What is Port?
Port is made from a blend of grapes, crushed together. Fermentation is stopped partway through the process by the addition of neutral grape alcohol, leaving plenty of natural sugars in the wine. The barrels (called “pipes”) of new port are traditionally taken to warehouses in Vila Nova de Gaia, at the mouth of the river, to begin their ageing.
Ruby or Tawny?
All red port starts out as ruby. After two years, the wines are assessed. Some stay in the barrel for decades, becoming tawny port; others are blended and bottled after a few more years as ruby or late bottled vintage ports.
In very good years, about one percent of the wine made is deemed worthy to be a vintage port and is bottled after a year, unfiltered, to slowly age in the bottle for 10 years or much, much longer.
Sweet port and a salty blue cheese like Stilton is one of the world’s great pairings. Port’s also great with walnuts, dried fruits, fresh berries – and sublime with dark chocolate, bringing out the taste of the cocoa berries.
SANDEMAN RUBY PORT
Rich, full-bodied and seeming slightly sweeter and smoother than many other rubies, this port hides a hint of caramel among its ripe mulberry, black cherry and plum flavours. Like all modern ruby and LBV ports, it’s ready to drink and doesn’t need to be decanted.
TAYLOR FLADGATE LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT
Taylor Fladgate invented the LBV style, barrel-ageing port from a single vintage for four to six years. Richer and more complex than a simple ruby, it packs smooth power behind its cloak of spiced plum and blackberry fruit – vintage port style at a fraction of the price.