Portuguese spirit lives on in Goa’s port wines

Praveena Sharma

SWEET SUMMER WINE

One alcoholic drink closely associated with Goa is the port wine or vinho do Porto or simply ports. It is a fortified sweet wine, whose origins are in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal.

Goa | Sweet wine | Fortified | Duoro Valley | Portugal origin | Photo: Pixabay

FROM HILLSIDE VINEYARDS

These wines, popularised by the English four centuries ago, are rich, sweet and have high alcohol content. Most port-producing vineyards are in north Portugal region, on hillsides flanking the valley of Douro River.  

Goa | Hillside vineyards | Full bodied | Valley of Douro River | Photo: Pixabay

PORTUGAL TO ENGLAND

The story goes that UK merchants from Liverpool discovered ‘ports’ in 17th century. They took shiploads of it to England. British took to it after the Methuen Treaty of 1703 that lowered its import duty to replace French wines with it as England went to war with France.

Goa | From Portugal to England | UK merchants |Methuen Treaty |War with France | Photo: Adrzej - Pixabay

SMOOTH LIBATION

This libation gets its smoothness from grapes grown around Pinhão and São João da Pesqueira regions. It is fortified by adding distilled grape spirit. This process stops fermentation before all sugar is converted to alcohol, keeping alcohol at 19-20 per cent.

Goa |Smooth libation |Pinhão |São João da Pesqueira |Fortified | Photo: Felix Wolf - Pixabay

BOTTLES & BARRELS

Ports come in many styles. Broadly, they can be split into two types – ports matured in sealed glass bottles and those in oak barrels. There are takers of both types.

Goa | Many Styles | Sealed glass bottles | Oak barrels | Aging ports | Photo: Pixabay

GOAN PORT BRANDS

Goa has many port brands. Some popular ones are San Andres, Vinho Fontainhas, Graham's Ruby Port Wine, Pimenta's Port Wine and many others. They’ve been instrumental in promoting wine-drinking culture in India.

Goa | Goan port brands |San Andres | Vinho Fontainhas | Pimenta's |Wine-drinking culture

DESSERT WINE, APERITIF

Due to their sweetness, they are usually served as dessert wines along with cheese, nuts and chocolates. They also make popular aperitif across Europe.   

Goa |Dessert wine| Aperitif | Along with nuts, cheese and chocolates | Photo: Ergin Akyurt - Pixabay

LINGERING PORUGUESE SPIRIT

This sweet elixir of Goa is one of things that defines it. It’s not accurately known when the Portuguese introduced ‘ports’ to Goans, who have made it their own. It keeps the spirit of Portuguese alive in Goa.  

Goa | Introduced to Goa | Sweet elixir | Portuguese spirit |Alive in Goa | Photo: Pixabay

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