You might have heard of port wine if you are a wine lover. It is a fortified wine that originates from Portugal's Douro Valley and is well-known for its rich, sweet flavour.
Port wine is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner drink and pairs perfectly with chocolate, nuts, and cheese. In this article, we will explore the history of port wine, the different types of port wine, and how to enjoy this classic drink.
History of Port Wine
Port wine has a long and exciting history that dates back to the 17th century. It was first produced in the Douro Valley, which is located in the northern part of Portugal. At the time, England and France were at war, and England was looking for alternative sources of wine. They turned to Portugal, and the first shipments of port wine were sent to England in the late 1600s.
Wine quickly became popular in England, and port wine production increased to meet the demand. The wine was also popular with the British royal family, and it became a symbol of wealth and luxury. Today, port wine is still famous worldwide and is enjoyed by enthusiasts and casual drinkers.
Types of Port Wine
There are several different types of port wine, each with unique characteristics. Here are some of the most common types of port wine:
Ruby port is the most basic and affordable type of port wine. It is made by ageing the wine in large tanks for two to three years, which gives it its bright red colour and fruity flavour. Ruby port is typically the youngest and fruitiest type of port wine.
Tawny port is aged in oak barrels for at least three years, giving it a mellow, nutty flavour. The longer the wine is aged, the more complex its flavour becomes. Tawny port can be found in both blended and vintage varieties.
Vintage port is made from the grapes of a single vintage year and is only produced in exceptional years. The wine is aged in oak barrels for two to three years before being bottled and aged for another 10 to 40 years. Vintage port is rich, complex, and full-bodied, with a fruity flavour that becomes more intense with age.
Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port
LBV port is made from grapes of a single vintage year, like vintage port, but is aged four to six years in oak barrels before bottling. Unlike vintage port, the wine is ready to drink when bottled and does not require further ageing.
White port is made from white grapes, unlike other types of port wine, which are made from red grapes. It is typically aged for two to three years in oak barrels, which gives it a golden colour and a sweet, fruity flavour.
How to Enjoy Port Wine
Port wine is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner drink but can also be paired with food. Here are some tips on how to enjoy port wine:
- Serve port wine slightly chilled, between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a decanter to aerate the wine before serving.
- Pair port wine with chocolate, nuts, cheese, or a dessert.
- Drink port wine slowly and savour its complex flavours.
Port wine is a sweet and fortified wine with a long and exciting history. It comes in several different types, each with unique flavour and characteristics. Whether you enjoy it as an after-dinner drink or pair it with food, port wine is a classic drink that will delight your taste buds.
FAQs About Port Wine
What makes port wine fortified?
Port wine is fortified by adding brandy or another spirit to stop the fermentation process and increase the alcohol content.
How long does an opened bottle of port wine last?
An opened bottle of port wine can last up to a month if stored properly in a cool, dark place.
Can I cook with port wine?
Yes, port wine is a great ingredient for cooking and can be used in sauces, marinades, and desserts.
Is port wine high in sugar?
Yes, port wine is typically high in sugar due to its sweet flavor. However, some drier varieties are also available, such as tawny port.