Fortified Wines: Port and Sherry Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Fortified Wines: Port and Sherry Deck (42)
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What does it mean when a wine is fortified?

When a wine is fortified, alcohol is added to the wine to:

  • Protect it from spoiling
  • Bolster its body, warmth, and sturdiness

The alcohol added is usually a neutral grape spirit.


Name 2 styles of fortified wines.

  1. Port
  2. Sherry


Ports are fortified ___ fermentation.

Sherries are fortified ___ fermentation.

Ports = during fermentation

Sherries = after fermentation


Regarding sweetness vs. dryness:

Port is always ___.



Why is Port is always sweet?

Port is always sweet because fermentation is interrupted and stopped by the addition of alcohol (neutral grape spirit) which kills the yeasts, leaving the wine very sweet and high in alcohol.


Where does Port come from?

Port comes from the Douro region in northeast Portugal; specifically, it comes from the Upper Douro.

"Upper" meaning the up-river direction of the Douro River, which flows from Spain through Portugal into the Atlantic.


Is Port wine usually a single varietal or a blend?


Local black grapes are what traditionally constitute the blend of Port.


Is Port wine usually a single vintage or a blend of vintages?

Usually a blend of vintages.


It's the maturation process of Port that determines ___.

what style of Port the wine will be.


List the most ubiquitous styles of Port.

Of these, which style is going to be the most oxidative?

  1. Ruby-style Ports
  2. Ruby Port
  3. Reserve Ruby Port
  4. LBV Port (Late Bottled Vintage)
  5. Vintage Port
  6. Tawny-style Ports (most oxidative)


Which styles of Port are the most simple, straightforward and fruity?

  • Ruby-style
  • Ruby


How are Reserve Ruby Ports different from Ruby Ports?

Reserve Ruby Ports generally are of higher quality than Ruby Ports.

Better grapes are used and they are matured longer than Ruby Ports.

Remember: maturation determines the style of Port, not the grapes.


What does LBV stand for?

Late Bottled Vintage

LBV Ports are wines from a single vintage, but they spend a few years in oak before being bottled.


How do LBV Ports differ from Vintage Ports?


  • Good quality grapes from a single vintage
  • Aged for several years in oak before bottled
  • Flavor falls somewhere between fruity Ruby and mellow Tawny
  • Do not require decanting
  • Do not need further bottle aging
  • Made in good, but not great, vintages
  • Moderately priced


  • Highest-quality grapes from a single vintage
  • Aged just a few years in oak before bottled
  • Flavor is intense, concentrated, and complex
  • Require decanting
  • Require bottle aging
  • Made only in exceptional vintages
  • Expensive


Which is likely to have higher tannins, more sediment, and greater concentration: LBV or Vintage Port?

Vintage Port

LBV spends more time in cask than Vintage Port so it is exposed to more oxygen, its tannins resolve, and its sediment precipitates out while in oak.


Are Vintage Ports made every single year?


Vintages have to be "declared" by Port producers in the Douro and are declared only in exceptional vintages.


Where do Tawny Ports get their tawny color?


Tawny Ports spend years, sometimes decades, in small oak casks, exposing the wine to extensive amounts of oxygen.  This oxidation turns the wine color from red to brown-ish (tawny).


Describe the profile of a Tawny Port.

  • Sweet
  • High alcohol
  • Full body
  • Dried fruits
  • Oxidative flavors (nuts, caramel)


What are some of the age indications seen on Tawny Ports?

  • 10 Year
  • 20 Year
  • 30 Year
  • 40 Year

The older the age indication, the more complex, brown in color, and oxidative it will be.


Where is Sherry produced?

In southwestern Spain in and around the town of Jerez de la Frontera.


Is Sherry made in a singular style or a broad range of styles?

Sherry is made in a broad range of styles, from pale and bone dry to opaque and sticky sweet.


What are the 2 prominent grapes used in Sherry?

  1. Palomino
  2. Pedro Ximénez


What is the grape in PX?

Pedro Ximénez


What is the grape in Fino, Oloroso, and Amontillado Sherries?



How is PX (Pedro Ximénez) made?

Pedro Ximénez grapes are dried in the sun prior to fermentation to concentrate the sugars.

After fortification the wine is aged oxidatively, which is where it gets its opaque, near-black color from and intense prune and coffee-like flavors.


Not only is PX its own style of Sherry, it is also used as a ___.

sweetening agent for Cream Sherries.


Besides PX, what are 3 other styles of sweet Sherry?

  1. Pale
    • made from Fino
  2. Medium
    • made from Amontillado
  3. Cream
    • made from Oloroso


In Sherry, what is the step following fortification?

Aging in a solera system.


Describe a solera system.

A fractional blending system which has levels, or rows, of old oak barrels that hold wines at varying stages of development.

The wines in the barrels are regularly blended together as they age to ensure a consistent style for the house.


What are the 3 most important styles of dry Sherry?

  1. Fino
  2. Oloroso
  3. Amontillado