One should never say that port is in any way “basic,” since it takes expert craftsmanship and knowledge of grape flavor combinations to create even the youngest bottles.
That said if you had to label one as basic, Ruby would be it.
Ruby port is the youngest of all the port options. It’s bottled and sold to drink right after the initial 18-month aging cycle.
Because of this, ruby port retains the flavor of its fruit.
It’s also very affordable so you can buy a bottle for under $20!
What does Ruby Port taste like?
Ruby port retains much of its young fruit characteristics. It is usually high in tannins but still very sweet. It’s full and rich and the deep red color betrays its berry-like flavors.
General Ruby Flavor Notes:
How is Ruby Port Made?
Youth is essential for Ruby ports. They should be enjoyed young without too much aging!
As the youngest iteration, they follow the general process of port wine-making.
- Fall Harvest
- Aging large barrels or vats for 18 months to 2 years
- Bottled and Sold
They age for the shortest amount of time: 2 years. Which gives them time to develop flavors but not enough to lose fruit and body.
Ruby ports only have minor exposure to oak, if at all. Many are aged in stainless steel vats.
Either way, the size of these aging containers must be large to avoid oxidizing the wine. That would defeat the color and fruit flavor that is essential to Ruby Port!
Specialty Ruby Ports
Most Ruby ports are meant to be consumed young and are bottled relatively quickly. However, there are a few specialty versions of ruby that are worth noting!
- Reserve – high-quality Ruby ports, blended from the top-quality vines, meant to be consumed young
- Late Bottled Reserve – Aged for 4-6 years, still meant to be enjoyed young
- Crusted – Blend of more than 1 harvest year, unfiltered, has sediment (decant this one), meant to be enjoyed young
- Vintage – aged for 6 months in oak and then aged in the bottle for at least 20 years (always decant!)
- Single Quinta – Vintage port that comes from a single vineyard
Crusted, Vintage, and Single Quinta are all removed from oak after a maximum of 2 years and bottled.
They are then aged in their bottles for a number of years before being sold.
This extra aging in-bottle is what develops their flavors and produces some of the finest ports in the world.
What food pairs with Ruby Port?
Ruby port is recommended in most recipes. It can be used to spruce up sauces, cakes, meat, and even make its own glaze! It pairs with:
- Strong Cheeses (like Blue or Stilton)
- Aged Cheeses
- Steak in fruit sauces
- Glazed goose
- Salads with fruit
Ruby port is one of the few drinks that serve as a dessert itself. If you’re feeling full but still want a little sweet, a glass of ruby port is just the thing!
It also marries wonderfully well with chocolate, which can be hard to pair.
- Chocolate truffles
- Chocolate cake
- Chocolate sauce
- Cherry Pie
- Raspberry sauces
How to serve Ruby Port?
Ruby port should be served slightly chilled, just below room temperature. Around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you place it in the fridge, take it out about 30 minutes before serving so it warms up a bit and the flavors don’t get lost.
*You don’t need to decant ruby ports!
Ruby Port Cocktails:
- Ruby on the Rocks with lime
- Port of Call
- Second Circle
- The Coffee Cocktail
How much does Ruby Port Cost?
Ruby ports are among the least expensive of port wines. You can find great bottles starting at around $15.