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Drink from the valley of Douro

In general, all well-known wines - inveterate homebodies: they are born, mature and ripen in house conditions and only at solid age, having gathered endurance and a vital maturity, leave the native land, going to society where they are already looked forward by experts and judges. There are among wines also such semi-legendary local celebrities which carry out all life in the cellars as hermits, waiting to themselves for pilgrims. And only port since the earliest childhood - on the way, moreover, it agrees one of versions, on the way from Portugal he also was born in England.

it in the middle of the 17th century when England imposed a ban on import of bordeaux wines from hostile France Occurred. The Portuguese wine makers decided to use this circumstance, having increased export to Britain. That the wine which is insufficiently matured or unripe that was the general defect of the European wines of that time, did not turn sour during transportation across the sea, sometimes added an alcohol quantity to it.

However, also other version tying the port birth to a certain place - to the town of Lamegu - and, certainly, as it is found in the history of wines, to a certain ecclesiastic - the prior of the local monastery is. According to a legend, he in 1678 treated two Liverpool wine merchants with “very pleasant, sweetish and extremely harmonious“ wine which those estimated as the best of everything tried by them in the valley of the river Douro. The secret of the abbot was simple: he added to wine during fermentation cognac alcohol.

And it must be assumed that not only one only abbot from Lamegu owned this secret. However history for some reason informed us of this episode. So we remain nothing else how to imagine two young gentlemen in jack boots, the embroidered camisoles with a frill which in joyful excitement goes down on the infinite ladder flights broken on the hill where there is a monastic monastery.

At all the beauty of Lamegu - not the most characteristic place for the valley of Douro as will be spaced quite far from the river. And meanwhile the valley and the river demand the separate description. At the beginning of the way, in Spain, this river bears the well-known name Duero and flows through three famous wine-making regions - Ribera - del - Duero, Rueda and Thoreau. On average a current, becoming the Portuguese Douro, it finds rather epic scope and slowly slides between cozy green slopes in which stony slate breed vineyards are broken.

the port Birth

the Merchants who visited Lamegu (and as a result the wines which sent from there home big party), were not pioneers in the Portuguese wine market at all. In half-centuries before in local wines the German merchant Kopke with might and main traded, and in the 19th century the English firm which received the name “Uorr“ which makes the ports (Warre`s) under this name to this day also located in the valley of Douro. However in those days the speech about production of port still, certainly, did not go.

did to

In the valley of Douro (and do still) simply good dense red wine of kinds of a grade of a tourist`s yoke. Only gradually, at the beginning of the 18th century, having seen that British especially to taste stronger option of these wines, passed here to technology which author the abbot from Lamegu is considered.

So-called cognac alcohol which it was mentioned before has no relation to cognac - actually it is pure grape vodka, an agvardenta (fire-water), with a strength of 77 degrees. The classical proportion which was defined by local wine makers is as follows: 1 liter to an agvardenta on 4 liters of wine (to an agvardenta it is added in the course of fermentation). Certainly, each wine maker can slightly - vary slightly this proportion for receiving different results.

Other “golden rule“ which developed for several centuries of history of port: grape alcohol should be added while a half of the sugar which is available in grape juice was spent (turned into alcohol). However, and this common truth each good wine maker will creatively embody, depending on that, the wandering juice is how saturated with sugar.

On average the current of Douro, between towns Regua and San - Zhuan - yes - Peshkeyra, in the homeland of port, this drink takes only the very first steps to lives. When fermentation comes to an end, port goes to the first travel 75 kilometers long - to the mouth of the river Douro, to the city of Porto where ripens and matures, preparing for more distant sea cruises.

In former times wines alloyed

down the river in similar to gondolas flat-bottomed one-oar “barkush ribelush“ which in Porto can be seen and today moored to both river banks.

Port outside the valley

of Attempt to make port outside the valley of Douro, on other soil, in other climatic conditions were undertaken by many wine makers. From the pragmatical point of view port is only a certain technology, and it, as well as in a case with champagne, easily it is possible to apply anywhere.

Can even try to use the same grades of grapes though for port it is much more difficult, than for champagne: let`s tell, a tourist`s yoke nasyonal, the grade, main for port, is geographically widespread not as basic grades of champagne - Chardonnay and a pin noir.

began to do to

In South Africa wine in style of the Portuguese original in the 18th century - “Constantius“ (Vin de Constance) of the Cape Province some time even made the successful competition to port in the European market.

A in the Crimea wine under the name “port“ as appeared in a century of XIX, so still and is produced. Very much Nicholas II loved it: during its board production of this drink considerably increased in the Russian Empire. However revolution of 1917 introduced in process of production of our port noticeable amendments as a result of which it cannot be called port in principle any more. The matter is that for reduction in cost of a product at a stage of fermentation began to add not grape, but grain alcohol to wine.

are Classified by ports to the CIS as well as all other wines, namely: a) ordinary port (without endurance in barrels), b) branded (with endurance till three years) and c) collection (after endurance in barrels also the endurance in bottles for up to five years follows). From ordinary ports were most popular in last years “Agdam“ and “777“ - white Azerbaijani fortified wines which in mass volume spread (and were drunk) and in the territory of RSFSR - from Dagestan to St. Petersburg.

the British tradition borrowed from Portuguese

To the middle of the 18th century port became fashionable, and the tone in its production was set by British. It is possible even to tell that this the wine, southern on the origin, as well as his Spanish fellow a sherry, became the British national drink. In many English families it is still accepted to uncork in day of majority of the young man it the coeval - a bottle of the same port of “year of a harvest“. And according to some historical legends, this drink was also the accomplice of victories of the British Empire: say that on the eve of Trafalgar fight the admiral Nelson drew on a table the plan of the forthcoming battle with Napoleonic armada the finger moistened in port. It is thought that as “ink“ port of category “Ruby“, but about it here served a bit later.

to British so capacious storages were necessary for

For convenience of storage and further transportation of wine across the ocean that opposite to Porto, on the opposite river bank, there was the whole suburb - Twisted - Is new - di - Guy. Still fifteen British firms have own wine warehouses, so-called loggias here. The signs with their names invitingly shining in the evenings are visible from the Porto center. They give to this beautiful ancient city a certain hedonistic color. During the informative and intoxicating walk on Twisted - It is new - di - Guy (as at many lodzha there are also tasting rooms) on warehouse walls it is possible to see the water level marks made in days of floods. Happened that barrels with port at such floods sometimes departured from Lodge, and the fishermen trading in the mouth of Douro had an opportunity to become owners of 550 liters of free port - the local traditional wine container contains so much.

Though Portuguese were always engaged in

in process of production of port, trade in wine was completely controlled first by the British merchants. However in 1755 the marquis Pombal, the Portuguese prime minister - the minister who concentrated in the hands nearly the individual power and carried out a set of useful reforms considerably limited the British monopoly. He created the Trade commission and founded Royal Oporto firm - as if now told, the state enterprise for trade in port. And one year the law which predetermined both vagabond destiny, and solid reputation of port was adopted later - Twisted the law under which this wine had to be maintained and spread on bottles only in - Is new - di - Guy.

Thus, doors on the wine market were closed for all who were not able to afford to have own warehouse in the suburb of Porto: the decision is not democratic, but wise as the buyer could not be afraid to acquire production of the unreliable and casual producer. The law is this, it is necessary to tell, held on until recently and changed only in 1986. Now absolutely small wine-making estates (here they are called quinta) from the valley of Douro also can enter the market of port. Among wine experts the whole “fraction“ convinced that port, as well as any other great wine, has to assamblirovatsya and spread on bottles only in the place of the origin was formed. However the majority of newborn ports still follows on warehouses Twisted - Is new - di - Guy in the traditional way. And still all Portuguese wine public subjects to an anathema all that under a name of port is made outside the region of Douro, be it though South Africa though the Crimea.

Gifts of Portugal

Portugal quite often call

“the museum of wine“, in particular, because grapes are still grown up and processed archaic, “antiquated“, by methods here. In some farms of the valley of Douro it is even possible to see the rods which are twisted around trees as in antique times. And capacities in which grapes are pressed legs so-called lagars, keep here not only as sight for display to tourists: wine for some ports and really still “is born“ in them.

To 80 - x years the Portuguese wines seldom entered the world market. And meanwhile the potential of local winemaking is huge, and since the beginning 90 - x years it became obvious to all experts. First of all red dry wines from the valley of Douro, and also from Dao and Bayrad`s areas to the South from it gained recognition. And, while the prices of wines of Douro become above, bayradsky remain much cheaper, at the same time sometimes without conceding to quality at all.

That to white wines, among them first of all it is necessary to call Vinho Verde, that is as it is paradoxical, “green“. They “are indeed green“ as they are made of immature grapes that gives them easy shipuchest and surprising, bright freshness. The best of such wines are made of grapes to an alvarinye in the North of Portugal. By the way, Vinho Verde happen also red, is dark - purple color, but they are so fresh aroma and are drunk, as well as their white fellows, strongly cooled. You should not store these wines long. To estimate their young energy, it is better to uncork a bottle in the next months after purchase.

, by the way, to nobody and will come to

In the Portugal to mind to do port outside a zone of its production. Especially as quality of wine of each producer is watched by the special organization - Institute of wine of the city of Porto. It defines in what years it is possible to make ports of the category “Vintidzh“ and in what wine makers need to concentrate on “Ruby“ (Ruby) and “Tony“ (Tawny).

of “Ruby“ - it is dark - red port with bright perechno - grape taste which is maintained in barrels less than a year. It is the cheapest, so to speak, basic option at which is, however, and the it is refined - the complicated version - Fine old ruby, an assemblage, that is the mix of “ruby“ ports of different years of a harvest sustained in an oak barrel from two to four years.

of “Tony“ ripens in a flank much longer - from 10 to 40 years, being strongly clarified and gaining gentle nut smack. However ideal term for his endurance, according to experts, 20 years. Longer it will become more and more similar to liqueur.

As for “Vintidzha“, it is made by mixing of the ports received in years, different, especially favorable for winemaking. Something it reminds alchemical experiences. So, port on which label the “Vintidzh of twenty-year prescription“ poured in 2006 appears may contain not wines of a harvest of 1986 at all, but on tastes will correspond to port of twenty-year endurance. Essential distinction in the production technology of “Tony“ and “Vintidzha“ consists that the most part life carries out the last not in a flank, and in a bottle. As a rule, it goes to a bottle no later than in two years of endurance in an oak. Therefore the general flavoring bouquet even very “aged“ “Vintidzh“ will be more similar to “Ruby“, than to “Tony“: at endurance in “not breathing“ glass fruit taste of wine is lost in much smaller degree, than in the “breathing“ barrel.

two categories “Vintidzha“ which it is worth mentioning especially Are.“ Vintage port of late flood“ (“Late bottled vintage“) which, judging by the name, has to be “the best of the best“ is actually inexpensive compromise between “Tony“ and “Vintidzhem“. Do it though those years which are favorable for vintage port, but from wine, especially “nimble“, ready to early maturing, which then for six years is locked in a flank. After that being poured on bottles, it is already actually ready to the use though to be taken in glass still to it will not damage a two-three of years.

A here it is valid the best are vintage ports of the one and only year of a harvest which sometimes happen also made of berries from one vineyard (it too, as well as wine-making farms, is called quinta). The price of old vintage ports happens not small - it is a subject collection which can long be stored beyond all bounds, and then be resold even more expensively. Let`s tell, 20 - summer vintage port of good production costs from 40 to 100 euros which it is possible to treat and as to a payment for beautiful life now, and as to capital investment. Years through the 30th cost of this wine will fly up several times! And young, “unpretentious“ “Ruby“ - drink more than democratic, in Europe it can cost also less than 10 euros. At us - 12 - 15.

the Optimum volume of a glass for port - 160 ml. Rounded shape and slightly narrowed edges create absolute harmony of taste and a smell

What “to have a snack“?

Port - sweet wine and, so, as maintenance to a meal is no good. It - in itself the meal, and its most pleasant part, and in this sense were “right“ the numerous citizens of the Soviet Union drinking it without any snack. It is possible - and that only with certain grades - only easy “surroundings“. Red port, especially “Ruby“, we will quite combine with desserts like cakes. - it is desirable to drink more refined without any food better to feel taste. To distinguish all flavoring tone - special work during which and one shot glass - quite sufficient material.

However, the word “shot glass“ is not absolutely pertinent here. For port there is the classical glass, in a form very similar to glasses for red wine, it is only less.

And still one, and the neokike is enough

anny, “snack“ under red port was thought up by British. It turned out that this drink is excellently combined with cheeses with a noble mold. British at the same time use the, quite certain grade of cheese - stilton. However both the Roquefort cheese, and a gorgontsola can quite replace it.

White port is drunk by

strongly cooled at the very beginning of a meal as aperitif.

Wine elite

Port - it not only is tasty, but also it is beautiful. In tasting rooms of wine-making farms (in one of which to me as if the British young man, but at much more mature age, happened to try a vintage of the year of birth) on white marble slabs specially spill all color palette of ports. From faintly - straw (as there is also a white port, it is done of white grapes on the same technology, as “Ruby“) through zolotisto - pale-yellow and it is dark - red colors “Tony“ to rubinovo - and granatovo - red.


Today in production of port still the tone is set by the British ancient firms, such as Taylor`s, Graham`s, Dow`s, Cockburn`s and already mentioned immemorial Warre`s (by the way, and the firm of the German merchant Kopke remained too still though partially and lost independence). However already from the middle of the 18th century the Portuguese firms, such as Ferreira, Fonseca, Calem began to join elite of producers of port. Experts are inclined to do, by the way, distinctions between styles of the British and Portuguese producers. So, it is considered that at British more saturated, dark and fruit turn out “Cut“ also “Vintidzh“, but Portuguese are strong in light and gentle wines, and, first of all, are able to do remarkable sustained by “Tony“. However similar rules never manage without any exception, and “Vintidzhey“ now, for example, does one of the best Champalimaud firm. Its owner Miguel Montes Shampalimo comes from a family of the wine makers known in the valley of Douro since the 13th century. However, it undertook production of port only 20 years ago. By the way, Miguel was a pioneer in new trend - its best-known Quinta do Cotto port is made from the berries picked from one vineyard and spreads on bottles not in Twisted - Is new - di - Guy, and directly in native wine-making economy.

Wine-making farms in the valley of Douro, let and not such “star“, in principle each visitor can visit

. Here now many noble estates are converted in hotels - so-called pousadas. The ancient aristocratic situation, cozy beauty of a landscape with green slopes and the river winding between mountains, the silence broken only by knock of wheels of the electric train passing at the coast from Porto - quite so look native places of one of the most sweet, nice and sincere drinks in the world.