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 January 2012



Vinexpo 2013 Press ReleaseJim Reader (C da Silva) & Paul Raven (PortoVino)


Region / Country




DALVA White Port Douro, Portugal PortoVino £15.99 Amber colour with an oxidative style to the aroma, a little menthol & herbs. Sweet attack, a nutty mid-palate with a just-burnt finish and a touch of warming heat. Not overly complex and a touch "frivolous".
DALVA Rosé Port Douro, Portugal PortoVino £15.99 Deep salmon pink colour with a herbal nose and a suggestion of sourness. Very sweet attack, a strong berry-fruit mid-palate with a bitter herb undercurrent and a touch of astringency. Interesting drink but also "frivolous".
DALVA White Port Dry 10 yrs Douro, Portugal PortoVino £28.99 A similar colour to the standard white but a Sherry-like nose - strong oxidative style, sharp and a little salty. A dry attack with little overt sweetness, a rich texture moving into a waxy and long finish. One bottle corked.
DALVA 2005 LBV Port Douro, Portugal PortoVino £18.99 Dark with a delicate nose, understated with some tar. Smooth flavours in the mouth, well rounded with subtle tannins, fresh and light for 20% alcohol. One bottle corked.
DALVA Tawny Port Reserve Douro, Portugal PortoVino £17.55 Tawny but with a ruby edge to the rim, subtle herb and tar on the nose. In the mouth gently sweet at first, flattening out in the mid-palate and then a resurgent and very long finish dominated with hazelnuts.
DALVA 1985 Colheita Port Douro, Portugal C da Silva £38.00 Delicate caramel colour and a strong, dry, spicy nose. A spicy attack with a clean, almost medicinal taste - fairly dry. Smooth, with nutty/salty aspects.
DALVA Tawny Port 30yrs Douro, Portugal C da Silva £63.00
Deep caramel colour with a strong nutty/salty nose with a slight acrid smoke aspect. Sharp, contrasting flavours, bouncing off each other - good acidity and more noticeable alcohol on the finish.
DALVA 2000 Vintage Port Douro, Portugal C da Silva £62.00 Stewed blackcurrant/bramble nose, a little herbaceous with some rhubarb. A spicy attack with a strong, fruity mid-palate and a long finish. Quite smooth tannins for what is a young wine, remarkably drinkable right now.
Dows 1963 Vintage Port Douro, Portugal n/k £147.00 Still plenty of colour showing with a violet and menthol nose. This has a velvet texture and extremely subtle, almost fragile flavours. Nectar, and no heat throughout.

Port wine or Vinho do Porto is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. The wine produced is fortified by the addition of a neutral distilled grape spirit known as aguardente (sometimes referred to as brandy but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies) in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar and boosting the alcohol content, resulting in a wine that is usually 18 to 20% alcohol and richer, sweeter and heavier than unfortified wines. The wine is then stored and aged, often in barrels stored in a cave (pronounced kahv and meaning "cellar" in Portuguese) as is the case in Vila Nova de Gaia, before being bottled.
The wine received its name, "port", in the later half of the 17th century from the seaport city of Oporto at the mouth of the Douro River, where much of the product was brought to market or for export to other countries in Europe.

Port comes in several styles, which can be divided into two broad categories:
- Wines that have matured in sealed glass bottles, with no exposure to air, and experience what is known as "reductive" aging. This process leads to the wine losing its colour very slowly and produces a wine which is smoother on the palate and less tannic.
- Wines that have matured in wooden barrels, whose permeability allows a small amount of exposure to oxygen, and experience what is known as "oxidative" aging. They too lose colour, but at a faster pace. They also lose volume to evaporation (angel's share), leaving behind a wine that is slightly more viscous.
The IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto) further divides port into two categories: normal ports (standard rubies, tawnies and white ports) and Categorias Especiais, special categories, which include everything else.

Over a hundred varieties of grapes (castas) are sanctioned for port production, although only five (Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional) are widely cultivated and used. Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes— Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.

Oporto has been of great historical importance to the European wine trade since the Anglo-Franco trade wars of the 17th century. During that time the London market developed a taste for the dark, 'blackstrap' wines that were shipped out of the city. In the early days, Port wines were dry and astringent, having had brandy added to the finished wine to stabilize it before it was shipped to London. The modern style of Port can be traced back to 1678, when the Abbot of Lamego was adding brandy to the wine before it had finished fermenting. By arresting fermentation the natural sweetness of the ultra-ripe Port-grape varieties was retained, creating a fortified wine capable of improving with age. Over the next 50 years, the style became so popular that demand for Port spawned various imitations and shortcuts, including using elderberry juice to add depth of coluor and flavour. Such practices were eventually outlawed by the creation of regional boundaries and rules in 1756, with the Douro valley the world's first defined and protected wine region (Chianti (1716) and Tokaj (1730) have older demarcation but no associated regulations at that time).


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