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All about port blend
What is a port blend?
Port blend is traditionally a fortified wine from Portugal. Other countries that produce port include Israel, the U.S., Chile and South Africa. Ports, most of which are blends from a variety of grape types, are ideal as digestifs after a meal or as dessert wines due to their sweetness. Ports typically have an ABV of 16% to 20% depending on the type. Port makers press the grapes and leave them to ferment. They then add fortified brandy to kill the yeast and stop the fermentation process. This is what gives port its higher alcohol content.
Types of port
The four main styles of port wine include white, rosé, tawny and ruby. All other port blends stem from these styles. Enjoy standard and reserve port blends young. Rosé port is unaged, while tawny and ruby ports age for either 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. Port, especially ruby port, lasts a long time, and some port blends continue to age in the bottle. Port producers declare vintage port wine blends two years after harvest when they agree the beverage is a high enough quality.
Port wine characteristics
White port wines feature apricot, peach, citrus, sweet baked apple and roasted nut flavors, while rosé port has notes of brown sugar, caramel and berry. Tawny port offers dried fruit, caramel, hazelnut, spice and fig flavors. Ruby port varieties taste of berry, chocolate and cinnamon. Aged port wine is more complex. It retains some of the oak flavors from the barrel and offers more developed spicy flavors.
Port wine pairings
Port red wine goes well with aged cheeses, chocolate, and berry flavors. Serve tawny port with soft cheeses and caramel pudding. Ruby and tawny port work well as digestifs after dinner. Use white port as an aperitif, mix it with tonic and serve it with salted nuts. Serve most ports at room temperature, ideally in port wine glasses, which are bit smaller to accommodate the typical smaller port serving of about three ounces.
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