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Port & Sherry

Port

Port is a fortified wine produced in Portugal. It is produced primarily from red grapes grown in the Douro region and is typically quite sweet and intense. Although there are white, dry, and semi-dry examples made as well. The wines are typically allowed to begin fermentation but once this is underway the fermentation is stopped with the addition of neutral grape spirit which fortifies the wine and leaves in the residual sugars which give Port its sweetness. The resulting wines are aged in oak barriques - often for many years. In exceptional vintages a single, vintage port will be declared retrospectively by unanimous agreement of the port houses no less than two years after the harvest. Other types of port include Tawny Ports which are long aged in wood and often bottled with age statements. Late Bottled Vintage ports which are vintage ports left to mature for longer than the typical two years in wood and tend to be a little lighter and more approachable than the bigger, more powerful vintage ports. Crusted ports are blends of multiple vintages of port designed to be easy and approachable for drinking when young.

Sherry

Sherry is fortified wine that can be bone dry and white to extremely dark and sweet. It is made primarily from Palomino grapes in the town of Jerez and other surrounding parts of Andalusia in Spain. Lighter examples such as Fino and Manzanilla are dry and often saline in character and match with food extremely well. They are produced when the wines are left to develop in cask with a covering of natural yeast - called Flor - which sits on top of the wines and prevents overt oxidisation and contributes to the natural characteristics of the wines. Darker versions are created by aging, deliberate oxidisation and fortification such as Oloroso and Amontillado. Some extremely sweet and sticky examples are made from the Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grape varieties.


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