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"Fabulous Good Value Fortified Wines To Put You In The Holiday Mood - Welcome the new year with the fortified Portuguese wines says the Forbes magazine"
Notícia in Forbes/AICEPPartilhar de 02-01-2018 12:00:00

Delicious fortified wines like Port or Madeira are a relative bargain compared with non-fortified reds and whites, and what makes them perfect for the long holiday season is their ability to deliver amazing flavors even after being opened for several weeks, and some up to a few months.
There are almost too many choices and options when it comes to wonderful fortified wines; the best traditional styles come from the Iberian peninsula, on or near the coast of Spain and Portugal. My choices for this winter are Tawny Port, dry Amontillado Sherry and Fresqueira Madeira Bual or Malmsey.

Fortified wines like Port, Sherry or Madeira, are different from spirits because they are made with grapes that were partially or fully fermented with a neutral spirit added in the middle or towards the end of fermentation. Spirits, on the other hand, go through a distillation process with base ingredients that can vary from grains, fruit or vegetables. Port is probably the most famous fortified wine, partly due to its long history with British traders. To toughen the red wine from Portugal and help it survive the sea trip to Britain, the traders in the mid 18th century fortified the red wines with brandy. Port wine followed the British wherever they settled around the world.

At the top of the Port pyramid is vintage, or bottle-aged Port. The best recent vintages – the 1994 and the 1997 – are still widely available and not that expensive at US$70-90 per bottle. The 1994s, at 24 years of age, are still powerful and young filled with ripe, plum pudding flavors; 1997 vintage is even more youthful and incredibly complex. Some will enjoy the youthful, velvety richness of these Ports even at this age, but they will keep and age beautifully over the coming 50 years. Besides vintage Port, Ruby Port, which is a fruitier, youthful, vigorous style, is also popular.

Personally, I love the wood-aged Ports, also referred to as Tawny Ports. This ready-to-enjoy style offers many options: basic Tawny aged for at least 2 years; colheita with a vintage year usually released after 10 or more years; 10 to 40-year old blended versions. This latter category indicates that the blend has at least 10, 20, 30 or 40 years of barrel aging. With longer barrel age, Port develops a lighter palate, leans more towards dried tea leaf and spicy characters compared with the younger versions, which offer notes of caramel, roasted figs and dates. The best values can be found in the 20-year old Tawny blends and my favorites include Dow’s (retail price US$40-50 per bottle) and Quinta do Noval (retail price US$70-80).

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