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What is Port Wine?

Porto, Vinho do Porto or simply “Port” is a fortified wine from Portugal. This isn’t a normal red or white wine, this is something a bit more sweet with varieties of dryness.  The grapes of a Port wine grow in Douro River Valley in northern Portugal.

Unlike standard wine, the grapes and fermentation happens at the farm. Although “estates” can grow their own grapes and ferment their own wine, some companies choose to ship their grapes to other Wineries. This port is usually aged in the cellars within the city of Vila Nova da Gaia in Portugal.

A port can be dry, semi-dry or sweet and can come in both white and red grape varieties. The grapes are fortified with Brandy once they’re ready to halt fermentation by killing off the natural yeast. This leaves a bit of sugar behind and additional alcohol giving you a higher alcohol sweeter drink. The end result is port wine at roughly 20% alcohol by volume (ABV).

There are many types of port including, Ruby, Tawny, Aged Tawny, Colheita, White, Crusted, Vintage Character, Single Quinta, Late Bottled Vintage and Vintage Port. Plenty to choose from all with different ages, tastes, blends and colors. Some port may be aged two years like a Ruby Port while others may be aged forty years like Aged Tawny Port.

Port is often served as an after dinner drink or before dinner because it fits in very well and often the sweetness compliments the meal. There is nothing to stop you from drinking a Port wine at any time of the day and enjoying its complex tastes. Most Port Wines don’t need to be decanted so you can drink them immediately.

You may want to consider picking up some Port Wine glasses before drinking, or just use a standard glass if you’ve got no others available.

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