Port Wine: What You Need to Know

A digestivo, also known as a digestive, is a drink (usually alcoholic) meant to be taken after dinner to help with digestion. Port wine is one of the most popular digestivi around and it is also a very popular type of dessert wine. But what makes port wine so special and what makes it different from any other type of wine?

Keep reading and discover more about Port below.

What Is Port Wine?

What is Port wine, you might ask? This wine is unique because it is a fortified wine. Keep in mind that most types of wine are only around 11% alcohol on average. Fortified wine, on the other hand, can be around 20%. This wine is more alcoholic because certain spirits, usually grape spirits like brandy, are added to it during its creation process.

Port is also made out of grapes that are unique in their own way due to their aromatic qualities. Some of the grapes used for Port include Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Barroca, among others. In order for Port to be real Port, it has to come from the Douro Valley in Portugal.

Port wine, as mentioned before, is a dessert wine since it has quite a sweet flavor. You may have port wine along with dessert or you may drink it as dessert itself. Keep in mind that when drinking Port that you should only drink it from small glasses designed for Port since it is much stronger than ordinary wine.

Port wine.

There are also many different types of Port, up to 52 types, in fact. Some are light brown and mild while others are red and fruity. Tawny Port and ruby Port are two very popular variations along with vintage Port. The different variations are too detailed to list here, but I will explore them in more depth in a future article.

How Is Port Made?

The making of Port is not all that different from the making of any other type of wine. First, the grapes are harvested once they reach maturity. Then, they need to be crushed and fermented. The fermentation process is long and very important, especially when it comes to the wine’s sweetness.

To fortify the wine, the winemaker needs to add the grape spirit at a specific point in the fermentation process. If the spirit is added early in the fermentation process, the resulting Port will be quite sweet. On the other hand, if the winemaker waits until the fermentation process is mostly finished before adding the spirit, the wine will be drier.

Then, there is the aging process. Some Port wines are aged in barrels while others are aged in their own bottles. If the wine is aged in a barrel, it is usually aged for around 18 months. Doing this will add additional depth to the Port’s flavor and it may mellow out its sweetness.

Now that you know about the basics of Port wine, you can try some for yourself and appreciate its unique origins.

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