Port wine is a fortified wine, in which a high alcohol percentage spirit, most commonly made from grape juice, is added during the fermentation process. This produces a stronger tasting, denser, sweeter wine. Port wine is most commonly made by adding brandy to a high quality wine, and then left to finish fermenting. Port wine can be used for cooking or consumed on its own.
About Port Wine
Port wine is produced in Portugal, and comes in a number of styles, such a white port, tawny port and ruby port. The names refer to different colors, which is a result of the type of wine used, the aging process and the blending process. The longer a port wine has been aged, the more complex and well-rounded its flavors will be.
Ruby Port Characteristics
Ruby port wine has a deep, garnet to purple color and a sweet taste. It tends to be lower in alcohol content and the flavor is sweeter and fruitier. Ruby port wine retains its color because it is aged less than tawny ports, often between 4 1/2 to 6 years. All ruby port wines have a full body and a long finish -- the taste of the wine is discernible on the tongue long after it has been consumed.
Selecting a Ruby Port
Ruby port wines come in a range of styles and price points. Vintage ruby ports only use specific port wines to make the blend and are intended to be long aged, meaning they will keep in the bottle for 15 to 50 years. The more selective the grapes and wines used to produce the port and the longer it is aged, the more expensive the port.
Serving and Storing Ruby Port Wine
Unopened ruby port wines can be stored in wine cellars until ready to be consumed. Opened bottles with a cork stopper can be kept at room temperature for several months. Port wines are often served as an after-dinner beverage and are paired with sharp, flavorful cheeses, like Stilton. Port can also be used in place of wine in cooking, providing acidic and sweet notes to pan sauces, glazes or reductions.
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