Vintage - Blended from the wine of the best vineyards in the same year and stored whilst maturing for not less than fifteen years. It must be bottled and racked within two years of harvesting. It is the cream of all ports.
- a lodge may declare a particular year as a “vintage” due to the quality found in their best wine which is then confirmed by the Instituto do Vinho do Porto (who strictly control the port trade). This may be done in a period of 18 months after harvesting the crop. It is then bottled six months later and a minimum maturity period of 15 years is allowed. The longer the length of time that is allowed for the maturing the better the flavour of the port. It has to be noted that all “vintage” ports need to be decanted before they are drunk. A “vintage” years tends to be declared approximately every three to five years.
Single Quinta Port - this port is from a single vineyard and can often be a Vintage Port.
LBV - This is a “Late Bottled Vintage” , single year port that has been matured in wood for not less than four years before being bottled. The label states the year of bottling and its vintage.
Vintage Character Port - Even though the title states vintage character, this port is actually similar to that of a fine Ruby Port and not that of a Vintage.
Crusted Port - This port is a successful blending of wines from different years which have been kept in casks for four years and then for three years in the bottle, prior to being sold. The crust deposit in the bottle is how its name came about but should not be confused with Vintage.
Fine Old Tawny - This is a pale amber in colour and less full-bodied port. It is a blended wine from different years and its label will show its age as an average year of its content. It is bottled and racked for ten, twenty or more years, assuming a smooth silky texture and a mellow nutty flavour.
Vintage-Dated Tawny - These ports are as a fine old tawny port but also considered as a vintage. They can spend twenty to fifty years in a cask.
Tawny - a port that is less sweet in flavour and composed of blending from different aged wines – even a clever mixture of red and white. These Tawny Ports do not improve with aging.
Fine Old Ruby - blended from different years and kept in the cask for about four years before being ready to drink. They have a fruity-spicy flavour and is classified as inferior to Tawny.
Ruby - a fruity port which is deep red in colour. These ports are blended from wines of different years and take no more than one to three years to mature.
White - This is produced from white grapes, aged in casks and a product of several blends. It can be either dry or sweet in flavour, the modern trend being towards the dry or extra dry white Ports. It is normally chilled before serving and acts as an attractive aperitif in the same manner as a Spanish Sherry.