Port wine (por. Vinho do Porto), or port, is a Portuguese dessert wine. Because it is fortified, port has a higher alcohol and sugar content than regular wine. In the United States, wines labeled "port" may come from anywhere in the world, while in Europe port carries a protected designation of origin. This means that only the product from Portugal may be labeled as port or Porto.
According to Wikipedia, port is typically richer, sweeter, heavier, and higher in alcohol content than unfortified wines. It is usually considered a dessert wine and is often served at between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius (59° to 68° Fahrenheit) after meals with cheese, nuts or chocolate.1
White and tawny ports are often served chilled as an apéritif.
You can add a lot of flavor to cooked dishes by adding port. Use inexpensive types when you cook with port, for example, basic ruby or tawny ports. You can add port to vegetables when you cook them, use it to enhance sauces, and include it in salad dressings, marmalades, or chutneys. Add it to baked goods like stollen and use it when caramelizing plum compote.
You can purchase port at online retailers, quality liquor stores, and some grocery stores.
Port, like other wine, should be stored in a cool (10-12 °C, or 50-54°F), dark location such as a cellar, with the bottle laid on its side if it has a cork, or standing up if it is stoppered.
Once opened, port generally lasts longer than unfortified wine, but it is still best consumed within a short period of time. Old vintage port, which is generally more expensive port, loses nuance and character over time and should be drunk relatively quickly, but young vintage ports can be kept open for several weeks.
Port wine contains about 15 g alcohol, 12 g sugar and a mineral content of 0.3 g. Port may have an alcoholic strength by volume between 19 and 22%.
Its high alcohol and sugar content is caused by the addition of distilled grape spirits to fortify the wine and halt fermentation before all the sugar is converted to alcohol, and results in a wine that is usually 19% to 20% alcohol.1
According to Wikipedia, alcohol is a vasodilator and can cause migraines in some people.
Histamine is present in a variety of fermented products including wine. Red wine has 20–200% more histamine than white wine and those who are allergic to it may be deficient in the enzyme diamine oxidase. This can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, dry eyes, migraines, and cluster headaches.1,2
True port is produced from grapes grown in Portugal’s Douro valley. Until 1986 it could only be exported from Portugal from Vila Nova de Gaia near Porto, Portugal's second-largest city.
The wine received its name, "port," in the later half of the 17th century from the seaport city of Porto at the mouth of the Douro River, where much of the product was brought to market or for export to other countries in Europe. The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, and the name Douro thus an official appellation, in 1756, making it the third oldest, after Chianti (1716) and Tokaj (1730).1
In the United States, wines labeled "port" may come from anywhere in the world, while in Europe port carries a protected designation of origin. This means that only the product from Portugal may be labeled as port or Porto.1
Port is typically a fortified sweet red dessert wine produced from grapes grown and processed in the demarcated Douro region. Though less common, it also comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente. This stops the fermentation process, leaves residual sugar in the wine, and boosts the alcohol content. The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy, but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged for at least two, but for a maximum of six years. Port from Portugal can be divided into two broad categories: