Port Blend Recommendations

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hawkwing

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What would be a good blend for port wines? Would it make a difference if I was making a ruby port vs getting a barrel and making a tawny? I might do both. I imagine there is a lot of right answers but I have no idea what might be a bad blend so hopefully someone has some experience with these.

Turns out I can get more varieties than last year. Probably the most relevant I can get Touriga Nacional (Apparently similar to Cabernet Sauvignon), Tempranillo (Tinta Roriz), Cabernet Franc (Maybe similar to Touriga Francesa???). So I can get two of the varieties used in port and maybe a close substitute third. I can get the common grapes too so they could be used. So by all means make suggestions.

I can get Valdepena it's a form of Tempranillo so not sure what's different besides it's cheaper.

The following is a quote from Wine Spectator Dow's Vintage Port 2011, "Together, the two quintas provide more than three-quarters of the blend: Touriga Franca (40 percent) provides silky fruit flavors, Touriga Nacional (36 percent) offers power and structure, and Sousão (10 percent) gives deep color. The remainder comes from old-vine mixed plantings."

I'd be fortifying with 95% Everclear since I lack the proper high proof white brandy. TheSousão may not matter for color if I'm not diluting as much due to the higher ABV fortifying agent.

Would aging in a new oak barrel for 10 years be too much oak? I could cycle through a few batches of wine for a few months before settling on the long term aging.
 

ibglowin

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Anything INKY DARK in color works just fine. Syrah, Petit Sirah, even a high brix Zin will work just fine. The higher the brix the better. You should be able to get close to 17%ABV using the right yeast making any fortification minimal. I don't personally believe in using grain spirits in any grape wine but its your wine. No need to age for more than a year in a barrel after that transfer back to glass or bottle and age for another year minimum.
 

Ohio Bob

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This is all a matter of taste. In my opinion, ports have a taste that’s more than just wine bumped up to 20% ABV. I’ve made ports typically when I get a half gallon of leftover wine, throw in a few pieces of chocolate, bump the ABV with Everclear 190. I’ve tried Zin, Cab, Barolo, Syrah. Also made 3 gallon batches of blackberry. All are very good in my mind. There is no wrong answer.

Except 10 year aging before bottling. I think that’s a lot of time to elapse before you know if you’ve made anything good. Life’s too short to not taste what you’ve made.
 

hawkwing

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Ha ha ya that’s why I want to make both a ruby for early drinking and a tawny for ten years down the road.

Since I’m using fresh grapes I was hopeful to make without adding sugar so I wanted to be more traditional and stop the fermentation with alcohol. Although I admit the type of alcohol isn’t ideal.
 

winemaker81

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It all depends on what you're trying to make. Unless you can use the same grapes and reproduce the production conditions, you're not going to make a Port.

Nope, I'm not being negative -- I'm setting expectations.

Last December I took wine that was barrel aged for a year, bumped to 20% ABV with EverClear 151 (can't get 190 locally), and back sweetened. The intent was to produce something similar to vintage Port.

I failed. It didn't work. The result resembles Ruby Port.

Everyone who tasted it, loves it. So did I fail or did I succeed? It all depends on your POV.

I did not achieve my goal, but I had a positive result. It's not what I intended, but I like it. I will repeat this.
 

hawkwing

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I may not be able to make exactly what they do for port but I hope to get close. I should be able to make a tawny just with the long term barrel aging.
 

distancerunner

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It all depends on what you're trying to make. Unless you can use the same grapes and reproduce the production conditions, you're not going to make a Port.

Nope, I'm not being negative -- I'm setting expectations.

Last December I took wine that was barrel aged for a year, bumped to 20% ABV with EverClear 151 (can't get 190 locally), and back sweetened. The intent was to produce something similar to vintage Port.

I failed. It didn't work. The result resembles Ruby Port.

Everyone who tasted it, loves it. So did I fail or did I succeed? It all depends on your POV.

I did not achieve my goal, but I had a positive result. It's not what I intended, but I like it. I will repeat this.
When the audience applauds it’s success.

If the applause is like thunder, it’s time to go pro.
 

hawkwing

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I'm thinking of going with 50% Touriga Nacional, 30-40% Cab Franc, and 10-20% Tempranillo. What say you all? Should I use different proportions or add something else that will add something to the wine? This will be my first time using a blend. I'm even tempted to go higher with the Touriga Nacional. Apparently 100 years ago or so in the Douro Valley in Portugal had 90% Touriga Nacional planted. I get the impression it's a good wine making grape but was reduced because it has lower yields. I can't get Touriga Franca but hopefully the cab franc fills in ok? I have to order tomorrow so one way or another I'll make up my mind. Hopefully someone can give a yay, nay or improvement. It sounds like many ports are random field blends too. So probably get something drinkable regardless.
 

hawkwing

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That sounds fine. Try bench testing various blends to fine tune it.
I know you are right but I was hoping to not ferment separately since they will all be small batches. Well except the Touriga Nacional. I was considering 5+3+2 lugs or 5+4+1. In small proportions is seems like a filler not a serious addition. Maybe something they just want to get rid of. Am I way off base on that?
 

winemaker81

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I know you are right but I was hoping to not ferment separately since they will all be small batches. Well except the Touriga Nacional. I was considering 5+3+2 lugs or 5+4+1. In small proportions is seems like a filler not a serious addition. Maybe something they just want to get rid of. Am I way off base on that?
IME pretty much any red Vinifera can be blended successfully. I have made field blends and all turned out good. Your ratios all sound fine. Trust your instincts, pick one, and go for it!
 

hawkwing

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IME pretty much any red Vinifera can be blended successfully. I have made field blends and all turned out good. Your ratios all sound fine. Trust your instincts, pick one, and go for it!
Last question for tonight, I promise, but do you think going to 7-2-1 would be pushing too much? I liked the 100% cab sav so it might be perfectly fine.
 

winemaker81

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Last question for tonight, I promise, but do you think going to 7-2-1 would be pushing too much? I liked the 100% cab sav so it might be perfectly fine.
Given the grapes you listed, IMO you can't make a bad choice. Every change in ratio will produce a different result, but all will be fine. Trust your instincts and roll the dice!
 

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