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Port wine comes in several varieties but it’s most basic form is Tawny (white) and Ruby (red) Port. Port wine or “port” is usually not a staple at homes, but sometimes, if your recipe calls for it, there are substitute for port wine you can buy in grocery markets.
Read on to know more about the best Port wine substitutes you have no idea about.
What Is Port Wine?
Port wine is usually enjoyed as a pairing with desserts because of its sweet and rich taste. As mentioned a while ago, Tawny and Ruby are its most basic forms but it has two other varieties which are Rose and White Port. There are finer ports that are highly valuable for sipping and can cost several hundred dollars.
To know more about port wine, watch the video below
Making Port Wine
While there are newer methods to make Port wine, the classic method of making port wine includes the use of lagers, which are vats that open shallow and are used to crush grapes with.
All kinds of port wines start out in the same process by...
Picking by hand
For 2000 years, most of the Port wine process is done by mechanized methods: destemming grapes with automated lagars. The one thing a machine can’t do is picking the right grapes.
Picking the right grapes are done by destemming and fermenting them together. The one thing that’s important is the right moment when it was picked. Usually, they pick it when the vineyard already smells of strong grape scent.
Crushing the grapes in a lagar
After picking the grapes they are crushed in the lagars. Lagers are open-top, wide fermenting tanks made from concrete or stone. In Douro, Portugal lagars are made from granite.
The process of crushing the grapes is either by mechanization -- this process may take up to 3 days. After 3 days, the output will be transferred into a fermentation vat where they continue to ferment until the optimal sugar level is reached.
Port wine isn’t really fermented. Instead, the fermentation stops when ideal sugar levels are reached.
When spirits are added, the yeasts can’t survive because fermentation stops. Winemakers add brandy into the vats of Port wine so that the yeast “go to sleep”. Most of the time, 30% brandy is added.
The use of lagars is an ancient method but the video below is a more modern way of making Port wine.
5 Substitutes For Port Wine
Because Port wine is sweet and fruity in flavor, it can be substituted with Chianti. Like Port wine, Chianti also has a sweet and fruity flavor with hints of cherry. Keep in mind that the acidity of Chianti will cut through the richness of the fat so use it carefully.
Zinfandel is popular among people who aren’t fans of alcoholic beverages because it has a fruity flavor with medium acidity. It can be a substitute for Port wine however, since it has one of lowest alcoholic contents, the texture of the food will change especially if you use it with sauces.
This wine can serve as a replacement for Port wine when you’re in a hurry. Like Port wine, it also resembles a fruity flavor which is great for combining with other ingredients. Its full bodied qualities bring it close to Port wine in texture.
White Zinfandel isn’t literally white but rather a drier version of vintage Zinfandel. Because of this, It also has a fruity flavor that is a great substitution for Port wine. Like the vintage Zinfandel above, it’s low in alcoholic content so keep in mind that it might change the texture of your food when used in cooking.
Riesling is one of the most aromatic wines on this list and has a sweet and tart fruity flavor. It has a high alcoholic content and goes well with poultry, just like Port wine.
Chardonnay is very acidic and has a low alcoholic content, which goes well with seafoods like salmon, shrimp, mussels, and poultry dishes that use cream.
How Long Does Port Last When Opened?
A vintage Port will stay fresh for about 1 to 2 weeks when opened. A Ruby port will stay fresh for about 2 weeks as well and a Tawny port will stay fresh for months! You may preserve it properly inside the chiller.
Tip: Keep your Port wines or any wines (for that matter) in a cool dark place and use a vacuum preserver to remove the oxygen.
How long Does Port Age Inside The Cellar
A basic vintage Port is made to age a very long time. There are highly-prized vintage Ports aged for 100 years! However, the Ports we see in supermarkets are bottled to be opened when purchased. Usually, ir takes a year or two to age this kind of Port.
To know the difference between a vintage Port to a regular Port, look at the cork. Usually, a vintage port has a long cork, while a regular one has a “drink now” plastic-topped cork cap.
Recipe: T-Bone With Port Wine Sauce
Cooking Time: 25 Minutes
- Bring shallots, Port, Garlic, and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan; boil until reduced in half. Add the chicken broth, and return to boil and reduce again to half. When liquid is reduced, lower the heat to medium, stir in the plum preserves, salt, pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
- Mix the coriander, garlic powder, remaining salt, and pepper and sprinkle all over the meat.
- Place a cast iron skillet on the stove at medium-high temperature. When smoke appears, place oil. Carefully place meat and cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Puncture a meat thermometer on the thickest part of the meat. If the temperature reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, quickly remove meat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve T-bone with the sauce on top. Enjoy!
Port wine is unique on its own because of its sweet and fruity flavor, so replacing it is not easy. But, i’m barely scratching the surface with Port.
Enjoy Port like you enjoy any other wine. Note its color, taste the acidity and sweetness, and smell the aroma. If you feel like you’re an expert, try other types of ports and introduce it to your friends and family.
Did you find this article useful? What Port wine substitute/s have you tried and loved? Feel free to comment below! Don’t forget to share this post. Take care folks!