by Beth Heiserman
Port is a Portuguese fortified wine which must be made in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. It is generally consumed as a dessert wine, as it can be very sweet and decadent. There are several types of port: red, white, rosé and an aged style called tawny port, plus there are dry and semi-dry varieties. Fortified wines may be produced anywhere in the world, but only those from Portugal can be labeled “port.”
Ruby port is the least expensive and most widely produced type of port. After fermentation it is stored in tanks, and premium ruby is aged in barrels for at least four years. Aged tawny ports are wines aged in barrels that have gradual oxidation and some evaporation. Because of the oxidation, it is golden in color and tends to have nutty notes. This can be aged for 10, 20, 30 or more years.
There is also a colheita port, which is a single vintage wine fortified and aged in tawny style for at least seven years. On the label, instead of noting the number of years it was aged, it includes the year the grapes were harvested. On our Sweet Serenity label it states it is a 2009 Muscat, and although we didn’t age it for seven years before bottling, it would be considered a vintage port. The Reyes Winery Sweet Serenity won a Gold Medal & Best in Class in the 2014 Long Beach Grand Cru and a Bronze Medal in the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition.
Our 2009 Muscat dessert wine has been aged into an old world style dessert wine and has just the right touch of wood. It has aromas of burnt caramel, dried apricots and candied ginger. It pairs well with soft cheeses after dinner or cinnamon sugared zeppolli.