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Single Varietal Ports

March 19, 2012
Question by: Fredrik, Göteborg, SE

Q:

Have there ever been attempts at creating grape-specific ports such as a single quinta Touriga Nacional for instance? I imagine it could be interesting for port enthusiasts to compare two single-grape ports from the same vintage.

A:

Hi Fredrik, At the time of harvest most Port grapes are vinified in single-varietal "lots" which are aged and then blended over the months and years as needed to create finished wines, whether Vintage Port, tawnies, or other styles.  Whilst many producers do retain samples either in cask or bottle of single varietal wines for reference, we are not aware of any producer offering single varietal wines commercially. 

In Port, the blend is definitely far greater than the mere sum of its parts.  Each traditional variety has its own unique character and qualities.  By blending varietal lots we are are able to create balanced Ports with longevity (Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão), deep colour (Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca), a balance of acidity (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela) and tannins (Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca) and a range of complex flavours (each variety has a distinct typical flavour profile).   If you are interested to read more, you might consult several articles under the Port Basics menu tab above, particularly Miles Edlmann's article which discusses the Principal Grape Varieties from the viticultural angle, as well as our article about Blending Port.



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