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Port Shots

It has been dubbed one of the world's greatest wines, its rich and sweet aroma attracting more and more drinkers. What is the big deal about port wine? This guide will gives you 10 quick tips.

  • Port is a fortified wine that comes from the Douro Valley in Portugal. The area has been demarcated as a wine region since 1756.
  • Although other countries like Australia, South Africa and the United Sates also make port, only wines form Douro can be considered true port, just like how only bubbly wine from the Champagne region in France can be considered champagne.
  • Famous port houses include Calem, Churchill, Dow, Royal Oporto, Smith Woodhouse and Warre & Co.
  • Port gets its name from the city of Oporto, its main import-export hub.
  • Though port is a Portuguese wine, it took the intervention of the British in the mid-17th century for it to become popular. When the French and British went to war in 1678, Britain was faced with a shortage of wine. Its merchants turned to Portugal as an alternative to French wines. Their involvement in the industry caused a boon and helped Portuguese wine-makers perfect their trade.
  • Port wine, the majority of which comes from red grapes, is usually darker, richer and sweeter than other wines. The story behind its unique aroma: When the British were importing port form Portugal, they used brandy to stabilize the wines so that they could survive the long journey to Britain. But the addition of brandy halted fermentation before all the sugar turned into alcohol, hence making the wine sweeter
  • Port also has a higher alcohol content than normal wine. Most range between 18 and 22 per cent, but some can go up to 30 percent.
  • Because of its sweetness, many drinkers use port as a dessert wine. Purists, however, would scoff at this. They say port is a universal drink that can be consumed at all times. The French, for example, are known to drink port as an aperitif before their meals.
  • There are many variety of port. For example, tawny port refers to wine aged in wooden barrels which give it a nutty flavor. Ruby port is fermented in wood and aged in glass. There is also white port, made from white grapes and typically served chilled and as an aperitif. But what is really worth waiting for is vintage port. Made entirely from grapes in a vintage year, they are usually the most expensive and finest.
  • Most people drink port from a standard tasting glass, though some prefer to use dessert glasses. However, the glass should only be half full so that the wine's aroma can be fully appreciated.

What's The Best Way To Store Wines At home?

A temperature controlled wine cellar is always the best bet, but not everyone can afford one. So a place that has no light, no vibration and 75 to 90 percent humidity would be ideal. Temperature wise, anything between 15-20 degrees celcius is fine, as long as there is no big change in temperature as this will prematurely age the wine.

If you are planning to consume the wine within three months or so, you could keep the bottles on the bottom shelf of your fridge. Remember to lay the bottles on their sides to prevent the corks from shrinking, as well as to prevent oxidation of the wines. Alternatively, shop at a a good and let them do all the storing for you!

 

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