Port, Sauternes & Marsala
Porto is a complex fortified wine to which a certain quantity of brandy is added during production. Portugal is, still today, closely linked to the famous Vinho do Porto. The wine takes its name from the city of Oporto, located near the mouth of the Douro River. From here, in fact, the Port was put on the market. Once loaded onto boats, it was transported along the Douro to the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, where it was matured in a more suitable climate before being exported. The history of this famous fortified wine is strongly linked to that of the English merchants. It all began at the end of the seventeenth century, due to the embargo decided on products destined for England, coming from France. England then turned its attention to Portugal to find cheap wine. Many English merchants landed in the coastal cities of the state starting flourishing commercial relationships, very often influencing their development. Portuguese wine represented the alternative to French wine and many English merchants, who had strong relationships with local winegrowers, even decided to move to Portugal and became Port producers themselves.
Port wine is made from grapes of Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tempranillo, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional. Touriga Nacional has always been the champion, with excellent grape quality, and Touriga Franca is its indelible adventure companion!
Sauternes may be the most expensive dessert wine in the world. This wine affected by noble rot is one of the sweetest, most lush and delicious commercially available wines, but not cheap to produce. Sauternes is an Old World wine, so it takes its name from its area of origin, the Sauternais region of the Graves area in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. The Noble Mold is not easy to develop! In fact, the climate in which Sauternes is produced allows this benevolent mushroom to work its magic more often than not. However, yields vary from year to year. The integration of Muffa Nobile has not always been an accepted winemaking technique. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the use of moldy grapes was accepted, there are 17th-century records detailing this process of the Sémillon grape. The initial practice of consuming moldy grapes was maintained over time and by the end of the 18th century, the reputation of Sauternes had grown internationally. Among the many fans was President George Washington, who ordered thirty bottles of this wine after tasting the renowned Château d'Yquem.
Info on the Sauternes appellation:
The Sauternes region is located twenty-five miles southeast of Bordeaux, near the rivers Garonne and Ciron. Since the rivers have different temperatures, during the hot and dry autumn, they produce a fog which helps in the formation of Noble Mold. During the afternoon, the sun sweeps away the fog, drying the grapes and protecting them from the most harmful fungi.
The municipalities that make up the Sauternes region are: Barsac, Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues and Preignac. While each of these communes can call their wines Sauternes, Barsac can classify their wines under the Barsac appellation. To qualify as a Sauternes, a wine must have an ABV of at least 13% and be sweet during a tasting exam.
The origins of Marsala date back to the 18th century when an English sailor named John Woodhouse decided to land in a Sicilian port where he was the first to taste this extraordinary wine and decided to bring it back to England. Sicily continues to produce Marsala in a unique way since before 1830. In 1833 Mr. Vincenzo Florio, founded the Florio Company and began to produce Marsala introducing the use of high quality barrels and, in particular, introducing the Solera method . Since the 19th century, Marsala has become one of the most famous wines of the region thanks to three different white grapes: Grillo, Ansonica, Carricante. A small production is also dedicated to Marsala Nero thanks to two black berried grapes: Nero d'Avola and Nerello Mascalese. This fortified wine is today a very sophisticated and loved product all over the world.
Let yourself be carried away by Marsala:
Close your eyes and imagine being in a wheat field surrounded by ears during harvest days when the intense scent of freshly cut wheat fills your nose! At the same time you will hear the sound of the waves of the Atlantic sea breaking on the sand and an intense wind, a mineral and saline smell will carry you while the scorching sun dries your skin in a hot summer in Southern Italy. Let yourself be enveloped by these sensations and let your palate discover the soul of this great wine called: Marsala!