Port Grape Varieties
Tinta Roriz is the most prolific wine grape in Portugal. The profile is of mulberry, cherry, jam and blackberry with a spicy nose. The grape delivers high tannins, and therefore supports long aging in cask and bottle, whilst retaining a good structure. Tannins also provide some resilience against oxidation so the ports maintain a good red colour even when older. This is contrary to typical port aging where the wine lightens with age.
Touriga Nacional has the status of being the finest of the port grapes. It produces intense wines with much fruit and complexity. With a profile of raspberry, cassis and mulberry and a nose of violets and rockrose, combined with very high tannin levels, it's perfect for the long life that Vintage Port has.
Touriga Franca is a very rich and powerful grape that requires hot and dry weather during the Summer. Vintages are often declared in the years where this variety has developed and then ripened well. With a profile of red fruits, blackberries and rockrose, and a floral nose, it provides an excellent base for Vintage Port.
Tinta Barroca is a reliable cropper, ripens early and achieves high sugar levels in most years. Wines from this variety are strong but with a smooth, long finish. With high tannins and the associated resilience against oxidation, Tinta Barroca supports long aging.
Tinta Cão is a reliable cropper but of relatively low volume. It provides grace to a wine and supports long aging. It is a less strong wine than others, but brings a sweetness with floral notes to the taste, and pepper and spice to the nose.
Tinta Amarela is a heavy cropper but is tricky to grow due to disease intolerance. However it yields well, and brings pleasant fragrance to the wine with superb acid balance.