Port Wine is your Christmas Grand Finale
Port wine originates from Portugal and the magnificent Duro Valley. It is a blend of black grape varieties. The process of making emphasises on the rapid extraction of colour and tannins from the skins, during a short period of fermentation.
Port like Sherry is a fortified wine, which means more alcohol added to the wine, before it goes through the ageing process. Because of the added alcohol and the accelerated process of fermentation this wine is sweet and high in alcohol.
Port is to be served with very intensive deserts or tangy cheeses. Check again my blog post about the principals of food pairing – sweet goes with sweet. Port is the perfect chocolate dance partner. Be gentle and slow down with the steps, while sipping it. This wine is heavy, full bodied. This can be your Xmas Grand Finale in both senses and can seriously impact your Boxing Day plans.
There are three styles of Port Ruby Style– deeply coloured and very aromatic, red fruit taste on a nose and pallet. The inexpensive vibrant Ruby Port has aged less than 3 years before been bottled.
The next level is Reserve Ruby Port – which is slightly more complex, because has aged at least 5 years it will be softer to drink. And a level above this will be Late Botted Vintage Port, which is deeper in taste. The difference between this Vintage edition is that this wine is coming from a single year’s harvest. Most of Ruby Ports don’t need to be decanted, so not to worry too much about buying a decanter.
Vintage Ports are the class above the Ruby Ports. This is my preferred option and it is just more than a sweet wine. It is a full bodied, spicy, exciting company for the end of the Xmas day. The wine you want to share with someone, but also the wine that you would like to enjoy on your own, when everybody goes, alongside these black chocolates you bought secretly for yourself. With Vintage Ports it is more likely to taste black fruit, leather, coffee.
The grapes come from the very best vineyards and they are only made in good years. They are heavy in tannins and must be decanted.
The third style of ports is the Tawny Style Ports and can be a wonderful present for friends and family. This port style it is much lighter and elegant to drink. They have to be aged for at least 6 years, but ideally you need to show off with something labelled as 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years of age. The aromas are amazing it is Xmas garland of walnuts and dried fruits by the fireplace. The colour is no longer this young and vibrant ruby, here we settle for tawny or even brown in colour wine.
Tips on sips:
The best Port wines in town for me are in the shop called “A Portuguese Love Affair”. This is a fantastic independent shop in East London, Columbia Road, check them out www.aportugueseloveaffair.co.uk.
They sell port wines form Niepoort, currently the best port producers, famous across Europe. The shop will surprise you with a small boutique collection of great wines. Save & Exit
You need to serve at a room temperature. Drink it slow and consider the sweetness.
Food to go with it: Christmas pudding, Chocolates, toffee deserts, tangy cheeses.
The Vintage and the Tawny Ports should be decanted.
Port is not just a wine!
Port is your Christmas special guest, who you can’t wait to invite and present to everybody and then withdraw with it, in order to have this special time of blending your thoughts with a story of an ageing wine.