- Retrospective - Porto 1998
possesses the unspeakable richness and glory of an old, and
it has deservedly obtained the World Heritage Site status
for its breathtaking Historic Centre. Five centuries after
Vasco da Gama and his pioneer voyage round the Cape of Good
Hope to India, the EU Contest for Young Scientists gathered
together more than 80 potential discoverers for the New Millenium.
Porto immediately reminds us of a very particular flavour,
a most renowned wine that is the outcome of a quite complex
brewing process that somewhat becomes the meeting point of
Chemistry and Gastronomy. The finest Port wine is produced
from grapes grown on the steep and rocky slopes of the Upper
Dour and its tributaries. Vines have been grown on these remote
hillsides since pre-Roman times.
In the 17th Century British traders were suddenly cut off
from their supplies of Bordeaux because of the frequent wars
in France. They then started to appreciate better the full
flavoured and robust wines from Portugal. Under the Methuen
Treaty of 1703, England granted lower duties to Portuguese
wines and therefore it became the principal exPort destination
of the wines from the Douro Valley for over a century.
Nevertheless, these wines did not reach England in good conditions,
due to the rigours of the Atlantic Ocean. Some traders came
up with the idea of adding pure grape spirit during fermentation
and Port, as we drink it today, was therefore elaborated for
the first time. Traders soon became aware of the fact that
the fortifying process did far more than just protecting the
wine; it actually improved its qualities by making it mature
into a unique blend.
Traditional methods of treading took place in a large tank
called a lagar. This is still used today, but has now been
mainly replaced by fermentation in closed tanks, which gives
better quality control and extracts the colour from the skins
equally well. The process of fermentation is arrested, as
mentioned above, by the addition of brandy: 10 litres for
every 45 litres of wine.
The young Port is the stored in vats or casks made of oak
or mahogany and allowed to settle for a few months before
beginning its journey to the maturing lodges in Vila Nova
de Gaia near Porto. The maturation of Port wine continues
for at least two years in 550 litres oak casks called pipes
or pipas and this maturation accounts for the excellence of
superior Port. Blue purple in colour, the young Port gradually
turns red, then tawny, and it finally becomes progressively
pale with age. The ageing Port in its wooden casks is racked
annually to remove the sediment that commonly occurs in maturing
No wine has been more subject to imitation, but no wine is
more resistant to the creation of a convincing surrogate than
Port. The "real thing" can only be made one place in the world
because of a unique conjunction of soil, climate and grapes:
Porto's Douro River Valley. And this is due to pure scientific
and chemical reasons: particularly the soil, which is very
acid due to high potassium, low calcium and magnesium, and
an excess of aluminium, which is toxic to the roots. Furthermore,
the mountainsides can only be prepared for planting by levelling
patches of it with pointed iron tools and dynamite or more
recently, with bulldozers and tractors. No one ever said it
would be easy: this great wine is truly born of exceptional
Bernath : "ScanGuru - The 3D scanner" HU
Pak - Peter Weilenmann : "The virtual blindmanscane" A
Carney - Matthew Tomas : "Yellowing of alkyd - Based paints
in the dark" UK
Weiss : "Digi Cow - A completely new type of milking machine"
Baas - Adrian de Groot - Chris Weel : "POSEIDON - The wave-motion
power generator" NL
Suput : "Sea anemones" SLO
Eriksen: "KOMBI-2: a novel approach soil preparation and sowing"
Richter: "The phenomenon of fluctuation in concentration"
Coll Lladó - Mariona Picart Merino: "Commercially viable sardine
anchovy fish production" E
Hurley: "The mathematics of monopoly" IRL
Kapustka -Michael Kapustka: "Some properties of Polygons"
Sergeev: "A new method to process some production waste" R
Doherty: "Surreal numbers: the path to true happiness" UK
Weis: "Paleontological studies on the lower Jurassic of Luxembourg"
ISEF TRAVEL AWARD PHILADELPHIA PENNSYLVANIA
Pak - Peter Weilenmann: "The virtual blindmanscane" A
Carney - Matthew Thomas: "Yellowing of alkyd: based paints
in the dark" UK
LONDON INTERNATIONAL YOUTH SCIENCE FORUM
Ari Jonsson: "The effect of salt on streaming potential in
water flow pipes" NL
Couzijn: "FAST: full-range automatic slip-resistant transmission"
Juan M. Garcia Ruiz
Birgitte Kiaer Ahring
Patrice Le Calvez
Unni Pia Løvhaug
Christa E. Müller