Most people are familiar with port wine. It comes from Portugal and you should drink it when it’s very old. Right?
While is does come from Portugal, there is a lot more to port then the fact that you should drink it old. As a matter of fact, that only applies to vintage port and there are at least 5 different categories of port – vintage port only being one of them. Traditionally, port has been made with the red grapes, touriga nacional, touriga franca and tinta roriz, foot trodden and aged in barrels they are rich, dark and generally long lived wines.
White port is made in much the same way as red port wine. The varieties used are white wine varieties and the production is the same in that a spirit is added to the fermenting wine before all fermentation is done in order to stop it. The wines are also aged in the barrel for long periods of time so that the wines achieve a deep golden colour.
Churchill’s make a most excellent white port which is great as an aperitif. White port is traditionally drunk as an aperitif mixed with tonic water in the middle of the torrid summer days of the Douro Valley. Churchill’s white port is composed of the white Portuguese varieties, Malvasia Fine, Codega, Couvelo and Ribagato. The wine is labeled as a dry aperitivo but it does have residual sugar and I would not consider it to be bone dry. It is however, a delight: a slight hazelnut and nutmeg nose, almost dry, sherry-like in character but not being as oxidized as sherry; excellent acidity with orange and tangerine flavours and a peppery finish. It was great with a handful of salted almonds and, despite having some residual sugar, was very refreshing. I loved this wine. It’s so good, you don’t even need the tonic – just drink it nicely chilled.
Churchill’s recommends it as an aperitif but I can also see it being served as an after-dinner drink; just be careful as it goes down easy. The white port is available in many fine restaurants and Churchill’s has recently launched a 20cl bottle in restaurants so that you can be sure that it’s fresh.