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The Gentleman’s Port Wine Primer

Where does a gentleman even begin when it comes to understanding and drinking wine? If you have even started the journey of researching names and types of wines, we understand if you’re exhausted and wanting to give up. The good news is you don’t have to be a wine sommelier (A trained and knowledgeable wine professional). In this article we have created a simple but effective Port Wine Primer. If a dapper gentleman wants to know and understand the basics of wine, a great place to begin is with Port wine.

Port is a fantastic after-dinner drink or dessert wine. This delicious spirit will cause any individual’s palette to applaud because of its taste. Port has been named for the Portuguese city of Porto. This wine is usually sweet and mostly served as a dessert wine or with cigars. Of course like most wines, we could dive into all the regions and complexities of this particular wine, but we won’t do that in this article.

What is Port? First Port is produced by adding aguardente to red wine. When these two are mixed, the alcohol content increases to around 20%, but the beauty is that the sugars from the grapes will stop the fermentation
process. Second, you can always tell if you’re holding or purchasing an authentic bottle of Port is to look at the seal. Look for the Selode Garantia, which is a white seal that reads “Vinho do Porto Garantia.” This is the authentic seal for all true Port Wine.

Types of Port. Please understand that we don’t want to overload your mind with names and useless information. At the same time it’s important to understand what you’re drinking and the difference so you know what to look for. In this article we will describe a few for you. Please note that the following that are listed below are what we suggest trying in order.

Ruby Port: The Ruby Port is simple, the least expensive, and mass produced. If you have never had Port before then we suggest trying this first and for you only. Do not entertain guests with this Port or bring it as a gift to one’s house.

Reserve Port: The Reserve Port is the “premium” version of Ruby Port. Again this is a good introductory wine for you to try at home and develop your taste buds with.

Tawny Port: The Tawny Ports are the second most common style of Ports. Why are they called “Tawny?” It simply means that it’s a basic blend of Port that has aged in wood casks for at least two years. Tawny Ports are sweet to semi-dry and usually enjoyed as a dessert wine.

Vintage Port: The Vintage Port is the Port of all Ports. You will be spending a little more money for this type of Port and your palette better be fine-tuned. The Vintage Port is aged in cask for a minimum of two and a half years before it is bottled. Once that process has been completed, it is then bottle aged for up to forty years before it can be enjoyed.

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Storing Port Wine. Wine can be one of the hardest spirits to keep properly stored. The beauty of Port Wine is how simple it can be stored. The chances of you having a professionally built wine cellar like one of my friends, is slim. Do you have a cool, dry area like a pantry? That will do just fine. Here are a few simple rules to help you keep your wine safe. First, if the bottle is corked, it should be stored on its side. Second, if it has a stopper, it should remain standing up. Third, do not refrigerate it. The only exception is with White Port, which you may serve chilled and stored in a properly calibrated wine refrigerator. Fourth, your Port will not last forever. Keep in mind that the older the bottle of Port, the faster it needs to be consumed. Why is this? Once your Port Wine encounters oxygen, it begins to quickly deteriorate.

Opening and Drinking a Bottle of Port Wine. Serving Port Wine at a dinner party or for a few guests is simple, but elegant when done properly. First, we suggest purchasing a pair of Port Tongs. Yes, do everyone a favor and forgo the standard wine opener. If you don’t know what we are talking about or if you have not seen Port tongs in action please watch the following video before reading any further.

Now that you understand the elegance and importance of using Port tongs, we can proceed. Second, generally more than not, your wine will need to be decanted. Port Wines are usually unfiltered and that means that sediment has collected at the bottom of the bottle. The process of decanting is important and shouldn’t be ignored. This allows the wine to breathe and at the same time filter any unwanted sediment by using cheese cloth or a fine strainer (Refer back to the video). Please don’t ever “swish” the wine around in the bottle before opening it. This will stir up the sediment in the bottle. Once you have opened your Port and decanted it, pass it to the left. This is known as Port to Port. Finally, they do have glasses that are specifically designed for Port Wine (Click Here). You won’t be guzzling this wine, so only fill the glasses half way for the correct amount to enjoy.

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We hope that this short primer on Port Wine has encouraged you to continue growing and pursuing your knowledge in the area of wine. Port Wine is a great start and every dapper gentleman should have a basic knowledge of wine. What Port are you planning to try? What Port did you enjoy? Please tell us. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you again for all of your support. Join us on Twitter to get all the latest updates and information that is not shared here.

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