Passing The Port

WineIt’s the holiday time of year again and what could be better, or at least more traditional, than a sip of port at the end of a festive meal? Since this may in fact be the only time of the year that some people touch the stuff, it’s worthwhile arming yourself with knowledge so you can pick the best one.

Background, Please

In short, port wine, I mean the real stuff, is produced exclusively in Portugal’s northern provinces of the Douro Valley. It is typically a sweet red wine that goes at the end of the meal, but in fact, there are also dry, white and semi-dry varieties. Port wine is the product of locally grown grapes that are characterised by their small size, dense fruit and concentrated flavours that linger. It is processed in the Douro region and then fortified by adding some neutral grape spirits to halt the fermentation process that leaves behind some sugar. It also results in a higher percentage of alcohol, usually reaching the 18-20% range. That being said, there are many wines on the market that claim to be port, but are simply imitations of the real thing.

Styles of Port

If Portuguese port is matured in glass bottles, it is not exposed to air and experiences “reductive” aging. The end product is smooth with less tannic properties. Port that has come of age in wooden barrels experiences a slight amount of exposure to oxygen and goes through “oxidative” aging. Its color fades quickly and the end result is a bit more viscous. A good bet for barrel-aged port is the tawny variety, which carries a nutty flavour that is usually blended to match the style of the house. Whether you choose sweet or medium dry, they are both a great ending to any holiday meal.

24 thoughts on “Passing The Port

  1. david hawkins March 11, 2013 / 2:00 am

    there is nothing that bets a good glass of wine there was a day many years ago I had a whole wine seller but when I moved out of my home I got rid of it I do look forward to starting over again I might have to look this one up

  2. tootsie101 March 11, 2013 / 2:01 am

    wow a good glass of wine. the dr. told me I should have a glass now and then. Im not much of a wine person. Your info. helps me choose one.

  3. Vhea Bianca Nacional March 11, 2013 / 2:24 am

    I prefer sweet red wine all the time. Yes, that nutty flavor makes the big difference. I didn’t known that real ones are exclusively produced in Douro Valley till I read this article. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hermes Lassalle March 11, 2013 / 2:32 am

    Wow port wine sounds tasty. I really don’t drink wine but when it’s the OG of wine you gotta try it..

  5. Jing March 11, 2013 / 2:36 am

    I like drinking a little of red wine everyday. It will be good for the health. I’d like to learn how to choose the nice quality of wine.

  6. Thomas Lim March 11, 2013 / 4:02 am

    The idea of having a sip of quality wine can really spur me into much excitement. Specially with port wine which is original from Portugal.

  7. IH March 11, 2013 / 4:39 am

    Very informative article. The background about Port Wine provides me with new things to learn. Interesting!

  8. Ram Bansal March 11, 2013 / 4:54 am

    Apart from the specialty of Port Wine for its special maturing, the article is very educative for wine lovers. In fact, wines have been the first medicines of humanity for health and vigor.

  9. doroffee March 11, 2013 / 11:55 am

    I really like port wine. I didn’t know that its usually sweet and rich taste is due to the fact its made from grapes of small size and concentrated flavours. It makes sense, though. It really is a perfect choice of wine after a festive meal.

  10. Jose Garcia March 11, 2013 / 12:39 pm

    Hmmm. I love red wine and this one really suites my taste. I hope I could buy some of those here in the Philippines.

  11. Niki March 11, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    I never knew so much about wines. But after reading it I came to know not only about wines but also portuguese. I never had wine but now I am curious to drink sweet red wine after meal.

  12. harry asthana March 11, 2013 / 5:12 pm

    A glass of wine and a good book to read is always a good thing to do when you want to enjoy your time. A quality wine makes it even better.

  13. vamshi March 11, 2013 / 5:50 pm

    The mere thought of sipping wine after work excites me very much. Thanks for your informative article. I will look forward to taste the port wine

  14. Subhojit Panda March 11, 2013 / 6:50 pm

    Wine has always been portrayed in a bad light. But a glass of red wine is good for health that most of the doctors advise. I hope people are now more aware of the use of wine.

  15. queensauce March 11, 2013 / 7:02 pm

    I love wine but I dont know them by name though. Wine is actually my choice whenever I go to dinner. I would love to try this wine it sounds so enticing.

  16. lizzy March 11, 2013 / 8:14 pm

    I never been to Portugal, but I heard alot of port wine. I hope I can visit Douro Valley and got a chance to experience the goodness of this real thing.

  17. Ajay Deep March 11, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    That is some nice information about wines. So the real wine is port wine which is a Portuguese fortified wine produced in Douro valley. And typically it is served at the end of the meal.

  18. Suresh March 12, 2013 / 6:04 am

    Really nice informative post about wine and knowing the history about a wine is really great if you having it daily

  19. SL March 12, 2013 / 11:07 am

    Nice post about vines which i don’t know.I think this post is great. I think the real wine is port wine which is a Portuguese fortified wine produced in Douro valley

  20. pisceanaquamarine March 12, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    My ancestors have learned the art of making rice wine, how to bring the best of a rice wine. But the making of Port wine of ‘Port’ugal seems to be more technical in order to deliver the best of a commercial wine in the entire world.

  21. mirzaji March 12, 2013 / 2:01 pm

    i think i go for these wines instead of others. and best of the best, surely depends on the mood or situation. but i usually don’t care for which purpose it is

  22. Creation X Design March 12, 2013 / 2:12 pm

    In my country (Indonesia), drink like this is very rare. We are regular and always drink water. And usually when a holiday, we do not always get around the city with things like this. CMMIW

  23. jembizz21 March 12, 2013 / 2:18 pm

    Well, as studies show in some countries especially those who produce quality wine like Portuguese, drinking promotes good health. It helps us lower Cholesterol and improves blood pressure.

  24. karen March 12, 2013 / 8:13 pm

    Red wine is good for the heart especially as it has been recommended from my doctor. It is best served alongside with cigars right after a meal. The more it lasts the better it is.

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