepoort brought it along to lunch the other day (for the sake of disclosure, the picture is of another bottle of this wine – an empty magnum – he had with him; the actual bottle was unlabelled – and thanks Sam Suddons for the pic). 1960 is thought of as a [...]

Port round-up: my guide to the best readily available Ports

Port is one of the most seasonal drinks of all. And we’re in peak Port-drinking season right now. I drink quite a bit of Port – all year round – and I reckon that if you are a Port fan, these are happy days. Quality across the board is pretty good, and the cheaper wines [...]

A mini vertical of Noval Vintage Port

Had a chance to try four vintages of Noval side by side. Sadly, this was tasting not drinking – and usually, tasting notes made in the act of drinking have more value than those made from just tasting – but it was nice to revisit these wines. Some comments. First, the Silval 2005! This is [...]

Quinta do Noval 2013 Vintage Port

Don’t you just love eccentric declarations? We’re talking Vintage Port here. It used to be so solemn and predictable: three declarations a decade, from the very best years, agreed in a gentlemanly fashion over a long lunch at the Factory House (or, at least, that’s how it seems from the outside). Now Quinta do Noval [...]

Video: Cockburn's Port Bicentenary Tasting

Here’s a film from the recent Cockburn’s Port Bicentenary tasting, held in London. It involved a range of Ports from Cockburn’s glory days to the present day, including a couple of rare pre-phylloxera bottles. The Symingtons purchased Cockburn’s in 2006 and their aim is to restore this Port house – which for a long time [...]