Port wine is traditionally a dessert wine, but it is gaining in popularity and has become an alternative sipping wine at many gatherings. Many are enjoying its sweet flavor and spicy bouquet. Port is a fortified wine produced in a region of Portugal and has a higher alcohol content than most wines.
There are several distinct styles of port;
This is non-traditional port made with white grapes. It is available as a sweet or a dry and are intended to be slightly chilled at time of consumption. This is typically used as an aperitif.
This is a basic blended port, the year Many cheaper brands produce a tawny which is created by adding a small amount of White Port to a Pale Red Port and then bottling it. Many connoisseurs consider a true Tawny Port as a blended port which has an extended aging period prior to bottling. It is during this aging period that it takes on the ‘tawny’ coloration. The aging can be anywhere from 3 to 40 years.
This is the standard red port. It is the cheapest and most readily available style. It is a blend of several of several harvests and is aged up to three years before bottling. This port is typically aged in concrete or stainless steel containers using the reductive process.
This port wine is the top of the line port. It is from a single harvest and aged in barrel for two to three years. The wine is then bottled un-filtered and laid down to age in the bottle. After aging in the bottle for several years the port develops a large complexly layered flavor.
Vintage Port is only made when the harvest is considered exceptional and only about 1% of all Ports are worthy of the vintage label. The vintage label is only allowed on a bottle after the batch is approved by the Instituto do Vinho do Porto. Nothing else is a true vintage. Even though Vintage port is offered for sale earlier, it should be consumed younger than 15 years. It takes time for a Vintage Port to fully mature and blend the flavors.
Port wine is an excellent beverage to have for a dinner party or casual sipping. It is a distinctly different taste from your typical wines and is greatly enjoyed by many.