There are many varieties of wines, white wines such as Chardonnay, Red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sparkling wines such as French Champagne. However, two other varieties of wine are on the rise, they are called Port and Sherry.
Port and Sherry fall under the category of fortified wines, and they are gaining popularity worldwide. As a result, wine experts predict that the demand for Port and Sherry wines will significantly increase over the next five to six years.
One of the reasons we are seeing a rise in the demand for Port and Sherry wines is because alcohol consumption is increasing in developing countries, so the trends and patterns are changing. However, some major barriers can halt the production and consumption of Port and Sherry wines, and we will address them in this review.
Climate change and restrictions imposed by governments are the two main barriers that can cause problems for Sherry and Port wine production. Nonetheless, the demand for the wines is still expected to increase.
According to the forecasts, there will be a 4 % rise in Sherry and Port wine consumption in the next few years. It is also speculated that by the time 2024 ends, fortified wines will be worth a whopping $ 53 billion.
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Differences between Port and Sherry Wine
The major differences between the two wines are:
- Sherry originated in the Spanish region of Jerez de la Frontera. Port comes from an area in Portugal called the valley of Douro.
- Solera ageing method is used to produce Sherry. Port is produced by adding fortified spirit during the ageing process.
- Sherry comes in two varieties; Dry and Sweet. Port has a sweet flavor.
Why Were Fortified Wines Created?
Fortified wines weren’t created recently; they’ve been around for a while now. However, why were they created? Before modern refrigerators were invented, transporting wine was troublesome as the wine would be spoiled during the travel. In addition, most wine bottles weren’t sealed properly, and it was impossible to keep them cool.
The winemakers came up with a solution, they increased the alcohol content in the wines, and this technique enabled the wines to last long travel routes. Initially, there were a lot of critics of fortified wines, but with time they were accepted.
What is Fortified Wine?
Let’s understand some basics about fortified wines; they come with a higher quantity of alcohol than normal wines; this is done by adding brandy or distilled alcohol. However, most people have little or no knowledge about fortified wines.
How Does the Fortified Wine Vary Worldwide?
There are several versions of fortified wines worldwide, and they vary from country to country. In America, most fortified wines only contain alcohol derived from fruits. In some parts of the world, distilled alcohol made of sugar cane or beets is added to fortified wines. The flavor of the fortified also has a lot of variation.
However, can wine in general be considered healthy? Unfortunately, the evidence of the health benefits in most wines is mixed. Still, some studies show that antioxidants and silicone in some Red wines reduces the risk of strokes, heart and cholesterol-related diseases.
Is Fortified Wine Considered Healthy?
Fortified wines have similar health benefits to the red wines discussed above; however, they do carry more calories and have a sweet flavor. Sherry and Port wines are considered dessert wines because of their sweetness.
Do Fortified Wines Generally Have a Sweet Flavor?
No! There are varieties of fortified wines that are not sweet, as some variants of the wine are dry. The manufacturing process of dry and sweet fortified wines is similar; however, to sweeten the flavor of the wine, winemakers add distilled spirits. There are also light and dark varieties of Port and Sherry wines.
Below are some varieties of fortified wines:
- Sherry: Wine from Spain.
- Port: Wine from Portugal.
- Madeira: Wine from an autonomous Portuguese region in North-Western Africa.
- Marsal: Wine from Italy, originated in Sicily.
Sherry comes from a region of Spain called Jerez de la Frontera. It is a combination of three grape varieties;
- Palomino Fino (Most commonly used variety)
- Pedro Ximenez
The fermentation process of Sherry is known as Solera, in which younger varieties of wine are added to the older wine; this leads to a blend of both young and old wines. Typically the Sherry wine falls under two categories:
- Sweet or Dry
- Non-Oxidative or Oxidative
Port wine has a lot of varieties such as Rose, White and Tawny Port. Port wine always has a sweet flavor and is produced in the valley of the Douro in Portugal. The Port wine like Sherry, is made from a combination of grapes, and their names are:
- Tinta Barroca
- Touriga Nacional
- Touriga Franca
- Tinta Cao
- Tinta Roriz
Each type of flavor found in the Port wine is derived from the different grapes. Port wine often contains vanilla, raspberry, cinnamon and blueberry notes. Port wine is also a fortified wine, and it is made when the fortified spirit is added to the wine, sweetening the flavor. Port wine contains a high quantity of alcohol.
Traditionally, port wine was dried near the Douro River, however, now there are several wineries in the Port area, and they all do the fermentation on their own. There are more than 52 types of Port wines.
Fortified wines are not that expensive and come at an affordable price. However, the prices still vary depending on the type of wine.
- Sherry: The price range of Sherry is quite diverse; you can get a bottle under $5. However, aged Sherry is much more expensive and will cost you hundreds of dollars. This is because the fermentation process of Sherry can last for decades or even a century. The average price of Sherry wine sits in the range of $ 15 to $ 25.
Port: Most Port wines have a reasonable price; they come with a price tag of under $6. However, some Port varieties can cost you thousands of dollars, such as Vintage Port. The normal price for Port is usually below $ 20.