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!

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?”