Port – a literature overview and wine chemical perspective

May 2015 /

Fortified wines, also known as liqueur or dessert wines, are fermented or partly fermented wines to which a distilled beverage of grape origin (usually brandy) has been added. Many different styles of fortified wine have been developed. These include Port and Madeira (Portugal/Madeira Islands), Sherry (Spain), vins doux naturels (France), Marsala (Sicily), Commandaria (Cyprus), the aromatised wine Vermouth, Mistelle, and low-end fortified wines, i.e. Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose. Port wine (also known simply as Port) is a grape spirit fortified wine from the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. The term “Port” is protected in the European Union, referring to wines from the Douro region of Portugal only. Wines are fortified to preserve it (alcohol is a natural antiseptic), and to add distinct flavours to the finished product. A high sugar content, and (fusel) alcohols from the brandy used in fortification, give Port its most distinguishing features. Subsequent ageing and blending differentiate the various Port styles. It is typically a sweet red wine, but also comes in dry, semi-dry and white varieties. However, Port is much more than this simplistic definition.

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Hip versus classic

11 May 2015 /

White blends account for some of the most celebrated top-end wines in South Africa. While Bordeaux-styled Sauvignon/Semillon blends from Vergelegen, Cape Point Vineyards and Steenberg have proved their worth over decades, a number of so-called Mediterranean blends have more recently caught the attention of consumers and critics alike.