Portugal is famous across the world for its production of port wine, which is made in the vineyards of the country’s Douro region. Within Europe, only port from Portugal can be sold as port or Porto, though the restriction does not apply to the rest of the world.
Port is a fortified red wine which is traditionally drunk after dinner to accompany dessert. Restaurants in Portugal often offer a glass of port ‘on the house’ to diners at the end of a long meal.
Port comes in several varieties, with the most well-known being tawny port, ruby port and white port. As with any drink, prices and quality can vary, but the bottles I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a fair few since moving here) have all been good, even at the lower end of the price range.
Outside of Portugal, tawny and ruby port are the most popular choices, but within Portugal white port has a strong following and we’ve done our best to introduce many of our guests to it over the years. It’s perfect served chilled as an aperitif.
In 2008 a new contender entered the arena, with the launch of rose port. Although it hasn’t taken off in a big way yet, this lighter version of ruby port (both of which are made with red grapes) is delightfully refreshing and I would encourage anyone visiting Portugal to give it a try. Served with soda water and fresh raspberries, it makes a lovely summer alternative to Pimm’s.
An extensive range of vintage port (made from grapes of a declared vintage year) and crusted port (blended from several vintages) is available for those who want to truly taste the variety of port on offer.
Port makes a lovely present and can be picked up in any supermarket or wine shop in Portugal. Presentation boxes and prettily shaped bottles are readily available, so next time you are in Portugal, why not treat someone (or yourself!) to a bottle.
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