What is port wine and how is it made?

Port wine is one of the most popular dessert wines thanks to its richness in flavor and texture. Port wine comes in the following styles:

  • Rose Port- it is a new style of making Port wine. Its process of production is similar to Rose wine. The wine has flavors of caramel, strawberry, and violets.
  • White Port- the wine is produced from native white grapes such as Malvasia, Rabigato, Gouveio, and Viosinho.
  • Red Port- the ruby colored drink includes Crusted, Vintage, and Late- bottled Vintage.
  • Tawny Port-it is an incredibly sweet wine that is aged in a barrel. It contains caramel and nut flavors.

Port wine producers are considerate to all those that enjoy it because it is produced with versatile quality. The average quality of Port wine can be found in most stores at affordable prices, while there also exists fine quality Port wines that cost hundreds of dollars each.

Port wine falls under the category of sweet wines due to its flavors of caramel, raspberry, cinnamon, chocolate, and black berry sauce. There are many styles of Port wine, but the most common are:

  • A yellowish brown colored port with strong nut and caramel flavors that make it very sweet.
  • A red Port that contains bold hints of chocolate and berry flavors, but is less sweet compared to the tawny Port.

Older varieties of the fine Tawny Port have a wider variety of flavors such as hazelnut, butterscotch, graphite, graham crackers, peppercorn (green), and almond. To enjoy Port wines with such complex tastes, look for ones that have aged for more than 30 years.

How Port wine is made

Red and white grapes are used in the production of Port wine. Some of the grapes include Touriga Nacional (contributes to the consistent structure of Port wine), Touriga France (adds smooth tannins and gives the wine a soft edge), and Tinta Roriz (boosts the taste of the drink).

Once the grapes are harvested, they are pressed in order to extract juice for fermentation. The grapes are then left to ferment for several days until the alcohol levels in the liquid reach 7 percent. Brandy is then used to fortify the wine and stop the fermentation process. Brandy is important because it helps the wine maintain its fruity flavors at the early stages of preparation.

The fortification procedure is significant because it leaves the levels of residual sugars high, resulting in the production of sweet wine. After a while, the batch of wine is pumped and transferred into large casks of oak. Not all Port wine is aged in oak since some are put directly into bottles and left to age.

After one and a half years, the wine in the barrels is opened and blended with other wine varieties to form sweet unique flavors. The blending is the reason why most Port wines have bold rich fruity flavors that are friendly to the palate and have balance in texture and richness. Once the blending process is complete, the wine is put into bottles for additional aging or left in the casks to continue aging.