Our Guide to Port Wine & Top 5 Best Port Wine Under $30

best port wine

Many people don’t give port wine a chance. It might be the most misunderstood wine.Normally after finishing dinner, most people overlook and skip it on the dessert menu. But WHY?Well most of the time its because its one, several, or all of these reasons:

It's Too Syrupy, Too Sweet, Too Rich, Too Heavy

Well, I completely understand. But quite frankly it’s the BEST and one of the ONLY types of wine that can pair well with the sweetness of dessertSo give it a try next time you’re having dessert =)

I love it! It really pairs well with any dessert. And it's also a great way to finish the evening!

Table of Contents

What's Port Wine?

porto, portugal

Port wine, also known as vinho do Porto, is a fortified red wine from the Portugal’s Duoro Valley (valleys of northern Portugal). Its distinctly sweet taste makes it a prized dessert wine with many variations to offer.

Though it holds a reputation for being an opulent drink, there are some keenly priced Port wines that are just as indulgent. And you can find our Top 5 list below…

How is Port Wine Made?

After the grapes are harvested, they are pressed and fermented; since Port wine is fortified, a neutral grape spirit is added. The addition of a neutral distillate kills off the yeast while leaving the residual sugars in the wine and increases its alcohol content to 19 – 20%.  

What is Fortified Wine?

port wine made

Different Types Of Ports

There are at least 52 varieties of Port, so there’s definitely a version to suit your palate; here are some of the most popular Port styles:

  • Most Affordable Port 
  • Ruby Port is aged for 3-5 years
  • Drink young
  • Blend of youthful Ruby Port wines providing fruity notes

Late-Bottled Vintage Port (LBV)

  • Single Vintage Port
  • Aged in a barrel for 4 to 6 years
  • Sweet and fragranced sips

Vintage Port

  • Single-vintage Port
  • Most esteemed Port are vintage ports
  • Vintage port spends 2 to 3 years aged in a barrel
  • Then aged for up to 50 years in large wooden vats (normally 20-40 years)
  • Crusted Port – unfiltered in processing and forms a residual layer with rich and spicy flavor
Single Quinta Port (SQVP)

Same grapes, single-vintage port from one vineyard (quinta). This makes SQVP so exclusive and gives it its notable high-quality taste.   

  • Tawny port is close to a deep Mahogany hue (tawny color)
  • Tawny ports age exceptionally well
  • Tastes of caramel, chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit by the influence of the wooden casks it is aged in for 10 to 40 years. Generally the older the better but it’s more about personal taste.

Rosé port

  • Distinctly pink 

  • Wonderfully fragrant

  • Hints of berry and caramel. 

White Port

  • Youngest Port 
  • White port is aged between 18 months to 3 years
  • White port is aged in wooden tanks 
  • Tastes of apple and other stone fruits with a hint of nuttiness. 

How To Serve Port?

1) Serve at the Right Temperature

The best temperature to serve Port depends on its intensity. An easy tip to follow is refrigerating the wine for 30 minutes before pouring it out.  

  • Lighter Ports are best served at 55 to 60 degrees F
  • Full-flavored Ports between 60 to 65 degrees F

Believe it or not, the port glass in which you serve Port can drastically change your drinking experience, and it’s been backed up by science. 

Scientists have shown that the geometry of a glass affects how vapor rises from the wine which influences how it tastes. 

This introduces Port glasses, shrunken wine glasses with narrow mouths which hinder evaporation and promote flavor. 

Normal wine and sparkling wine glasses are fair substitutes as well.   

3) What are Complementary Foods to Port?

Rosé and white Port go well with fresher and lighter desserts such as; fresh fruit, Strawberry rhubarb tart, or lemon meringue pie.

Tawny and Ruby Port are well coupled with creamier and richer flavors like; apple pie, dark chocolate cake, or cheesecake.

Additionally, the white and rosé wines can complement a selection of savory foods, mainly seafood like; lobster, oysters, or crab. 

4) How Long Does Port Last After Opening?

The neutral distillate in Port acts as a preservative, which extends the wine’s shelf life after opening it. Younger Tawny and Ruby Ports can last up to 6 weeks after being opened and stored in cool and dark conditions. Some Ports can last up to 12 weeks after being opened, so you can have as much time to relish them.

What are the Top 5 Best Port Wine under $30*?

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grape reserve port

A refined medium-bodied Tawny Port with a caramel and flan fragrance, subtly tasting of toffee.  

red wine port

An aged blend of older wines with notes of orange peel, salted caramel, and Madeira honey cake. This is a serving of Graham’s mastery over rich flavors.

fresh flavor wine taste wine cellar cigar box

Sandeman’s 10 year old Tawny Port wine taste boasts ripe red fruit flavors featuring jams, nuts, and vanilla with a resounding oak taste. 

The result of a slow maturation in oakwood presents Ferreira Dona Antonia’s intricate Tawny Port that features marmalade, plum, and apricot notes entwined with floral strokes. 

Spells of baked toffee, layered in notes of hazelnut, describe this rich Port by Kopke.

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