2016年9月28日 星期三

Port Wine Tasting in Porto ( 在波多試波持酒)

Our next destination is Porto or Oporto" ("O " meaning "the" ), the second largest town in Portugal, the town whose name some say is one of the possible etymological origins of the name of country as "Portugal" (The Latin-Celtic Portus-Cale" from the Celtic name of "Callaici"  meaning "Port of Cale") and others say the name of Portugal is so called is related to name of port wine, that sweet fruity wine produced by slowing the fermentation of the grape sugar into alcohol with a special kind of brandy.  Some 1.4 million people are said to live in this town..

Our first glimpse of that town from our coach: full of small houses of not more than 6 stories with plenty of church spires

 a second look

A minimalist looking church we passed by

A more conventional looking church façade, more like the kind we see in Hollywood westerns

Another hilltop church with a more modern looking building right beside it and dense vegetation below

Big and smaller pleasure crafts moored at the bank of the River Douro

A modern slim looking bridge.To its left,  we find a bigger river cruiser. It's called the Ponte Infante dom Henrique or Ponte do Infante in honor of Henry the Navigation. It's a railway bridge linking Fontainhas of Oporto (old town) and Serra do Pilar(of the new town Vila Nova de Gaia.) The bridge is the result of a prize-winning design of an architectural competition in 1997. The bridge was inaugurated in 2003.

Behind the new bridge is another one hich looks more 19th century or early 20th century. It's the 172 M metal  Dom Luis I Bridge built between 1881 and 1887. At the time, it was the longest such bridge in the world. For more than a century, it carried road traffic on both decks. From 1908 until 1959, it accommodated electric trams on its upper deck. In 1959, that was replaced by trolley buses which ran until 1993. A decade later it was used exclusively for the Porto light rail system trains which opened for traffic in 2005. There's also a pedestrian walkway on the bridge which offers a great view of the historic centre of the city, the the Port wine caves of Vila Nova de Gaia and the river Douro.

The shadow of that modern bridge on the Douro River

The castle on the hill.

Another view of the historic Dom Luis I Bridge

rows of factories below it

A brightly colored water tour boat for eager tourists

The two decks of the bridge is joined by tall metal towers whose feet also serve to take up part of the weight of the lower deck and to steady the position of the two decks

vehicles passing under the bridge

What's the story behind this name, "calem" which in Portuguese means something like "shut up" or "shush"? It turns out that it's the name of a quality port wine producer. Why did they pick that name? Just to get attention?

A road side cafe in front of the place we were going to visit: Sandeman, a famous producer of port wine.

Our first destination in Porto

cable cars run by Teleferico de Gaia, above the winery, which costs 5 Euros one way.

The tour of Sandeman winery began from its front door on which are marked the level flood water reached by the Douro River. From top to bottom are the flood water levels of  respectively 1909, 1962, 1825, 1966, 1853.

The entrance to the Sandeman Museum

Port wine for wine tasting. 

The entrance

barrels and barrels of port wine for aging.

The whole cellar of port wine, enough to feed a small city. Port wine is in fact a sweet red dessert t wine made from fermented grapes whose fermentation have been interrupted by the addition of a kind of brandy-like alcohol called "aguadente" . Port is a controlled lable, produced in the regulated area in northern Portugal around the steep Douro River hillsides, called "quinta". It comes in  dry, semi-dry, red and white varieties. Such wines are also produced in Australia, France, South Africa, Canada, USA, India and Argentina but they can't be called "port" which is a controlled appellation.according to the EU's  Protected Designation of Origin guidelines..It usually has an alcohol content of 19-20% because although the interruption of the fermentation process leaves the sugar content of the wine much higher, the addition of the" aquadente" increases its alcohol contents.

Not just one row! 

Those in the smaller barrels are left to mellow those in the bigger barrel are left to ferment. Port aged in wooden barrel oxidized much faster than if aged in bottle but it's the aging process in barrels in which they absorbed part of the flavor of the wood which give them that special taste.

Huge casks where the wine is left to ferment. The best port come from what's called the Cima Corgo region, centred on the town of
Pinhão where the temperature is higher and the rainfall less than in the Baixo Corgo region which produces cheaper ruby and tawny ports. The grapes grown in Cima Corgo are used to make Vintage, Reserve, aged Tawny and late bottled Vintage Ports..

water from this fountain helps to keep the humidity right

a more frontal view

People throw coins into the pool for luck. No matter where, ordinary folks are superstitious!

An old barrel

"Garrafeira" on the door originally means a "bottle maker" but now is used to refer to a rare intermediate vintage dated style of port made from the grapes of a single harvest that combines the oxidative maturation of years in wood with further reductive maturation in large glass demijohns. It must have spent between 3 to 6 years in wood, followed by at least 8 years in glass, before bottling but in practice, the times spent in glass are much longer. Some connoisseurs describe Garrafeira as having a slight taste of bacon, although many people don't notice it because during the second phase of maturation, certain oils may precipitate, causing a film to form across the surface of the glass that can be tasted by those who are accustomed to the difference between Garrafeira and other forms of port...

Our guide, who told us that although more than a hundred varieties of grapes are permitted to be use in producing port, most wine producers use Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Francesa. Some use Touriga Nacional to produce the best quality port but that is difficult to grow. The most popular of the five is in fact Touriga Francesa. She said that white ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes like Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho. She said most commercial ports use a blend of different types of grape to produce their own unique brand of port. The color and taste of different kinds of port may differ because of the type of grape used and also because there are different ways to age the wine. Some are aged more in barrels, some more in glass. Those maturing in sealed glass bottles without exposure to air will lose their color more slowly and will taste smoother but those maturing in barrels called tawny ports, will lose their color much faster and evaporate faster giving a wine which has slightly more body. The Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP) divides port into two categories: normal ports like standard rubies, 3 year old tawnies and white ports and Categorias Especiais (special categories) which include everything else. .Aged tawny ports will usually mellow to a golden-brown color and the faster oxidation will give a "nutty" flavor to the wine, which however will be blended in particular ways to create its unique flavor according to the style of the wine producer. Aged tawny ports are usually sweet or medium dry. When a port is described as tawny, without an indication of age, it is a basic blend of wood aged port that has spent time in wooden barrels. Above this are tawny with an indication of age which represent a blend of several vintages. The port characteristic of the years in wood, is stated on the label. The official categories are 10, 20, 30 and over 40 years. The categories indicate a target age profile for the ports, not their actual ages, though many people mistakenly believe that the categories indicate the minimum average ages of the blends. It is also possible to produce an aged white port in this manner, with a number of shippers now marketing aged white ports.

From time to time, the barrels have to be cleaned. 

They can't be cleaned except by using little kids who would have to creep in through that small hole behind the bolt shown in the photo.

The guide explaining how everything works in here

Old fashioned fire extinguisher

a huge water basin

a small warning bell

an old granite bench

I like the lights

The supports for the fermenting barrels are painted white: there's room for lots of air to pass under the barrels.

Lights inside can never be too bright because otherwise too much heat would be given off.

The entrance to the souvenir and gift shop

All kinds of port of all kinds of quality, flavors and prices are sold.
(1) Ruby port:  the cheapest. They are aged in concrete or steel tanks to prevent oxdiation and retain their claret color and is usually blended with other port according to taste and is fined and cold filtered before bottling. Its quality won't improve with further aging.

(2) Reserve or vintage: The Reserve is a premium ruby port approved by the IVDP's tasting panel, the Câmara de Provadores. Starting in 2002, the IVDP prohibited the use of the term "Vintage Character" because the wine had neither a single vintage as it's sually being a blend of several vintages of ruby port nor any typical character of vintage port
(3) Rose port: a very recent category first released in 2008 by Poças and by Croft, part of the Taylor Fladgate Partnership. It is technically a ruby port, but is fermented in a similar manner to a rosé wine, with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus creating the rose colour. 
(4) White port:  It's made from white grapes in many different styles. from dry to very sweet. They are usually served chilled. Sweet white port plus tonic water is quite popular in the Porto region. The sweetest is called "Lagrima", meaning "tears of Christ",  When white ports are matured in wood for long periods, the colour darkens, eventually reaching a point where it can be hard to discern whether the original wine was red or white.
(5) Late bottled vintage (LBV) was originally wine that had been destined for bottling as vintage port, but because of lack of demand was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. Over time it has become two distinct styles of wine, both of them bottled between four and six years after the vintage, but one style is fined and filtered before bottling, while the other is not.The filtered wine is ready to drink without decanting and is usually bottled in a stoppered bottle that can be easily resealed. However, many wine experts feel that this convenience comes at a price and believe that the filtration process takes away the character of the wine.
Unfiltered wines are mostly bottled with conventional driven corks and need to be decanted. After decanting they should be consumed within a few days. Recent bottlings are identified by the label wording "unfiltered" or "bottle matured" or both. Before the 2002 regulations, this style was often marketed as '"traditional", a description that is no longer permitted. Unfiltered LBV can age as long as Vintage Ports and are very difficult to identify as LBVs when inserted into blind tastings of Vintage Ports. Filtered LBV ports from a single year's harvest tend to be lighter bodied than a vintage port but may improve slightly with age whereas the unfiltered wines will usually be improved by extra years in the bottle. Since 2002, bottles that carry the words "bottle matured" must have enjoyed at least three years of bottle maturation before release.
(6) Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past. Unlike vintage port, which has to be sourced from grapes from a single vintage, crusted port affords the port blender the opportunity to make best use of the varying characteristics of different vintages.Crusted port is bottled unfiltered, and is sealed with a driven cork. Like Vintage port it needs to be decanted before drinking. Though it may improve with age, the blender often seeks to make these wines approachable at a younger age than for Vintage ports. The date on a crusted port bottle refers to the bottling date, not the year the grapes were grown.While crusted port is required to be aged in bottle for at least three years before it is released to the market, most producers keep the bottles for considerably longer, so they are ready to be drunk when sold, and may be enjoyed by consumers who have no space to cellar bottles. This makes crusted port a popular and affordable alternative to vintage port.
(7) Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a Declared Vintage year and accounts for about two percent of overall port production. Not every year is declared a Vintage year in the Douro. The decision on whether to declare a Vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. The decision to declare a Vintage is made by each individual port house, often referred to as a "Shipper".Vintage port actually makes up only a small percentage of the production of most shippers. Vintage ports may be aged in barrels or stainless steel for a maximum of two and a half years before bottling, and generally require another ten to forty years of aging in the bottle before reaching what is considered a proper drinking age. Since they are potentially aged in cask for only a short time, they retain their dark ruby color and fresh fruit flavors. Particularly fine Vintage ports can continue to gain complexity and drink wonderfully for many decades after they were bottled. It is not uncommon for 19th century bottles to still be in perfect condition for consumption. The oldest known Vintage Port still available from a Shipper is the 1815 Ferreira which is still in excellent drinking condition.

Looking back at the cave

explanatory booklets

figs and handmade soaps for sale too

well lit show case shelf

wine serving waitresses

wine glass containing left overs. I wonder what they'd do with them?