Visiting the Port Wine Institute in Lisbon

When visiting Lisbon, one of the interesting things to do is to sample the various port wines of Portugal in Lisbon’s Port Wine Institute. Located in the Chiado area of the city, it’s up the hill in Lisbon. A few too many samples of this stuff may make the trip down to the lower part of the city a bit too adventurous.

Port wine (Flickr: liljc716)

Port wine is a wine developed in Portugal by the British.  To make the wine, it ferments for only 2 to 3 days, has brandy added, and then is aged in wooden barrels.  How long it ages determines the taste and how sweet the wine is.

There are generally five different types of port wine – ruby, tawny, white, late bottle vintage (LBV), and wintage.  Ruby is aged three years and has a strong grape and pepper taste.  Tawny is aged in smaller wooden barrels and varies from 10 t0 40 years with a light, nellow taste.  White is aged earlier like ruby and is young and robust.  Late Bottle Vintage is aged 4 to 6 years while vintage is from a single harvest and is aged 2 years in wood and then 10 to 30 years in the bottle.

All port wines are medium sweet but they do range from a drier, less sweet to to very sweet.  At the Port Wine Institute, you can choose which ones you want to sample.  You are given a menu of the prices and can choose ones that you want or ask your server for some help.  Port wines are most famous in the Porto area but are known throughout Portugal for their delicious, sweet flavor.  Prices vary by type with the most expensive being the vintage wines.

Tasting wine in Lisbon is just one of the many things to do while you are in Lisbon.  However, sampling the local wine and understanding the culture and history of port wine can give you a great taste of Portugal.

Lisbon Travel Tips

Get more ideas on things to do in Lisbon in our Best of Lisbon post.

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