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Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008


Port is so named because it is most famous in the Oporto area of Portugal. It’s a fortified wine, meaning brandy or some other spirit is added during fermentation. The high-octane alcohol kills the yeast and results in a sweet, high-alcohol wine.

Ports can be made with just about any grape. Even though there are traditional Portugese varieties used to make ports, most New World winemakers use whatever they want. So in the Northwest, you will find ports made with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Muscat, Lemberger and even fruit wines such as cranberry or huckleberry. This means a port can be red or white, though most are red.

Some regions don’t use the name “port” because it is a geographical name. Thus in British Columbia, for example, a port will be given a proprietary name by the winery. For example, Sumac Ridge in Summerland, B.C., calls its port “Pipe.”