by Fleur Deuss | Jul 7, 2018 | Blog Dutch | 0 Comments
To answer this question, we have to go back many years. This is because Port today is fortified with wine alcohol. During fermentation, wine alcohol is added, which stops fermentation early and does not convert all the sugar from the grapes into alcohol. This process creates the sweet taste.
The banks of the Douro River in northern Portugal have been producing hearty red wine since the Middle Ages. Originally, the wines were not fortified with wine alcohol at all, just firm and powerful because of the rugged soils on which the vines grew and because of the many hours of sunshine. As a result, the grapes naturally developed a lot of sugars, which produced wines with a lot of alcohol even without fortification.
In order to adapt these “rustic” wines to the taste of the Northern European public, a dash of brandy was often added to the barrels by Dutch and English merchants from the very first introduction to the wines. This made the wine slightly sweeter. This also had the advantage that the wines would keep better during transport over sea and to distant places.
The road to Europe
It was only in the course of the seventeenth century that these wines found their way to Northern Europe on a large scale. This had everything to do with the wars that England and the Republic of the Seven United Provinces fought with France. French wine was therefore not always accessible to the thirsty souls in London and Amsterdam. Fortunately, much further south than Bordeaux was the Portuguese port of Oporto, where wine could also be obtained. It was probably the Dutch who around 1675 moved further inland along the Douro River and discovered the powerful red wines of the Lamego Monastery. The vineyards of that monastery were situated around Pinhão, also nowadays still an important city in the area where port originates.
Curious about our port? We expect the port at the end of August. Make an appointment for a tasting or pre-order the port online.
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