Port wines are some of the most luxurious and sought-after wines that are available on the market today, they are usually consumed in extremely small quantities meaning you are unlikely to finish a bottle in one sitting. Many people are new to the wine industry and therefore may be rather confused when it comes to the different types of wines, port wine in particular. Throughout this blog, we are going to guide you on some of the most important considerations that you should make when planning on storing port wine, especially for the first time.
Port wine is a type of Portuguese wine dating back to the 17th century. After a war rendered french wine unattainable, port wine became increasingly popular throughout the 18th century due to its sweet aroma and flavour.
Port wine is often referred to as “fortified” due to its aversion to the effects of shipping for the most part, this is because alcohol was added due to regularly imported Portuguese wine being spoiled when it arrived on English Shores. Since then, port wine remains a delicacy for people all over the world and specifically for wine connoisseurs in Britain.
There are various different types of port wine that you may wish to choose from, all having their own discernable features like the taste, smell and colour.
This is the most common type of port wine and can be found in many parts of the world. It is stored in concrete or steel containers after the fermentation process to reduce the risk of oxidisation occurring before the wine has hit the shelves. This is a type of wine that does not generally improve with age, however, is sometimes subject to taste changes over time.
Tawny ports are made from red grapes and are traditionally stored in wooden barrels which does not shield them from the oxidisation process, however, for this wine, this is a good thing. As a result of the oxygen exposure, they become a brownish-gold colour and give off a sort of sweet nutty flavour. These are usually consumed as “dessert” wines. Aged tawny ports are usually stored for around 3-7 years due to the oxidation process putting a limit on the amount of time that they can be stored before being put on the shelves.
White port wine is made from white grapes and is able to be used as many different types of wine. While not seen all that regularly, with many people opting for its red counterpart, it is still immensely popular in many areas of the world. White port tends to come in two distinct styles: sweet and dry. The most traditional of these is the sweet version, which is often more rich and grapey as opposed to the dry which has more of a nutty flavour.
Many people may worry about the best course of action when it comes to storing their brand-new bottle of port wine, especially if it is an expensive and delicate one. However, you have no reason to worry! Port wines can be stored in the same environment as any other type of wine, preferably in a cool but not cold area such as a wine cellar.
Bottles of port wine can be very sensitive to changes in temperature and light meaning that port is usually best stored in a dark place at a consistent temperature. This is why it is very important to store them in the correct conditions, to ensure that none of their exquisite flavour is lost.
We recommend that you store your port wine in a wine fridge or a wine cabinet for ageing - these appliances can provide the perfect environment for your wine, protecting it from humidity, and sunlight, and of course, maintaining a consistent temperature.
The shelf life of port wine is rather long compared to other types of wine due to the additional alcohol that has been added. This stops the fermentation process from occurring leaving much longer-lasting wines for your storage collection.
Most of the time, however, ruby and tawny port wines are shipped and put out for consumption when they are ready to drink making these rather difficult to continue ageing effectively, as they are released at the point at which is best to drink them.
This is not the case with vintage ports as they are the exception to this generalisation. These wines continue to get better with age with many producers of the wines keeping them off the shelves for years, sometimes decades, at a time. After this, vintage ports are able to be refrigerated and stored by the owner after it has been purchased.
Port wines can be stored in wine fridges for short periods of time, preferably not long before serving. A wine cooler can be utilised in all sorts of ways, especially a dual zone wine cooler and are perfect for storing ports of all kinds due to its dual temperature zones and the control you can have over them.
Despite this, it is important to note that this is specific to wine fridges, and normal refrigerators should not be used for your port wine for very long periods, as we have previously stated.
To summarise, port wines are very easily stored in your home without the need for barrels or tubs to keep them fresh for a long time. Keeping port wine out of your kitchen refrigerator is imperative to keeping your wine fresh and retaining its rich flavour although storing it here for short periods before serving to make it cool will still retain its desirable properties. If you would like any more information or would like to discuss things with a specialist, you can explore our website where you will find our regional contact details to talk to a member of our team!