hist-brewing: Re: port

Jeff Renner nerenner at umich.edu
Tue Sep 19 08:37:52 PDT 2000

>From: PBLoomis at aol.com
>     Why stop it, rather than letting it run to completion?
>     Takes quite a bit of 80-proof brandy, doesn't it?
>     Can I bottle it then, and age it in the bottles?  Or does it need more
>carboy time?
>     Scotti

This is what makes it a sweet wine - all the unfermented sugars.  The 
best port, Vintage Port, is aged for a year or two in barrels, then 
bottled and allowed to age for many years in bottles, where it throws 
quite a crusty sediment.  Ruby Port is aged a bit longer in barrels 
and is ready to drink when bottled.  Tawny port is aged many more 
years in the barrel until it has lost much of its color, then bottled.

From: Kirsty Pollock <kirsty.pollock at mpuk.com>

>I was under the impression that port ISN'T fortified with anything. I recall
>reading about port production in portugal in one of my books, but can't
>remember the exact details or whether I am confusing part of it with sherry
>production. I shall have a check when I get home tonight as I could well be

No, it is definitely fortified.  From my trusty old Alexis Lechine's 
new Encyclopedia of Wines and spirits (not so new now, 1974), p. 372:

"Originally, Portuguese wine was not fortified (as most of it is not 
today) but was harsh and raw and did not travel well.  Duoro wines 
were imported into seventeenth-century England for reasons of 
government policy, but were not liked.  Then port began to be treated 
with brandy, probably to help it travel, possibly to make it more 
competitive with gin.  By the middle of the eighteenth-century, the 
Port shippers were learning to make the matured and balanced 
fortified wine we know now.  The brandy arrested the fermentation of 
the sugar into alcohol, retaining some of the sweetness.  It is 
interesting to know that Port is fortified up to 20%, so that today a 
bottle of Port is 20% brandy."

Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, c/o nerenner at umich.edu
"One never knows, do one?"  Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

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