Now that we’re into November, more and more people are turning to a wee glass of port to warm up at the end of the night. I love port, and I happily quaff it throughout the year, but as a nation we drink a lot more of it in the winter months. It has a way of warming the bones and fortifying the soul.

Port is a wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal that has been fortified by the addition of grape brandy during the fermentation process. This stops the fermentation leaving some residual sugar in the wine, which is therefore sweet. You can get ruby port as well as vintage, LBV (late bottled vintage), single quinta, crusted, tawny, pink and white. I’d advise experimenting with as many different types as possible before settling on your favourite.

Port is a very versatile tipple that can be enjoyed over successive nights after opening, so there’s no need to finish it all at once. Pairing a good vintage port with stilton is a classic match, but it also works really well with chocolate puddings and cakes. Some would argue it’s a perfect dessert in itself.

There are dozens of different grapes that make their way into the port pipes, but the three most common are Touriga Nacional (which provides structure and oomph), Touriga Franca (which has a softer edge) and Tinta Roriz (the local name for Tempranillo).

White port can be a delicious aperitif, and is often served as a tall drink with ice and tonic. It’s made in the same way as other ports, just using white grapes as opposed to red. One of my favourite ones is the Kopke Fine White Port (Inverarity One to One, £12.99). Kopke also produce a white colheita (with all the grapes coming from a single harvest) that would knock your socks off. Kopke White Colheita 2008 (Inverarity One to One, £41.99).

Graham’s 10 year old Tawny Port (Waitrose, £20.49). This is a great example of a well-made tawny port. The time in cask lightens the wine, and the ten year old specifically suits the slightly sweeter notes typical of the house. This is delicious with chocolate cake.

Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha (Waitrose, normally £33.99 currently on offer at £24.99). This is a real treat, and especially at that price. Grab a bottle or two before they disappear. Cheers!