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Port

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All About Port Wine

If you've never had a sweet wine, prepare to have your mind blown. Residents of the Douro Valley of Portugal manufacture port wine. Their flavor experts have crafted a wine that will make you feel like you're drinking dessert out of a bottle. The port winemaking process requires many years of diligence. The Portuguese pour their ingredients into giant barrels and store them in caves for years or sometimes even decades before recovering the barrels.

If you see Porto on the bottle, then you know it's sweetly legit. The label means it's authentic and was produced in Douro Valley. When you see it, you're getting the finest port wine. It's not a wine you'll sip on every night, but it's definitely one all wine lovers should try.

Tasting Notes:

You'll experience an explosion of sweetness with port wine due to the natural sugars left over from the grapes. The Douro Valley area has several unique grapes, each of which is used in various recipes. Tinta Cão, Tempranillo, and Touriga Franca grapes are all prevalent, but at least 52 different grape are used in their fermentations. These unique grapes can produces flavors ranging from fruity to nutty.

Types of Port Wine:

The Portuguese lovingly craft four different types of port wine.

  • Red: The most popular style, this type is a favorite of wine connoisseurs going all the way back to 17th-century British sailors, the earliest port wine fanatics.
  • White: This type has the same manufacturing process as red. The only difference is that winemakers use white grapes. This type of port wine was once rare, but it's become a popular mixologist's choice in recent years.
  • Rosé: The newest variant of port wine, rosé debuted in 2008. Winemakers crafted a ruby port and then fermented it the same way as rosé wine. You can tell this wine by its distinctive color.
  • Tawny ports: These port wines have a specific flavor. While in barrels, they undergo more oxidation and evaporation, giving them a special nutty flavor. Dryer in flavor than other varieties, Tawny ports aren't exclusively dessert wines. You can also pair them with several entrées.

Best Ways to Drink Port Wine:

In deciding when to drink port wines, you have several options. They're delicious aperitifs, especially white wines. The flavor pairs so well with cheese that some genius went ahead and made a port wine-flavored cheese. Tawny ports offer a sweet finish to chocolates and, due to their nutty flavor, also work well with almonds or coffee.

To maximize dessert bliss, try this wine with crème brûlée and tiramisù. Of course, with a wine as flavorful as port, you can skip dessert altogether and just have a few glasses.

Food Pairings:

As a dessert wine, Port pairs with decadent items like rich cheeses, chocolates, caramel. Want to try it with an entree? Smoked meats and barbecue would be a safe bet.