It is said that Port wine tastes best in Porto. I tried it myself and I won't debunk this theory. But the truth is I drank only one wine, while, apart from the usual sweet and dry types, there are six varieties of Port.
- Porto Ruby – sweet, red wine. It is bottled after about two years of maturing in oak barrels. This wine is often produced in the process of coupage - blending two wine vintages together. Other Port wines, Dated and Vintage, are also included in this group because they are all stored in barrels for the same amount of time. Ruby is a type of Port of the lowest quality.
- Tawny – red type of Port. This wine can be sweet or dry, so it is difficult to predict what level of sweetness the one you're buying will have. Tawny Port is bottled and blended after about 3-5 years of maturing in oak barrels. Thanks to that, the wine loses its fruity overtones and becomes dry. It tastes more of vanilla and spices.
- Dated Port – it's a non-blended type of Port, stored for at least 7 years, which has an exact date of production, but is bottled only after 2 years. The sweetness of wine depends on its vintage. It is usually of worse quality than Tawny.
- Late Bottled Vintage – called LBT, a wine from better vintages, maturing in barrels for at least 4 years. It is a dry Port with a rich bouquet.
- Late Bottled Non Vintage – called LBNV, it is a cheaper, coupage version of LBV.
- Vintage – this is the best quality Port wine from the best vintages. Vintage Port is bottled after 2 years of maturing in oak barrels and it ages for a long time in bottles – mainly in connoisseurs' wine cellars, because it is not yet ready for consumption after market release. This type of port can be ascribed to particular vineyards. It's a real collector's item!
There are both red and white types of Port. The red one has usually a stronger aroma. The white is, in turn, more delicate. The Portuguese drink both white and red port at the end of a meal or while eating cheese, because it is then when you can feel the wine's most intense bouquet and flavour. Port wine ages for up to 20 years and this is the exact time when it tastes best. According to experts, only then can port wine develop its excellent taste and smell.
Port wine can surprise you with its deep smell and taste. Each bottle is in a way a surprise, because the wine's flavour depends on many factors (vineyard, coupage, the length of maturation...) Luckily, I got a very good nice one!