The grapes to produce Tawny Port 20 Years Old Barros were destemmed, crushed and underwent a careful skin maceration to extract colour, aromatics and fine tannins. The Tawny Port 20 Years Old – Barros fermentation took place in vats known as ‘lagares’, with constant pumpovers during fermentation. Temperatures were controlled and maintained at between 28 to 30°C, until the desired Baumé was reached. At this stage, grape brandy was added, which is known as the ‘benefit’, resulting in a fortified wine with perfect balance. This is a blend of different harvests to achieve the array of characteristics that are typical of these aged tawny Port wines. The wines have each matured in oak casks for varying periods of time; it is the average age of all the wines in the blend which defines the age on the label.
The vines are grown on terraces cut into the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley. The vines have been planted along the terraces of the greatest slopes, the “Vinha ao Alto”, which translates as “vertically planted vines”. The vineyard soils are schist greywacke ante-Ordovician, with some granitic formations. This soil is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. Traditionally, the vines in the region are grown low, close to the ground. The single or double Guyot and unilateral and bilateral cordons are the methods most frequently used for training the vines. Trellises are not permitted for Port Wine grapes. The grapes are manually harvested, once they have reached the optimum maturity according to the variety.
Barros celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports – old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years. Their expertise in Colheita Ports has established them as the stand out producer of this style. They leaves their Colheita Ports to mature in cask until being hand bottled to order. The loss of wine from evaporation (known as the ‘Angel’s Share’) is much higher in comparison to bottle ageing. It is a sacrifice they are willing to make and one that helps them achieve unsurpassed quality in their Colheita wines. In June 2006, they were integrated into the Sogevinus Group who are growing the brand in international markets.