port (wine)

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port [from Oporto], fortified wine made in Portugal from grapes grown in the Douro valley; Portuguese law allows only this wine to be called port. Various grapes are blended by the growers, and brandy is added before fermentation is complete. In the spring the casks are brought to Oporto and Villa Nova, where the wines are blended and stored. Vintage port is wine of an exceptional year, kept in cask for two or three years, then matured in bottles—much of it for 25 years. Ruby port, generally a blend of wines of different vintages, is stored in wood and bottled before it loses its clear, red color. Tawny port remains longer in the cask, losing some color and alcohol. Crusted port is vintage or ruby port kept in bottles until it has formed a crustlike sediment. So-called white port is a sweet, amber-colored port matured in wood. Port is sometimes artificially colored with caramelized wine or berry juice.

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port5 red (also white) wine of Portugal. XVII. Short for †Oporto wine, later †Oporto, †Porto, prop. wine from Oporto (Pg. O Porto ‘the port’; see PORT1), the chief port of shipment for Portuguese wines.