Of all the varieties of port, ruby port is arguably the smoothest. Many wine drinkers unfamiliar with the world of port can easily enjoy glasses of this sweet, deep red wine. Sampling ruby port is a fantastic way for wine drinkers to become familiar with port wine, and though often less complex than their tawny cousins, good ruby wines can also be appreciated by port connoisseurs.
Ruby port (made from the grapes Toriga Francesca, Toriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Barrocca, and Tinto Cao) is a bright, deep red-colored wine. Rather than being made from a blend of grapes harvested during one given season, ruby port utilizes grapes that come from many vintages. The blend is then aged in wooden casks for around three years prior to bottling. A sweet wine, you should expect your glass to be brimming with red cherry and fresh plum flavors. Its finish should be long, smooth, and very warm; port is the perfect nightcap to a date on a cool, spring night!
Unlike most other wines, ruby port needs to be enjoyed shortly after it is has been bottled. (Remember, it already spent nearly three years maturing in a wooden cask.) Because of this, when looking for bottles of ruby port in your local wine shop, be wary of older bottles; they will almost always be disappointing. If you’re unsure about which bottle of ruby port to take home, attend a tasting and try a few glasses of different rubies before making your selection. If your area wine shop doesn’t offer many opportunities to taste port, consider ordering a glass of ruby with your dessert the next time you go out for dinner. Bring a pad of paper, and take a few notes. If you’re out with others, convince everyone in your party to order a different ruby port so you can sample and compare them. (Now, that’s fun!) Though less expensive than other port wines, ruby port serves as an excellent introduction to the world of port. When you do find a bottle that suits your fancy, remember to enjoy it with appropriate glassware such as Riedel Sommeliers Vintage Port Glasses. Cheers!
Stay tuned for our next post--we'll tell you what to look for in Tawny Port as well!