1977 Delaforce Vintage Port wine
Port is part of the diverse and fascinating family of fortified wines, all of which are made by adding a small amount of grape spirit, or ‘brandy’, to the wine at some stage in the wine making process. The fortification of port is carried out as follows. Once the grapes have been crushed, the fermentation starts to convert the natural sugar of the grape juice into alcohol. At this time, the grape skins must be constantly submerged in the fermenting wine so that they release the natural substances which give the wine its structure, colour and flavour. For Delaforce’ s most prestigious wines this is done by foot treading, an expensive but very effective method. Other wines are made in specially designed fermentation tanks. When about half of the natural sugar of the grape juice has been fermented, a small amount of clean and neutral grape spirit is added to the wine. This fortification, as it is known, stops the fermentation and preserves some of the natural sweetness of the grape in the finished wine. The wine is then left to settle in large vats until early the following year when it is taken down to the coast to age in the cool and tranquil wine cellars, known as ‘lodges’, in Vila Nova de Gaia.