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07-10-2014

Port wine - a wine with many facets!

Port wine (known as Vinho do Porto) simply „port“ is a Portuguese wine produced in the Douro Valley in the northern of Portugal, one of the world’s oldest vineyard areas! Traditionally it is served towards the end of the meal with cheese, as a dessert wine or as an after dinner drink! Port wine is typically richer, sweeter, heavier and possesses a  higher alcohol content than unfortified wines (usually between 18 to 23% alcohol).

production of port wine:
Once they are picked, the grapes are taken to the winery! On arrival in the winery they are evaluated by the wine maker and inspected on a sorting table before being de-stemmed. The wine produced is then fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content.The wine is then stored often in barrels in the cellars where the wines age for many years until they achieve their perfect balance!

Ports can be divided into two broad categories:
Wood Ports (wines that have matured in wooden barrels).
Bottle Ports (wines that spend most of their lives maturing in bottle).

Ruby Port:
Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port with its rich claret color. The wine is usually blended to match the style of the brand to which it is to be sold!

Vintage Port:
Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a declared vintage year and accounts for about two percent of overall port production. Not every year is declared a vintage in the Douro. The decision on whether to declare a vintage is made in the spring of the second year following the harvest. Vintage ports are aged in barrels for a maximum of two and a half years before bottling, and generally require another ten to forty years of ageing in the bottle before reaching what is considered a proper drinking age!

White Port:
White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles, although until recently few shippers have produced anything other than a standard product. Ordinary white ports make an excellent basis for a cocktail while those of greater age are best served chilled on their own. Sweet white port and tonic water is a commonly consumed drink in the Porto region!

Tawny Port:
Tawny ports are wines, made from red grapes, that are aged in wooden barrels. As a result, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown color. Tawny ports are sweet or medium dry and typically consumed as a dessert wine!

Port wine is also an ideal gift to make a special person in your life happy!

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