Ports, ports, ports—what do we know about ports?
When I think of a port, it seems like only yesterday that I was in England eating Sunday dinner with family and friends. I remember everyone laughing and chuckling with each other while sipping on a tasty glass of port. I recall the sweet smell of Grandad’s pipe filling the room. To me, there is nothing more delicious than a deep-colored, lavishly sweet, warm, spicy, fortified port that makes your stomach tingle with fire. Even today, when we are in the backyard by the fire pit and my husband has a nice cigar and a glass of port after dinner, it’s a great way to relax and enjoy. It’s a great dessert.
True port comes from the Douro Region in northern Portugal. The term “port wine” can only refer to these wines and only in recent years has it been renamed to “Porto” from the name ”Oporto,” the Port city from which it’s shipped. The vineyards harvest the grapes by hand, and to this day, human feet are used to crush them.
There are two different styles of port:
This port is ready to drink on release.
- Ruby port-fruity and spicy
- Tawny port-lightest, sweetest and butteriest of all ports
- Aged tawny port-smooth and creamy with fruitcake spices
- Late-bottled vintage port-buttery and smooth
These are the most expensive and the most delightful.
- Vintage port-should be consumed between 12 and 30 years after vintage
- Single quinta port-made from a single specific harvest and estate, excellent value
Port is a very warming drink, and you should be careful because it can sneak up on you very quickly. It has up to a 20-percent alcohol level. The reason for this is that during the wine-making process, a neutral grape brandy is added to the wine before all the sugar has been converted to alcohol. This is also why port is on the sweet side.
Port can be paired with all kinds of foods, including rich-flavored cheeses like blue cheese, sweet smoky meats, and rich desserts like chocolate and caramel. Oh no! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Here at Nino’s, we have a wide variety of port styles available. Let me help you pick out the one that fits your taste.