The Interesting History of Port Wine and What to Pair With It

The Interesting History of Port Wine and What to Pair With It

port wine undiscovered kitchen artisan

Port wine is a great drink to finish off the night. The history of how port wine is made is almost as complex as the depth of flavors.

Port wine manages to fly under the radar in a world of pinots, cabernets, and rosés. Obviously if you’re a wine connoisseur, you are probably very aware of the delights of port wine.

For those of us who are wine novices or are just getting into the wine scene, port wine really deserves a shoutout.

Port wine comes from Portugal, but became popular in England. The first record of port wine being referred to by that name was in 1678.

The journey across the sea from Portugal to England is a long one, especially when transporting wine that should be untampered and stored in a cool place. The process of creating the wine is not a typical one, but it creates a full bodied wine with complex flavors.

The Process

According to sommelier Jason Tesauro, the process of creating port wine is completely different than any other wine.

Port is made by adding aguardiente to the wine. Aguardiente can be classified by any alcohol with 30-60 percent alcohol. Adding the aguardiente halts fermentation and preserves the desired level of sweetness. The addition of the aguardiente affects the mouth feel, according to Tesauro.

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The Varieties

Much like any wine, not all port wines are the same.


There are many classifications that depend upon the length of aging in bottle and/or wood – from none (Ruby) to several decades (30-year Tawny).

One of the most incredible things about any wine, is the discrepancies between different grapes from different regions.

Port wine is specifically interesting, because of its taste. When you first smell port wine, you get notes of cinnamon, almost like fireball. When you take the first sip, it’s smooth and sweet.

Pairings at Your Next Meal

The contrast of the smell that first hits your nose and the taste that first hits your mouth is quite diverse, yet exciting. This makes port wine the perfect addition to any after dinner pairings.

Any dessert pairs well with the unique taste of port wine. We suggest these options from the Undiscovered Kitchen website to really appreciate the full flavors of the wine.

The Vegan Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Turmeric Truffles from Nicobella Organics is sure to bring out the cinnamon flavors in the wine.

A Stroopwafel dipped in chocolate with pecans sounds great on it’s own, but it would also pair nicely with a sip of port wine. Stroopie Co. has a gift pack of these delicious treats that you won’t want to miss out on. Stroopwafels are sweet and thin, and the contrast in texture with the pecans mirrors the complex flavors of the wine itself.

Cinnamon Pecan Cookies from Grey Ghost Bakery would certainly pair well with a glass of port. Much like the truffles, the cinnamon cookie will bring out the cinnamon flavor in the wine.

Jessica Citronberg
Jessica is a senior at Boston University. When she’s not standing on chairs at restaurants trying to get the best angle for food photos, she’s searching Instagram for her next culinary adventure. You can follow her on Instagram @jesscitron and you can check out her website to see more of her work.

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