Sherry & Port

The History of Port


In 1698 a war was declared between Britain and France resulting in shortage of wine. The British explored new regions where they could set up their vineyards, and the Duroro Valley in Portugal was an appropriate location. Although this location was suitable for their vineyards, the distance between Brittan and Portugal had an impact on the wine temperature. In order for the wine to survive it was necessary to add brandy to the wine to make it last for the long journey. An interesting fact is that although Port originated from Portugal, France and Britain are the most popular countries to drink it.

What is Port?

Port can be described as a sweet wine which contains sprints such as brandy. The brandy is mixed with the port to eliminate the yeast and produce a sugary taste.

Port Styles

Port has is a unique product which contains a number of styles and each style has its own purpose, appeal and characteristics for example:

  1. Ruby Port is a basic fruity wine which contains red grapes and berries and has only aged for three years.
  2. Tawny Port is a combination of ruby and white port giving you a lighter flavour. It contains a buttery and nutty carmel notes, and has been aged for several years.Twany Port will have number on the front bottle, the number can range from 10-40. The higher number will give you a red brown colour port therefore making the appearance of the port “Tawny”.
  3. White Port contains a variety of white grapes, it can be dry or sweet, and should be drank as an appetiser. It should served chilled and contains a blend of vintages.
  4. Late Bottle Vintage is a popular style of port containing a range of fruit flavours for example cherry, plum and blackberry with a hint of clove/pepper. Once this port is opened,it should be drank within a month and is not meant for aging.
  5. Vintage Port has intense fruit flavours and is best used when aged for a long time. It contains spicy red and black fruit aromas. When purchasing Vintage Port you must leave the port to age for another 10-30 years before it can be enjoyed.

How Port should be served

When serving port, it should be presented in a narrow wine glass, and half filled and should be served with chocolate or cheese.

Sherry

Sherry is one of the oldest fortified wines. It is made with three grape varieties, Palomino Fino, Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez.

These grapes are juiced and left to ferment entirely under the action of naturally present yeasts. They are then aged. At this point one particular yeast will begin to form a thick airtight crust known as flor on the surface of some samples. These wines will become the lighter Fino styles. Some casks will not develop flor and will be aged in contact with air. These will become part of the Oloroso family.

The wines are then aged in a solera system. This involves taking an amount of wine out of each cask or butt and adding it to a barrel containing an older blend, and continuing down through a system. This allows character and complexity to build up quicker than conventional aging

The categories of sherry range from very dry Finos, fortified to around 15% to Oloroso at 18% with many variations
 

How To Store Sherry

In order to retain the taste of sherry, it should be kept in a dark place before consumed, usually 2-3 years.  The advantage of storing sherry in a dark place is to ensure the aromas remain vibrant. When sherry is opened, it should be kept refrigerated to stay fresh and to keep its flavour.