Porto and Madeira
Named after the island it is produced on, Madeira is said to be like no other wine. Its makers go through great lengths to get the wine just right. The success of this wine is accredited to the ancient shipping conditions of the seventeenth century.
To get to the New World, the wines passed through the tropics. The baking it got from the scorching sun gave it a softness, depth of flavor and a pleasant burnt taste to the otherwise light and acidic wine. It was believed that if one pass through the equator was good for the wine, then surely two would be even better. By the late 1700’s, upon strict orders, pipes of Maderia were to be put in the hold of ships as ballast and sent on roundtrip voyages across the world. This was a very unique way to age the wine. The wine became known as “Vinho da Roda” or wine of the round voyage. It is still a mystery how these wines were not ruined by the intense heat and constant rocking of the ship it endured on its voyage.
Porto wine production dates back to the first century B.C. in Northeast Portugal and was documented by Greek historians. By the 13th century, Portugal was an independent kingdom and Porto was being shipped down the Douro River to the coastal town of Porto and then exported as far abroad as Holland. In the early 17th century, British merchants in the flourishing English colony in the city of Viana de Castelo exported a light, crisp coastal red wine known as “Sailor’s Rations.”
Non Vintage Ruby Porto- made in the solera method by blending multiple six years.
Vintage Ruby Porto- Only 2% of total Porto production. If declared a vintage, the Porto must be bottled between 2-3 years after harvest. It is slow matured with deep color and very complex.
Tawny– Characterized by its unique Tawny color which expresses its age. The unique blend and aged in casks produce an almond aromatic characteristic.
White Porto- Made from White grapes, Range from “Off Dry” 1-2% sugar, called Dry or Aperitif.
Madeira- Made on the Island of Madeira. It is similar to port but baked at 140 degrees for up to three months.
Sherry– A fortified wine made from white grapes grown in Spain. After fermentation is complete, sherry is fortified with brandy.