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DECK Number 3

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[h] DipWSET D5 SET 3 Porto

[i] DipWSET D5 – Fortified WInes Flashcards

SET 3 Porto Wines


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[q] What is the meaning of the term ‘Shippers’ in relation to Port production?

[a] Historically, ‘Shippers’ were only agents who took a commission for shipping Port abroad

BUT, ‘Shippers’ (most of the time English companies) started to become Port producers and quickly dominated the industry. The Quality dropped and the demand plummeted

[q] What solution did the Marquis of Pombal bring to the industry?

[a] He created the ‘Real Companhia Velha’

This entity had the monopoly to fix the prices of Port, to export Port abroad and had the exclusive rights on providing the spirit used to fortify the Port wines

Then, Sales rose again

[q] What happened when Portugal entered the European Union?

[a] The Port region was able to source and buy spirit on the EU open market which improved the quality of the spirit used in Port production (better alternatives to local spirit production)

[q] What happened in 1990 to Casa do Douro (central house which controlled the sourcing of spirit for Port production)?

[a] It bought a 40% stake in the company ‘Royal oPorto’ and it went bankrupt

[q] What entity was created in 2003 to help with this situation?

[a] The IVDP was created to supervise Port and Douro wines. It also highlights the importance of Douro Dry Wines (dry unfortified wines produced locally)

[q] How did Port production come to begin in history?

[a] 17th century trade war between England and France meaning England had to buy more from Portugal. Big red wines were popular, they started adding Brandy so they got to England in good condition.
Fortification during fermentation became popular when some Brits visited and tasted sweet wines that were better quality

[q] What are three examples of famous old Port shippers establish at the beginning of the Port trade?


[q] What was the traditional role of shippers and how has it changed?

[a] Traditionally shippers were essentially agents who took a commission for shipping Port abroad after buying it from brokers in the Douro.
They have since mostly become producers as well

[q] What was the treaty that ensured lower prices for Portuguese wines in England? When was it signed?

[a] Methuen Treaty 1703

[q] Describe the slump and recovery of Port quality in the 18th Century

[a] Poor quality products became prevalent leading to lower demand and therefore over supply and slumping prices.
The Real Companhia Velha introduced by the prime minister was able to fix pricing and control the spirit used for fortification. Quality increased, and prices followed

[q] Describe the decline of the 19th century

[a] The country suffered through the Peninsula Wars and then a civil war. Followed by mildew and the phylloxera

[q] What are the two governing bodies that began at the beginning of the 20th century and what did they do?


  1. Casa do Douro (1932) – supervised growers
  2. Instituto do Vinho do Porto (1933) – administered and supervised the industry (mostly production)
    – They both graded vineyard parcels from A to I based on suitability
    – They controlled the aguardente that was used

[q] What did the World Bank Scheme of the 1980s do for Port growers?

[a] Offered low interest loans for people wanting to replant the five prescribed varieties on A or B land. Led to new developments in terraces eg. more plantings on patamares

[q] How did makers come to be able to source their own aguardente?
What effect did this have?


Portugal entering the EU in 1986.

Increased quality overall

[q] What is the current governing body that replaced the Casa do Douro and Instituto do Vinho do Porto?


Instituto dos Vinhos do Porto e do Douro (IVDP)


In DOC Douro, what is the:

  1. Total appellation area
  2. Total area under vine
  3. Total vineyard area registered for Port production

[a] J

In DOC Douro, what is the:

  1. Total appellation area
  2. Total area under vine
  3. Total vineyard area registered for Port production

[q] What is the climate in the Douro?

[a] Warm, continental.
Hot summers and cold winters.
Very far from the coast on the west, and protected by the Serra do Marao on the same side

[q] What are the three sub-regions of DOC Douro?


West to East:

  1. Baixo Corgo
  2. Cima Corgo
  3. Douro Superior

[q] Describe the characteristics of the Baixo Corgo (3)


  1. Furthest West
  2. Coolest and wettest
  3. Produces fruit for many inexpensive Ruby and Tawny Ports

[q] Describe the characteristics of the Cima Corgo (3)


  1. Warmer and drier than the Baixo Corgo
  2. Where most of the big names have vineyards
  3. Produces fruit for high quality aged-indicated Tawnys and vintage ports

[q] Describe the characteristics of the Douro Superior (3)


  1. Significantly hotter and drier than the other sub-regions
  2. Sparsely planted
  3. Somewhat flatter, allowing for mechanisation

[q] What environmental factors will contribute to variances within the sub-regions of the Douro?


  1. Altitude
  2. Aspect
  3. Proximity to the river

[q] Describe the typical soil profile of the Douro valley

[a] Stony, shallow top soil. Poor in nutrients and free-draining. Underlying schist rock, split in vertical layers. Roots can grow deep more easily to find water

[q] How is water stress managed?

[a] Irrigation is allowed under exceptional circumstances.
The schist allows the vines to grow deep roots, as opposed to the granite bedrock that surrounds the regions.
Drought resistant, varieties (Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao)
Drought resistant rootstocks (rupestris/berlandieri hybrids)

[q] What are the three vineyard layouts present in the Douro?


  1. Socalcos
  2. Patamares
  3. Vinha ao Alto

[q] What are Socalcos?


A traditional method of vineyard layout. Narrow terraces, supported by a retaining wall of dry rock.

  • Not suitable for mechanisation
  • UNESCO heritage protected
  • 6000 vines per hectare density, can be reduced to allow room for a small tractor

[q] What are Patamares?


More modern terraces that are supported by a steep earth ramp rather than a retaining wall.
– Accessible by small tractor from diagonal tracks on the slope
– Cheaper to implement and maintain
– Erosion and weed growth
– Lower density than socalcos
(3000-3500 vines per hectare)

[q] What are the two kinds of Patamares? Describe them


  1. Large, wide patamares which were the original form. Two rows of vines on each terrace meaning higher yield, but led to uneven ripening.
  2. Narrow patamares. More modern version with one row of vines, which are often tilted toward the slope and to the middle of the row to help water retention and reduce erosion. More even ripening

[q] What is Vinha ao Alto?

[a] A vineyard layout option where vines are planted in vertical rows up the slopes. Relatively limited use.
– Least expensive
– higher density than patamares 5000 vines per hectare)
– Cannot be mechanised if slope is above 40% incline.
– Water run-off and erosion

[q] What is the most common training, pruning and trellising method in the Douro?

[a] Either cordon-trained and spur pruned, or head-trained and cane-pruned.
Trellising is generally VSP for even sun exposure and mechanisation where possible


What is the maximum yield permitted for Port production?

What is it usually?


55 hL/ha

More likely to be around 30hL/ha

[q] What viticultural hazards pose threats to vineyards in the Douro? (3)


  1. Late spring frosts, particularly at high altitude
  2. Sometimes, cool wet weather from the west in early summer – disrupting flowering/fruit set
  3. Downy mildew and botrytis bunch rot (particulalry in Baixo Corgo)

[q] Fertilisers, herbicides and fungicides are commonly used. What other non-chemical techniques are used to improve vineyard health?


  1. Cover crops on Vinha ao Alto vineyards.

2. Mowers where there is space

[q] Describe the harvest in the Douro


  1. Typically by hand.
  2. Starts in the Douro Superior, moves westward, ending in the Baixo corgo.
  3. Can span several weeks to account for different altitudes/aspects/varieties

[q] What are the five prescribed varieties that have been the focus of replanting in the Douro?
What are the two other important black varieties?


  • Touriga Nacional
  • Touriga Franca
  • Tinta Roriz
  • Tinta Barroca
  • Tinto Cao
  • Tinta Amarela
  • Sousao

[q] What are the key characteristics of Touriga Nacional? (7)


  1. Mid-ripening
  2. Thick skins, deep colour, high tannin
  3. High acid retention
  4. Black fruit and floral character.
  5. Long ageing potential
  6. Excessive vigour
  7. Susceptible to coulure

[q] What are the key characteristics of Touriga Franca? (5)


  1. Late-ripening
  2. Tight bunches, thick skins
  3. Red and black fruit flavours
  4. Vigourous, needs to be summer pruned.
  5. The most planted variety

[q] What are the key characteristics of Tinta Roriz? (4)


  1. Synonym for Tempranillo and Aragonez
  2. Early-ripening
  3. Brings body and colour to the blend
  4. High yielding, needs to be controlled

[q] What are the key charcteristics of Tinta Barroca? (4)


  1. Early-ripening
  2. Needs to be planted in cooler sites (otherwise heat damage and shrivel are problems)
  3. Lends more earthy flavours to the blend.
  4. Lower in colour and acidity than other port varieties

[q] What are the key characteristics of Tinto Cao? (4)


  1. Low-yielding
  2. Small, thick skinned grapes.
  3. Late-ripening, heat tolerant
  4. High acid and concentration

[q] What are the two white port varieties, and what are their key charcteristics?


  1. Malvasia Fina (boal in Madeira) Neutral, medium acidity, full bodied, slightly honeyed character.
  2. Moscatel Galego Branco – (Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains). Highly aromatic, often used for un-aged styles

[q] What is the usual range of residual sugar for port wines?s

[a] 80-120g/L

[q] How long is fermentation?

[a] Usually only a couple of days, so extraction needs to be efficient

[q] What are the five methods for extraction during fermentation?


  1. Foot-treading in lagares
  2. Modern, mechanical lagares
  3. Pumping over
  4. stainless steel pistons
  5. Autovinifiers

[q] What is a lagar? Describe foot treading in lagares

[a] Lagar is singular for lagares, and is a wide, shallow square tank that allows for a large surface area between must and grape skins. Foot treading is effective, and won’t crush seeds. It is still used for some premium and super-premium wines

[q] What are the pros and cons to a mechanical lagares?

[a] Pros:
– Reduce the need for a large, expensive labour force each year.
– Large initial investment cost

[q] How does an autovinifier work?


It is a sealed concrete of stainless tank, where the increase of CO2 allows juice to be pushed up into a holding tank and then sprayed over the cap when the pressure is released via a valve.

  • doesn’t require electricity so quite cheap
  • cannot extract prior to fermentation, so not as effective.
  • produces lighter wines suitable for basic tawny, white and ruby port

[q] Why is stainless steel the most common choice for fermentation and maceration in more modern wineries? (2)


  1. Easy to clean

2. Can be temperature controlled eg. cooled to lengthen ferment and extraction time

[q] What are the fermentation temperatures for red and white port wines?


Red – 28-32 C

White – 17-22 C

[q] Why is ambient yeast commonly used?

[a] Because these are sufficient to start the ferment and fermenting to dryness is not a concern for Port production

[q] What are the legislative requirements for fortifying spirit? (2)


  1. Must come from grapes or grape derived products

2. Must be 77% (+/-0.5%) ABV

[q] What is the range of final ABV for all Port wines?

[a] 17-22%

[q] What is fortifying spirit commonly known as in Port?

[a] Aguardente

[q] What is significant about using lower ABV fortifying spirit?


  1. The spirit is less neutral, and therefore imparts more of it’s own flavour on the final wine
  2. You need to use more to fortify to a similar level, so it’s effects on the final wine are more prevalent

[q] How does the choice of aguardente affect the final wine? (3)


  1. Price – the higher quality spirit the more expensive hte final wine
  2. Flavour – Some will be quite neutral, some will have more fruity esters.
  3. Quality – better quality spirit means better quality wine

[q] At what ABV is the fermentation stopped? How is this decision made?


Generally 5-7%

It will depend on how much sweetness the producer desires for the final wine

[q] What happens to the press wine?

[a] It can be blended back after fortification to add tannin and colour, necessary for long ageing wines

[q] When are Port grapes generally picked?
What is the downside to this picking time?

[a] When flavours and tannins are ripe.
High potential alcohol is not a problem, and ripeness is necessary for ageing, and character at low alcohol.
Downside is acid can be low, and pH high, meaning acidification is common

[q] Does Port wine go through malolactic conversion? Why?



Lactic acid cannot withstand high levels of alcohol

[q] When is Port wine shipped from the Douro to Villa Nova de Gaia?

[a] After the first winter, and after racking

[q] How is blending used in Port wines?


  1. Different vineyard parcels
  2. Different varieties
  3. Different vintages (depending on style)
  4. Different ferments at different sugar levels to adjust sweetness

[q] What are two important goals for blending Port??


  1. Consistency.
    Either across vintage, or to a house style.
  2. True to desired style – more colour and concentration for vintage, more youthful flavours for ruby

[q] Why is Port wine traditionally matured in Villa Nova de Gaia?

[a] The climate is better suited than the Douro, Atlantic influences keep temperatures cooler and relatively stable


What maturation vessel would a Port producer choose to:

  1. Limit oxidation and keep the wine fresh
  2. Achieve gentle oxidation (most common)


What maturation vessel would a Port producer choose to:

  1. Limit oxidation and keep the wine fresh
  2. Achieve gentle oxidation (most common)


What maturation vessel would a Port producer choose to:

  1. Limit oxidation and keep the wine fresh
  2. Achieve gentle oxidation (most common)


  1. Balseiros. 100,000L barrel
  2. Pipe. 600L barrel
    Both with older oak

[q] How might a grower make adjustments to their vineyard management in order to affect different parcels destined for different styles of Port?

[a] Canopy management techniques and picking date will effect ripeness, and therefore can be used to favour particular parcels

[q] There are 12 possible styles of Port. What are they?


  • Basic Ruby
  • Basic Tawny
  • Reserve Ruby
  • Reserve Tawny
  • Tawny with indication of age
  • Colheita
  • Vintage
  • Single Quinta
  • Crusted
  • Late Bottled Vintage
  • Rose
  • White

[q] What winemaking techniques are often used in Ruby Port production? Why?

[a] Protective – stainless steel/concrete ageing, short ageing period (usually about 3 years).
Keep fresh fruit flavours

[q] How does a basic Tawny gain its colour? (2)

[a] Lighter extraction during fermentation making the colour paler, and older-looking.
It may be drained early to limit further colour extraction

[q] How long must a Reserve Tawny be aged?

[a] Minimum 6 years in oak

[q] How is a Reserve Ruby classified?

[a] Tasted and approved by the IVDP

[q] Why don’t Tawny ports with indication of age need to be filtered before bottling?

[a] Because the stabilisation and clarification happen naturally over the long time in barrel

[q] What are the age statements possibly for Tawny with an indication of age?

[a] 10, 20, 30 or 40 years

[q] What is required for a Tawny to have an indication of age?

[a] They must be determined to exhibit the characters of a wine of that age by IVDP tasting panel.
They may actually contain a blend of wines from multiple vintages both younger and older than the age statement

[q] What are the two reasons that aged indicated Tawny is relatively expensive to make?


  1. The barrels need racking and topping up over a long time period, which requires expensive labour.
  2. They have increased in popularity in recent years, and dwindling stocks have increased prices

[q] What is the new sub-category to emerge within the age indicated Tawny category?
Give an example

[a] Very old (non-age indicated) aged Tawny.
Taylor’s Scion or Graham’s Ne Oublie

[q] What is a Coheita?
What is the ageing requirement?
What is the labelling requirement?

[a] A Tawny Port made with grapes from one vintage.
Seven years in barrel.
Vintage and bottling year

[q] How does a Port house go about declaring a vintage?

[a] They must register their intention to declare a vintage in the second year after harvest. The young wine must be tasted and approved by the IVDP

[q] Give two examples of vintages where the vast majority of Port houses declared

[a] 2011 and 2016

[q] What are the two reasons a house may choose to declare a vintage?


  1. The fruit and young wine are of exceptional quality.
  2. Market conditions – for example consecutive declared vintages could compete with one another. Too many declared vintages will diminish overall value, too few will leave a house with a quality vacuum


What fruit is generally chosen for Vintage Ports?

Which varieties and why?

[a] High quality plots, often from old vine material.
Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional because they have the colour, tannin and concentration required for producing wines for long ageing

[q] What is the maximum ageing requirement before bottling a Vintage Port?
What is timeframe is typical?
What vessel is typically used?


Three years in large, old barrels

18-20 months is more typical (second spring after harvest)

[q] How are Vintage Ports finished before bottling? What is the effect of this?

[a] Unfined and unfiltered, leaving a heavy deposit

[q] What is a Single Quinta? When is it made?

[a] A wine from one vintage, made from the grapes of one house. Usually made when a vintage is not declared

[q] What is a Crusted Port?

[a] A non-vintage Port that has been aged up to two years in barrel and bottled with fining or filtration. Similar in style to a Vintage Port

[q] What is an LBV Port?

[a] Late Bottled Vintage. Port from a single vintage, bottled between four and six years after harvest. Bottled ready to drink

[q] What is the typical maturation method for an LBV?

[a] Large format, stainless or old oak to avoid excessive oxidation

[q] What are the finishing options for LBVs?


Filtered – most common, no deposit, released ready to drink

Unfiltered – less common, fuller bodied, can benefit from bottle ageing

[q] When was rose Port created?

[a] Mid 2000s, by Croft

[q] What fruit is generally used for rose Port?

[a] Black varieties, from cooler areas (high altitude or Baixo Corgo)

[q] What three winemaking choices are critical for the production of rose Port?


  1. Very short maceration, and clarification
  2. Cool ferment
  3. Very neutral aguardente

[q] When are white Port grapes harvested? Why?


  1. Usually at the same time as black grapes as they are typically scattered amongst black varieties.
  2. Earlier, if planted separately

[q] What style of Port is Muscatel generally used for?

[a] Unoxidised, aromatic and fruity white Ports that are made to be drunk young and early

[q] For what style of Port is Malvasia generally a large part of the blend?

[a] For what style of Port is Malvasia generally a large part of the blend?

[q] What are the labelling options for white Port?

[a] Same as Tawny – Basic, Reserve, indication of age and Colheita. Same parameters apply

[q] Describe the land ownership in the Douro

[a] Fragmented. Approx 21,000 owners, 43% owning less than half a hectare. Most sell to a shipper or co-op. Co-ops account for about 20%

[q] How many producers of Port are there?

[a] Only 30-35 producing ‘significant volume’


Who are the five biggest Port companies?

How much volume of Port production is accounted for by these companies?


  1. Porto Cruz
  2. Symington Family Estates (Cockburn’s, Grahams, Warre’s)
  3. Sogrape
  4. Fladgate (Taylor’s, Croft)
  5. Sogevinus
    Combined over 80% of all Port production

[q] What are the main responsibilities of the the IVDP? (5)


  1. Regulates the amount of Port that can be produced i any one year (the Beneficio)
  2. Hold a register of vineyards, and shipping/production companies
  3. Controls the amount of Port that is released to market
  4. Tastes and analyses different styles to ensure they meet qualifications
  5. Is responsible for promotion and marketing

[q] What is the maximum amount of Port a shipper can release to market each year?

[a] 1/3 of their total stocks

[q] What is the Beneficio?

[a] A regulatory system that dictates how much Port must can be produced in a year, according to the rating of the parcel of vines the must came from. The higher the quality rating the more must is allowed

[q] What factors are considered in Beneficio parcel ratings?

[a] Location, altitude, aspect, soil and grape varieties planted

[q] What is the lowest rating allowed for Port wine?

[a] F. Below that can be made into table wine or distilled into spirits

[q] Who determines the maximum amount of must in the Beneficio each year? What factors are taken into account?

[a] Collaborative effort between the growers, producers and the IVDP.
Market demand and the current stocks in the market are taken into account

[q] What is the major flaw in the Beneficio?

[a] Growers are allowed to trade their cards and grapes, which is easily taken advantage of in order to sell poor quality grapes with a high rated card, or to replace poor quality Beneficio grapes with un-classified but high quality ones

[q] What is the current criticism regarding the usefulness of the Beneficio?

[a] As demand for Port has declined, production has been limited but grape growing has increased. Fixed prices of Port grapes are no longer reflective of the capacity to sell Port to market. Essentially, it’s over regulating an industry that desperately needs to evolve

[q] Describe Port sales trends over the last fifty years


Steady growth up until 2000, declining ever since. Mirroring other fortified industries by increasing sales in premium products. Special categories making up 23% volume but 45% value

[q] Who is the largest market for Port consumption?

[a] Export (80%). Led by France

[q] What are the emerging markets for Port (opportunities)?

[a] Diversification of product – still, unfortified.
Rose and white Port for younger drinkers, cocktails. (Lower alcohol than spirits)
On-premise super premium Port

[x] GOOD JOB!! [restart]


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