Probably the most famous of the fortified wines, and its paramount expression ‘Vintage Port’, stands as one of the greatest iconic wines of the world.
Fortified wines are made by adding a proportion of grape spirit, or brandy, to the wine at some point during the production process. During Port production, brandy is added to the wine before it has finished fermenting, which ensures that the wine retains the natural sweetness of the grape, giving it a rich, round and smooth taste that only gets better with age.
Port wine is produced in northern Portugal, in the mountainous eastern reaches of the Douro Valley, which is one of the world’s oldest vineyard areas, and wine has been made there for more than two thousand years from a variety of more than fifty different local red and white grapes. The unique association of climate, soil, grape variety and wine making tradition give Port its distinctive character.
Port is traditionally served at the end of the meal with cheese, as a dessert wine. Some styles, such as white port can also be used as an aperitif. Port is regarded as one of the most civilized wines, and most often comes out at very special occasions.