What Can You Expect From The 2016 Port?

Reports recently confirmed that this year’s Port grape harvest was “surprisingly good,” raising hopes over the quality of the vintage. Ideal Wine Company asks: what can you expect from the 2016 Port?

Growing conditions

Port is a fortified wine produced in the Douro Valley region of Northern Portugal. Like Champagne, Port wine is a legally protected product, so it must be made according to certain rules. While the drink can be produced from over a hundred grape varieties, there are only five that are commonly used. These are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão.

Similar to wine, the quality of the grapes used for Port depends on the region’s ‘terroir.’ According to Wine Folly, an industry website, this term refers to “how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine.” The Douro Valley has the perfect climate, soil and terrain for Port, but the weather is also a determining factor, so some years produce superior vintages to others.

Inclement weather

We already know that 2016 has seen bursts of inclement weather envelop France, damaging the country’s grape output. Earlier this year hailstorms hit Cognac, home to its famous eponymous brandy, badly damaging around 6% to 8% of vineyard crops. Meanwhile, this spring Burgundy was subjected to heavy frosts, with estimates indicating that they ruined 46% of the area’s vineyards by over 30%.

The Douro Valley didn’t escape unscathed either. The 2016 growing year began with a warm winter and a hotter than average December and January. Coupled with a colder, wetter spring than usual, this created the perfect conditions for mildew, which can ruin grapes. Also the region experienced hailstorms in July, resulting in “significant” grape losses and a lack of uniform maturity at harvest time.

Surprisingly good

Despite these factors, Port producer Sogevinus claims, the harvest was “surprisingly good.” Commenting, a report from the company was quoted by The Drinks Business, an industry portal, says: “The maturation analysis showed good results, and our visits to the vineyards confirmed this year was going to be good. Although the berries and bunches were smaller than other years, they showed a good pulp/skin ratio, a sign of richer and more complex wines. But the maturation of the parcels in the vineyards was not uniform, which required careful planning in the picking decisions.”

Going on, the report there was “freshness, medium acidity and good colour” in its red Port wine grapes, with a good overall health and yield. It added that the Touriga Francesa, along with Touriga Nacional grapes were particularly well-formed and should create “rich and fat” wines. Elaborating, the report revealed: “The Port wines [for 2016] are already proving to be clean and quite aromatic, and concentrated in colour. However, their tannins are not quite fully rounded, which tells us the wines from this harvest will need ageing time to refine and reveal all their potential.”

Buy Port wine

It looks as though the 2016 Port vintage will be good, with strong colours and rich flavours. If you want to see what a fantastic Port looks like, before the 2016 vintage starts being released, buy the Fonseca’s Finest 1977 Vintage Port from Ideal Wine Company. A truly classic vintage, it’ll blow you away!

Drinking port this summer – Five tips

Some people think that drinking Port is just for Christmas. They couldn’t be more wrong. This incredibly delicious signature Portuguese product is extremely versatile, so if you get creative you can drink it every month of the year. Ideal Wine Company reveals five ways to drink Port Wine this summer.

Drink it straight

Older Ports such as the Fonsecas Finest 1977 Vintage Port, which you can purchase from Ideal Wine Company, are deep, rich and extremely complex. Forget about mixers and imbibe these Ports straight, or perhaps on the rocks, so you can feel the full force of these standout products. There’s nothing like enjoying a glass of Fonseca’s finest on a hot day while you watch the world go by.

Drizzled over ice cream

Make Port Wine work in the summer heat by drizzling it over ice cream. By doing this, you can whip up a delicious, refreshing treat. Think carefully about which kind of ice cream you choose, so you can stumble upon a winning combination. You may want to opt for something like Rococo Rose, lychee and raspberry sorbet here to create a dish that your taste buds are sure to love!

Try Sangria

We’ve previously told you how to make a red wine Sangria that tastes delicious. If you swap out the red wine for Port, you can make a refreshing, mouth-wateringly good Port Sangria that’s perfect for summer evenings. The key to perfecting Port Sangria is to think carefully about what kind of fruit you add to the mix. Experiment with fruit and proportions so you make the right Port Sangria for you!

Port Summer Cup

In a recent article, BT revealed a great recipe for a Port Summer Cup, which is a really tasty concoction that works well during hotter months. All you’ll need is some Port, vintage cider, lemonade, strawberry puree and cucumber to garnish. Mix the Port, cider, lemonade and strawberry puree in a wide-brimmed glass, add ice and then top off with cucumber to create this beautiful drink!

Mix with tonic

If you want to keep things simple, but you don’t want to drink your Port neat, why not try mixing it with tonic? When creating this drink, it’s really important that you find the right proportions, so you whip something up that just bursts with flavour! Try garnishing your Port and tonic with fresh mint and teaming it with dark chocolate to create a fantastic culinary experience that works in the summer!

Experiment with Port with the Ideal Wine Company

Port Wine is what you make of it. Learn how to prepare Port, so you can determine how to draw the beautiful flavours out of this famous Portuguese drink and make it work for any season, including summer. Have some fun and experiment, so you find the perfect way to drink Port Wine this summer!

What is the Difference Between Tawny and Vintage Port?

Ideal Wine Company always strives to provide you the information you need to become an experienced wine drinker. This week we’re tackling a question for those people who are thinking about buying Port wine: “What’s the difference between tawny and vintage Port?”

Intro to Port

Port wine is becoming increasingly popular among British drinkers. Data from Nielsen, an international information and measurement firm, suggests that UK Port wine sales totalled over £79 million last year. This means that Port now commands the UK’s largest market share for fortified wine.

Port is beloved among UK consumers because it is a unique style of fortified wine. Similarly to Champagne, ‘Port’ is a legally protected product. Only winemakers who conform to specific production rules can call their wine a ‘Port.’ A Port must be made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley in Portugal. Popular Port grapes include Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesca and Touriga Nacional.

Looking at tawnies

Typically, Port is a sweet red commonly served as a dessert wine. But there are so many varieties! You may want to learn more about them to determine which style of Port is right for you. One of the first things you will need to research to become a Port aficionado is the difference between ‘tawny’ and ‘vintage’ Port.

Let’s look at tawny Ports first. This label is used for Ports which possess a ‘tawny’ reddish brown colour, which they acquire due to oxidisation during their long maturation process. Tawny Ports are aged in porous wooden casks for at least ten years, however this can stretch on as long as 40 years. These Ports typically possess mellow flavours, such as nuts, wood and dried fruit.

Explaining vintage Ports

In contrast, ‘vintage’ is used to refer to Ports made entirely from grapes which were grown in a single year. Here, the product is aged in oak barrels for just two years before bottling. However, vintage Ports are usually exposed to an extensive bottle ageing process. Often, they’re not ready to drink for 20 years after the year in which the grapes were first picked.

Vintage ports are often regarded as the richest and most powerful of Ports. Their limited time in the barrel allows these Ports to retain the deep red/purple colour that this style of wine typically possesses prior to ageing, but tends to lose after being exposed to extensive oxidisation. Boasting sweet, ripe fruity flavours, these Ports taste absolutely stunning and age fantastically in the bottle.

Sample a stellar vintage

In other words, tawny and vintage Ports provide you with entirely different drinking experiences. The latter is particularly well known for its powerful flavours. If you want to sample a world-class vintage Port, buy Fonsecas Finest 1977 Vintage Port from the Ideal Wine Company. The year 1977 was an outstanding time for Port production, so you’re sure to love this sumptuous vintage!

Everything You Need to Know About Fortified Wine

If you’re thinking of buying the Fonseca Vintage Port from the Ideal Wine Company, you may be interested to learn that it’s a fortified wine. If you don’t know what this means, keep reading as we’ve decided to devote a whole blog post to explaining what fortified wine is, how it’s made  and why it makes a fantastic after dinner tipple.

What is fortified wine?

A fortified wine is a wine that has had a grape spirit such as brandy added to “fortify” the final product. This brings the alcohol content of the end product up to around 17% – 20%.  The most well-known types of fortified wine are Sherry, Madeira, Marsala and Port.

You may be interested to learn that producers first started to fortify wine because they believed that adding stronger alcohols such as brandy would preserve the final product. This is true if the bottle remains sealed, however fortified wine won’t last more than a month after it’s been opened.

How is fortified wine made?

Through trial and error wine makers discovered that timing is everything when it comes to making fortified wine. The grape alcohol needs to be added to the base wine during the fermentation process. This can be used to control the sugar content in the final product.

This is because once the grape spirit is added, it stops the yeast converting sugar into alcohol. Therefore when the producer wants a dry or a less alcoholic fortified wine, they let the fermentation process run its full course before adding the brandy. However, if they want a sweeter or more alcoholic product they’ll add it once the base wine has fermented for a day and a half. After fermentation, fortified wine is aged in oak wood casks.

Why should you drink fortified wine?

The truth is that there’s no one reason why fortified wine makes a fantastic after dinner treat. The tipple’s production process has a lot of variables and this means that there are a range of fortified wines on the market and they each have different characteristics and qualities.

Yet most fortified wines have one thing in common. Even when we’re talking about a “dry” variety, fortified wines are stronger and sweeter than other wines. This is why it has traditionally served as a desert wine and can be paired beautifully with after dinner staples such as chocolate desserts, fruit torts and cheese platters.


Why Should You Buy the Fonseca Vintage Port from Ideal Wine Company?

If you are looking for a product that oozes quality and sophistication, then you should look no further than the Fonseca Vintage Port. This week we let you know both what you can get from this product and why you should buy it from the Ideal Wine Company. Continue reading “Why Should You Buy the Fonseca Vintage Port from Ideal Wine Company?”