Only a week a go I was talking about a style of wine considered to be very old-fashioned and makes one think of old British movies. This wine was sherry, and it is interesting that about two weeks later I am here where they produce the other wine that comes to mind which is port. Sherry and port share a few things in common apart from being thought of as an old persons drink. Firstly they are both fortified wines, but in the case of port the fortification is made during the fermentation to stop it and retain a residual sugar, whereas sherry with the exception of pedro ximenez and muscatel are fortified after the fermentation. Secondly the fortification was important for the transportation and spread of port as it was for sherry, but it was actually British wine merchants who introduced the process into port whereas the Moors introduced it in sherry. The third similarity is with the fact that like dry sherries, cask-aged port doesn’t age in the bottle and should be consumed pretty soon after bottling, whereas vintage port ages in the bottle and can keep for a very long time indeed. The first fundamental difference between the two is that the vast majority of port is made from red grapes, whereas more sherry is made from white grapes. Along the same lines, almost all port is sweet whereas the majority of sherry is either dry or medium-dry. Like sherry however, port is also undervalued and underappreciated, and the best examples are truly exceptional wines regardless of their style.
|The port halls of Taylor’s|