PORT – it is not only for cheese and Dinner parties... Now we are in the 21st Century it is MOVING ON!

Have you tried; 

White – makes a super aperitif or as a Sunday morning ‘snifter’
Tawny - with Sticky Toffee pudding? It takes Port to a different level
And what about;
PINK with ice & tonic – yes I did say Pink’! This goes in a different direction – ha ha ha 

We Brits, are forever linked with the drink of Port and had much to do with its development. If we go back over 300 years very high taxes were charged against other European wines and so a number of our countrymen looked for alternatives further afield. Britain and Portugal have commercial and political links going back to the 13th Century and as soon as they realised Port was there for the asking they spent little time in developing a thriving business. 

What is port? I explain here in its simplest form; 

Port is a ‘fortified’ wine made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley of Portugal. Part-way through the fermentation is stopped by adding 'grape spirit' [simple brandy]. It is then aged, bottled and ready for drinking. These days we can also find wines from Australia and South Africa made in a similar way but these can only be called ‘fortified wine’ not Port. 

Port Styles;
Ruby;
The simplest and least expensive style. A blend of more than1 year, aged for 2 or 3 years, filtered then bottled. Because of this the wine retains its deep ruby colour and much of its sweet yet feisty flavour. 

Tawny; A wine that has been aged longer than a Ruby, thus losing its colour. 

Aged Tawny; In a different league the wine is left to age in oak casks for more than 6 years where the colour 'falls away' and it become silky, soft but with a little more 'spirit' on the palate. Age usually stated on the label. 

Crusted; Quality wine from more than 1 year bottled young and then left to age developing a 'crust'. 

LBV; [Late Bottled Vintage]; Wine of a single year, bottled after 4 or more years in cask. The most popular are filtered, cold stabilized then bottled so there is no 'crust' or sediment. Traditional LBV is given more time in bottle but NOT filtered and will develop a 'crust' so should be decanted. 

VINTAGE; Produce of a single year, aged in cask for 2 years then bottled without filtration of any kind. The 'Year' is usually declared during the 2nd year after the harvest. Conditions must be perfect and grapes for this style are the very best quality coming from selected vineyards of a producers Estate. Mostly sold in advance where the buyer then ages before selling - or drinking themselves. A Single Quinta Vintage is a wine from a single year but this time from an individual vineyard too. 

White; most often this is on the dry side and used as an aperitif in the style but different to an Amontillado Sherry. 

And NOW... 

PINK PORT. CROFT have made the first ever Port with a light ruby colour made by only short contact with the skins and served chilled. This is very attractive and has a palate full of ripe cherry, raspberry fruits and nuances of honey and grapefruit. As well as enjoying it on its own try it as a base for cocktails using fresh summer fruits and even jasmine tea and white chocolate. All in all a new drink to have fun with at any time. 

Happy drinking... 

Andrew 

[Nervous to decant Port? I have a very simple method, no fancy decanters needed. Get in touch at andrewh@georgehill.co.uk and mark it 'Decanting Port please'] 

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