NV Ferreira Dona Antonia White Porto Reserve, Douro Valley, Portugal

NV Ferreira Dona Antonia White Porto Reserve, Douro Valley, Portugal


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PORTO TONICO!  Experience the ultimate summer thirst quencher!  The national drink of Portugal anytime!   We choose to upgrade our version with a barrel aged white Porto (Reserva Branca) from Ferreira.  Aged in barrel and composed of 30% Malvasia Fina, 20% Códega, 20% Viosinho, 20% Rabigato, 10% Arinto, the final blend has an average age of 7 years.  20% Alcohol.

A typical white Port shows a golden color, aromas of honey and nut, and has low acidity. Even those white Ports labelled as “dry” or “extra dry” will have some residual sugar, and sweetness levels range from off-dry to fully sweet.

Most producers mature their wines in neutral vessels of stainless steel or concrete. Some white Port is aged in wood casks, however, to impart color and complexity. Wood-aged white Port tends to show a darker gold color, more complex aromas and a distinctively nutty character. Most white Port is aged for no more than three years, often closer to 18 months.

Production of white Port is quite similar to that of red Port, with a key distinction being a shorter (or non-existent) maceration period for white Port. In both cases, the alcoholic fermentation is arrested by the introduction of a neutral grape spirit of about 77% alcohol-by-volume. The high alcohol kills off the yeast before it has had time to complete alcoholic fermentation, meaning before all the grape’s sugars are fully converted into alcohol. This process is known as fortification, and results in a fortified wine that is high in both sugar and alcohol. White Port typically has somewhere between 16.5% and 20% abv.

Porto Ferreira Dona Antónia Reserva Branco is made by the traditional Porto Wine method. The grapes were picked slightly over-ripe. After light crushing and destemming, they were macerated in the juice throughout the fermentation period, with the aim of extracting as many of the aromatic compounds from the grape skins as possible. The juice therefore underwent an intensive program of pumping over, which meant that the desired compounds were completely diffused in the juice, while the skins were kept whole. During this phase, fermentation temperatures and densities were rigorously controlled so as to choose the ideal moment to add the spirit required to stop the fermentation, which depends on the grape varieties, ripeness and desired sweetness (“medium” in the reference to the range of White Porto.. The balance of body and aroma was achieved by selecting grape varieties with the right characteristics, and choosing when to stop the fermentation. This determines the final sweetness of the wine. After the harvest, the wine remained in the Douro, and during the winter underwent the first racking, at which time certain adjustments were made. It was transported to Vila Nova de Gaia during the following spring, where it began the traditional ageing process for Porto Wine, in oak casks of 640 litres, in Ferreira style. During this period, the wines are racked, analysed and tasted many times, which enables the winemakers to follow their progress, and begin to think about the blend. The final blend is chosen from selected batches that, when put together, have the taste profile of Porto Ferreira Dona Antónia Reserva Branco. To this end, the wines were aged between 4 and 9 years so as to maintain the same style, with an average age of 7 years. After blending come the final touches before bottling.

Tasting Notes:
Golden yellow in color. It has an intense aroma, with notes of bitter marmalade, a floral quality, exotic wood and dried fruits and nuts, with a light, peppery and curry-like spice. The wood ageing adds nobility, complexity and the required richness.

Simply pour over ice in a high ball, or old fashion glass one part white Porto to one part or more (to your taste!) of quality sparkling tonic water.  Garnish with a slice of citrus (orange, lemon, or lime) and a sprig of fresh cut herb (mint sprig).  I have even had the Porto Tonico garnished with cucumber.


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