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What is white Port? – ask Decanter

How it differs from other styles and expert advice on how to make an alternative version of a gin & tonic.

One of Portugal’s best-kept secrets, white Ports are fortified wines made from white grapes, such as Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Códega and Rabigato.

‘Most are bottled young but some whites are capable of wood age and may now be bottled with the same age indications as tawny Ports or as a colheita,’ said Richard Mayson, in his guide to Port styles.

With a lighter style than red Ports, plus flavours of citrus fruit and peel, stone fruit and nuts, they make a refreshing option for summer drinking – particularly with tonic.

How to make a white Port and tonic

Although having a similar sweetness level to gin, a white Port and tonic – also called a Portonic or Porto Tonico – is a lower-alcohol option to your usual G&T. Most white Ports clock in at around 20% abv instead of gin’s 40% abv.

To mix up your own at home, fill a highball glass or wine glass with ice. Add 50ml of white Port, top up with 100ml of a quality tonic water and stir gently to mix. Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon.

If you’d prefer an easy life, several Port houses have recently launched ready-to-drink versions in cans. First came Taylor’s Chip Dry & Tonic (£2-£2.95, EW Wines, Harvey Nichols, Portugal Vineyards, The Champagne Company; Alc 5.5%) a crisp, dry and refreshing aperitif that’s lovely with salted almonds.

Other options include Offley Clink Portonic, Cockburn’s Portonic and Croft Pink & Tonic, made with rosé Port.

Clement Robert MS recommends fortified wines in wine cocktails because ‘they are lighter than liqueurs and spirits but they have the necessary strength to give the whole drink a delicious lift.’


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