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Porto and it's Port wine

Updated: Apr 9

Port wine is more than just a comforting and sweet drink; it's a universe of diverse styles waiting to be explored. The very birth of Port wine is intertwined with a historical dispute that unfolded like a scene from a fairy tale – a battle between two powerful nations, England and France.

Imagine the year is 1667. A tense trade war simmers between England and France, a competition as fierce as any beauty pageant. The French Prime Minister, Monsieur Colbert, throws down the gauntlet, levying heavy taxes on English goods in an attempt to cripple their economy. Not one to back down from a challenge, the English Parliament retaliates with a bold decree: a complete ban on all French wine imports.

This is where things get interesting for the English merchants stationed in Portugal. They see an opportunity – could Portuguese wines fill the void left by their beloved French counterparts? The answer was a resounding yes, but a significant logistical hurdle stood in their way. Unlike the quick trip across the English Channel, transporting wine from Portugal to England was a lengthy journey by sea. These extended voyages often resulted in spoilage, rendering the wine unpalatable upon arrival. To combat this problem, the clever merchants devised a brilliant solution – they began "fortifying" the Portuguese wines with grape brandy. This addition of brandy acted as a preservative, ensuring the wine's survival on the long sea trek.

Your upcoming trip includes a fascinating tasting tour at one of the most prestigious Port houses. Here, you'll delve deeper into the captivating history of Port wine and discover the unique methods used in its creation. Get ready for a journey through time and taste, where the past comes alive in every sip! Here are some of my favorite brands of port wine, each with its own unique story:

  • Ferreira:  I hold a special fondness for Ferreira Port wine. Not only do I enjoy their wines, but their history is quite fascinating. Firstly, Ferreira is the only Port company that has always been under Portuguese family ownership.expand_more Secondly, under the remarkable leadership of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira in the 19th century, the company achieved its greatest success and has remained a top Port producer ever since.

  • Graham's:  A delightful stop on our trip will be a visit to the Graham's Port Lodge. Here, we'll not only have the opportunity to experience their wonderful port wines, but we'll also savor a delicious lunch showcasing the best of local cuisine.

  • Taylor's:  Steeped in tradition, Taylor's is one of the oldest founding Port houses.expand_more  Unlike some other producers, Taylor's dedication lies solely with the creation of Port wine, and particularly its most prestigious styles.

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