Port is a fortified wine, as defined in EU legislation. It is produced in the Douro Demarcated Region under very specific conditions resulting from natural and human factors. The winemaking procedures, based on traditional methods, include stopping the fermentation of the must by adding grape brandy (benefício), blending and ageing the wine.
Port stands out from other wines due to its unique characteristics: an enormous variety of types that surprise us with the wealth and intensity of their incomparable aromas, a highly persistent bouquet and flavour, a high alcohol content (usually between 19 and 22% vol.), a vast range of degrees of sweetness and an assortment of colours. There is a set of categories that identify the different types of Port.
The different types of red Port vary in colour from deep purple to light gold, with a range of intermediary hues (tawny, golden tawny, golden and light gold). White Port comes in various shades (pale yellow, straw and golden white), all closely related to the winemaking technique used. When aged in cask for many years, White Ports acquire, through natural oxidation, a golden hue that is very similar to that of a very old Tawny.
In terms of sweetness, Port can be very sweet, sweet, semi-dry or extra dry. Just how sweet a wine will be is a choice made during production, and depends on when the brandy is added to stop the fermentation of the wine.