This weekend we released our new Ruby Port - a Perfect Valentine gift. It joins the Tawny Port we released earlier this year. Both will be joined by a Solera Port we will introduce for Christmas. And those of you who purchased the port we bottled in gold clay bottles years ago, were drinking Madeira Port.
Are you confused yet??? We understand! The difference between these Ports is how they are made and learning the difference is part of the joy of Port.
TAWNY PORT is a fortified wine that has been aged in wood long enough to lose some of its ruby color, hence the name tawny. We make two styles of Tawny Port: Madeira & Solera. With Maderia Ports, the wine is heated at a high temperature for a long time. This duplicates the effect on wine when it spent a long time in barrel crossing the Equator to the New World. The wines were fortified with spirits before shipping to keep them from spoiling. This exposure to air, heat and wood created nutty, smokey flavors in the Port.
With Solera Ports, the wines are a blend of vintages, known as "fractional blending". Here’s how it works: Barrels of wine of the same type but different vintage are stacked on top of each other, the oldest on the bottom, and the youngest on the top. Each year, 10 to 30 percent of the bottom (the Solera) barrels’ will be bottled. The headspace created by this drawing-off will be filled with wine from the level above, and those barrels will be filled with the level above them, and onwards and upwards, while the last year’s barrels on the top level will be topped up with this harvest’s wine. You can see our Solera barrels in our Wine Cave below our Tasting Room!
RUBY PORTS are youthful wines whose basic characteristics haven't been altered by long exposure to air through the wood of oak barrels. These wines retain their primary flavors and intense fruit aromas. Our Ruby Port is made by "shocking" the fermentation with the introduction of 150 Proof Grape Spirits, which kill the yeast in the fermentation, stopping the fermentation process and leaving more natural grape sugar in the wine. This results in a lighter, fruitier, sweet Port.
All styles of Port will age well in the bottle and it is a tradition in some countries to buy a bottle of Port the year a child is born and present it to them on their 21st birthday