Useful Info


About Port

Click here to display our Fonseca port selection.

What is Port?

Port is an appellation of origin from Portugal, they are fortified wines made with first-choice grapes grown in the Douro Valley which is located North-East of the country.
During the wine-making process, a strong grape-based alcohol or brandy is added to the must, thus increasing the alcohol content while keeping its sweetness.


In September the grapes, nursed through the blistering summer, are carefully selected and hand-picked, ensuring that all the grapes arrive at the winery in perfect condition.

Port is fortified by adding a pure grape spirit to stop the fermentation before it turns all the sugar of the grape into alcohol. This gives Port its natural sweetness and strength.

Maturing Ports
After the wine has been fortified, it is the maturation that creates the various styles. There are two main methods: bottle ageing and wood ageing.
Then their peerless character develops, gently and slowly over decades, in the bottle.
The alcohol content ranges between 19-21°

It is always better to keep Port wines in a cool and dark cellar with constant temperature and to prevent vibrations. Most Port Vintages can be kept for 20 to 30 years, an ageing-period during which a natural layer of lees is going to be formed. Therefore, in order to make it easier to decant the bottle, it is highly advised to keep it horizontally, with the label on top.


1- Planting vineyards on the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley
2- barefoot grape-crushing
3- Vila Nova de Gaia famous warehouses
4- Boats formerly used for wine transport between the Douro Valley and Vila Nova de Gaia

The different types of Port:

White Ports:
White Ports are either dry or sweet wines. They are generally served as an aperitif with ice and possibly a soda.

Red Ports:
There are different varieties of red Ports :

Rubies and Tawnies are quite light Port wines.

Old Tawnies are a blend of different years and are aged in oak barrels sometimes for more than 40 years, they have a brown or ginger color and taste of walnuts and dried fruit.

Colheita Ports are made with only one vintage (instead of a blend) but are aged at least eight years in oak barrels before being bottled.

LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) Port is also a single vintage Port but is aged for a shorter period of time, usually for four to six years.

However, none of these Port wines can rival with "Vintage" Port. Those single vintage Ports are only produced on exceptional years. They are bottled after 2 years and keep on ageing in bottles. They must be kept in proper cellars for a long period of time since they usually do not reach maturity before 20 years of age.

Red Ports, especially tawnies are perfectly matched with soups, ham or sausage, as well as strong cheese like Stilton, except for vintage Ports which drink best with lighter cheese like Cheddar. Finally, for desert, Port goes better with bitter tastes or dried fruit than with sweet dishes.

Click here to display our Port selection


Quinta Do Noval Port
Browse our Quinta do Noval ports

Extra Dry White Port is subtle, fruity and light. This dry white Port makes a delightful aperitif when served chilled with salted nuts

Noval Fine Ruby is a deep coloured lively, peppery wine, full of fruit. It is bottled after three years in cask. An ideal port for informal drinking

Noval Tawny is a carefully selected and vinified blend of lighter, softer wines than those used for ruby ports. This results in an elegant, delicate wine with an amber hue which is aged in oak for three years

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) is the product of a single harvest. Made 100% from selected grapes trodden by foot, this is a high quality LBV which has been aged in barrel for approximately five years. This rich, concentrated and complex wine is ready to drink now but will also age in bottle

Colheita ports are aged tawnies of a single vintage from the Quinta, matured in cask for at least seven years and bottled on demand. They combine finesse and elegance with creamy nutty characteristics and are the supreme expression of old Tawny ports. Like a vintage port they take on the specific characteristics of the year of harvest. Noval has an extensive range of Colheitas from 1937 to 1987


The aged Tawnies reflect the art of oak ageing ; tawny port develops a rich creamy texture from the wood becoming more intense, golden amber in colour. Over times it takes on complex characteristics of walnuts, driedfruits and spices with a long peppery finish.

10 Year old Tawny Pale tawny colora powerful intense, concentrated wine. Good structure and balance. Characteristic dried fruit and nuts on the nose and palate.

20 Year old Tawny Classic old Tawny colour with golden highlights.This port as an elegant bouquet reminiscent of dried fruit and almonds which gives it its distinctive character. Elegant velvety and concentrated on the palate it as an attractive lingering finish.

40 Year old Tawny Light amber colour. Rich complex nutty bouquet reminiscent of mint and almonds. Full bodied, sweet and rich in taste with an attractive nuttiness and a lingering finish in spite of its age.

Nacional is a rare and collectible wine. No other vintage Port attracts more attention or higher prices. Its collectability can be partly attributed to its tiny production. Only 250 - 300 cases are produced in a declared year

Back to useful info homepage