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Food - Drink
The Long Journey That Contributed To The Accidental Invention Of Port
Port is a fortified wine that comes in red, tawny, white, and rosé varieties, but most ports are either dryer, chocolatey reds or caramel tawny types. These wines can be aged for years or decades, resulting in complex fruity, buttery, and caramel notes, and it's hard to believe that such a refined drink was invented by accident.
In the 1600s, a ban on French wine in England due to wartime turned the British towards Portuguese wines, but the wines scouted by merchants had to travel a long way back to England. As Rick Steves' Europe claims, two British brothers decided to mix Portuguese wine with brandy to help preserve it during their long journey.
To this day, port is still a wine fortified with brandy or grape spirits after the beginning of fermentation which kills yeast, resulting in a sweeter, boozier taste (via Wine Tourism). It's no wonder that the aging period for vintage port can go up to four decades — this is an alcohol that has been made for the long haul.