Port-style Oregon wines catching on

| October 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

When the weather turns cool, fortified wines such as Port make wonderful fireside sippers.

In the true spirit of international respect, I believe that you shouldn’t use the term “Port” unless it’s from Portugal. Just like I believe you shouldn’t use the word “Champagne” unless your wine was actually bottled in the Champagne region of France.

A few Oregon wineries have been experimenting with Port-style fortified wines with great success.

First, let me describe how Port is made. In Portugal, Port can be made only in the Porto Douro region along the Douro River. It’s made from a wide variety of red as well as white grape varieties. One of those varieties is Tinta Roriz, also known to us as Tempranillo.

Grapes are harvested and pressed, and once the juice has reached the desired level of sweetness during the fermentation process, the fermentation is stopped by the addition of brandy, which kills the yeast.

The wine is then aged in barrels before bottling.

Here in the new world, the method is similar, except our Port-style wines aren’t aged nearly as long as in Portugal. There it can be aged 40 years or more before being sold. No wonder they’re pricey.

Some of the Port-style wines I’ve tasted from Oregon include those made by Willamette Valley Vineyards, Van Duzer Vineyards and Torii Mor, but there are many more wineries producing this type of wine.

Torii Mor’s is made from Syrah and called Syrah Port. Willamette Valley Vineyard’s is made from pinot noir and is called Quinta Reserva Port-style Pinot Noir. Van Duzer makes two: Windfall Port and Perplexity. Abacela in Roseburg also makes a Port-style wine from five traditional Duoro wine grapes grown on their estate.


Category: Wine/Wineries

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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