Tubs of grapes in Douro Valley.
port and sherry
A Guide to Fortified Wines





In the family of fortified wines, ports and sherries are often the first to come to mind. These after-dinner drinks are the most popular of their kind, so here is what you need to know to select a variety you will enjoy.


So, what is the difference between port and sherry? It comes down to where they are from as well as the grapes used. Port is a sweet red wine that originates from the Douro region of northern Portugal, while sherry is made with white grapes and comes from what is known as “the Sherry Triangle,” an area in the province of Cádiz in Spain.
Both are fortified, which means brandy or a neutral distilled spirit is added. Port wine tends to be rich and sweet in taste since it is fortified halfway through the fermentation process. This differs from sherry, which is fortified after the fermentation process is complete, giving it a dry texture.
There are many different styles of both ports and sherries. Popular kinds of port include tawny port, a sweet or medium dry wine made from red grapes and known for its nutty flavor; ruby port, which is stored in stainless steel containers that prevent oxidation as the wine ages; and vintage ports, which are generally aged in barrels for longer periods of time than other ports. There is also white port made from white grapes.
Some popular types of sherry include fino, which is the driest type of sherry. It is aged in barrels with an added layer of flor yeast on top to prevent exposure to air. Amontillado is also aged under flor yeast, but it is later exposed to air for a darker final product. Oloroso is exposed to air for an even longer duration, resulting in a darker, richer wine.






Statue of Napoleon riding a horse.


For the Love of Wine
Port came to be during the Second Hundred YearsWar (1689-1815) between France and England when England had to find a new source of wine: Portugal. Some say the English began fortifying wine so they could bring it through the Iberian Peninsula without it spoiling; others say merchants merely capitalized on a convenient travel solution and changing consumer tastes. 








Alboran Sea map.
port and sherry
Where in the World


In the Jerez region of Spain near the Gulf of Cádiz, you will find the “Sherry Triangle” made up of Jerez de la Frontera (the largest city in the triangle), the historic town of El Puerto de Santa María, and Sanlúcar de Barrameda-a city of noble lineage and origin of Manzanilla sherry. In Portugal, the Douro Valley region is the birthplace of port wine.
Map by NormanEinstein (Own work), Wikimedia Commons


A plate with a sliced flank steak.
port and sherry
Food Pairings


Flank Steak with a Port Wine Marinade


Makes 8 servings
½ cup lemon juice 
¾ cup orange juice 
¼ cup honey
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup port wine
1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, grated 5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 ½ pounds flank steak
  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, honey, olive oil, port, ginger and garlic in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the flank steak, and toss to evenly coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour to overnight.


  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.


  3. Cook the steaks until they are browned on the outside and red in the center, about 3
    minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 125°F. Slice the steak thinly across the grain before serving.
Recipe courtesy of allrecipes



Bundt cake on a platter.
port and sherry
Food Pairings
Sherry Bundt Cake
Makes 12 servings
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
4 eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cream sherry
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil the sides and bottom of a 10-inch Bundt cake pan. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon, sugar and cocoa. “Flour” the sides and bottom of the pan with the mixture, tap out the excess back into the cinnamon mixture.


  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, sherry, nutmeg and pudding mix. Beat until well blended. Pour half of the batter into the Bundt pan, sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar, cover with the remaining batter, and finally top with remaining cinnamon mixture.


  3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
Recipe courtesy of allrecipes



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The items offered in this sale can be purchased at the prices listed only at participating MGM, MGM Wine & Spirits, and MGM Liquor Warehouse locations, either from existing stock or by special order. Not all products are carried in stock at every MGM location, and not all products are offered at the sale price at every MGM location. Some products will be available in some stores only by special order. It is also possible that our stores and/or our suppliers may run out of some items or vintages. Thus, availability may change throughout the sale period. Call ahead to assure availability. We are not responsible for typographical errors. No additional discounts may be applied to sale products.