(Port Wine pairingStatePoint) At your next dinner party, consider trying an unexpected wine pairing and surprise your guests with a bottle of port.

What is port? This traditional wine comes from the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. It is classified as a fortified wine, which means that a neutral distilled spirit has been added during fermentation. The addition of the spirit stops fermentation early and leaves a little residual sugar. This sweetness is a hallmark to port wines.  There are a number of port styles, including tawny, white, vintage; one of the most popular being ruby port.

Ruby ports are always crowd pleasers thanks to their rich berry flavors. Among these, Fonseca BIN 27 Ruby Port is from one of the world’s most prominent port houses; its sweet nature is redolent of fresh, rich blackberry and cassis aromas with a velvety mouth feel and smooth tannins.

Break the Mold

Chefs across the country are inspired by ruby port to create unexpected pairings. Philadelphia’s Chef Kevin Sbraga loves to greet guests with port and appetizers to whet their palate: He pairs his spiced nut mix of cashews, pecans and Marcona almonds spiced with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, orange zest and sea salt with a bottle of Fonseca BIN 27. The ruby port also compliments strong cheeses, such as farmhouse cheddar and aged gouda.

Pair Dessert with Port

Port traditionally makes a fine after-dinner drink, served on its own to close a meal or with a sweet treat.

Famed cookbook author Dorie Greenspan finds the warm spiciness of Fonseca BIN 27 to be the perfect match to her bite-size Tiger Cakes. The recipe can be found in her new book “Baking Chez Moi.”

More information about serving port and food pairings can be found at www.Fonseca.pt.

An unexpected wine can enrich your dinner party. Take the time to choose wisely.