A surprising number of “seasoned” wine drinkers will admit that they know little-to-nothing when it comes to port wine—this is both a sin and a shame. Port is an amazingly easy wine to enjoy and comes in varieties to suit all occasions and pocketbooks. It’s a great entry point into wine appreciation for novice vino heads as well!

Port is produced in the Douro region of Portugal. It is a sweet wine that comes in dry, semi-dry and white varieties and has a small amount of brandy added during fermination. While port is often served as a dessert wine, full-bodied types pair well with main courses while tawny and white varieties are perfect before meals.You’ll come to identify a good port via its sweet taste and heavier mouth feel than typical red wine.Port is a bit higher in calories and alcohol content than most red wines, so indulge wisely!

The most common port types include:

Tawny Port Wines are from blends of several varieties of grapes. They are also nuttier in taste due to its long aging process. If you aren’t typically a sweet-wine drinker, tawny may be your best port option.Try Fonseca Porto’s 10 Year Old Tawny, a young port that balances a mellow fruit taste with a clean nutty flavor. It goes great with both mild and sharp cheeses, as well as apple desserts. ($25)

White Port Wines are lighter tasting than the other ports and are made from a blend of white grapes and have a small amount of juice from the red grapes added to them. Consider Ramos Pinto White Port, a rich, full-bodied port that tastes great on ice and makes an amazing after-dinner drink. ($14)

Ruby Port Wines are known as the “youngest” port wine and are the most widely produced. If you prefer sweeter wines, this may be the perfect match for you. This variety is crafted from red grapes and may have hints of black currant and cherry flavors. Our absolute favorite? Fonseca Bin 27, which pairs as deliciously with fish and chicken dishes as it does with chocolate desserts. ($20) In 2008, Croft introduced the world’s first Pink Rose Port, with a unique berry pallet and stunning color. Croft Pink is fantastic over ice, with a bit of soda water or even with a bit of sorbet on a warm spring evening. ($15)

Port Wine should be served at room temperature or lightly chilled. Don’t feel tied to traditional parings! Serve your port with rich meals, fruit and cheese trays and decadent chocolate desserts…or enjoy it all by itself.

Spring is the season for newness…find your perfect port now and sip your way into a sumptuous summer!