Port is a fortified wine produced from native Portuguese grapes grown along the Douro Valley, aged in warehouses in both Regua (lower Douro Valley) and Vila Nova de Gaia (directly opposite Porto). The base wine is made, fortified with grape spirit then filled into large oak vats for maturation.
Port is produced in two very different styles - Ruby and Tawny - into which most sub-categories of Port fall.
- Vintage, Late Bottled Vintage and basic Ruby Port are each matured in massive oak vats - to preserve the natural berry fruit characteristics.
- Colheita and Tawny Ports are matured in smaller (225-500L) oak barrels to encourage careful oxidative transformation - yielding deeper woody, coffee, nutty characteristics.
- Rose and White Ports also exist, for youthful drinking, and are far less common.
Cockburns, Croft, Dow's, Ferreira, Fonseca, Grahams, Kopke, Niepoort, Noval, Sandeman, Taylor's and Warre's are well known producers.
Wineries in Australia and the USA also produce what they call "Port" - fortified wines in the Port style. While many of these are exceptionally good, they are not true Ports by the legally-protected definition of having been produced exclusively in Portugal.