Pick a Port!
Port continues to be one of the great values in wine when you consider the age, flavour concentration and overall character of what you’re buying. Get some and celebrate the season, or any cold winter night.
The drink hails from the Douro River Valley in northern Portugal, where it gets hot as hell in summer so the grapes achieve huge ripeness. Port starts out as red wine but while it’s still bubbling in the tank, brandy is added. This kills the fermentation and establishes the nature of Port ““ a red wine with some unfermented sugars and a fiery kick. A sweet and strong wine. Treat it with respect or you’ll suffer the next day. I’m serious.
There are many label designations for Port ““ too many ““ but basically there are only two styles; dark, manly Ports known as Vintage-style, and pale, delicate, feminine, sensual Ports known as Tawny-style. Got that?
Ports labeled Ruby are young, sweet editions of the Vintage style ““ fun, everyday stuff. The Reserve designation usually means a mix of Vintage and Tawny styles. You see what I mean about too many Port names!
Best times: Some enjoy Port with cheese, fruitcake or nuts . . . but I say best without food.
Taylor Fladgate ‘First Estate’ Port, Portugal 309401~ $15.75
Sweet, Ruby-style Port with deep flavours. A good everyday drink.
Ferreira ‘Dona Antonia’ Reserve Port, Portugal 157586~ $22.85
The bold flavours of Vintage combined with the mellow, sweet character of Tawny. Take me to your fireside. Would be a great introduction to Port.
Graham’s 03 Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port, Portugal 191239~ $17.45
Huge concentration of flavours. Rich and exotic. Warms the body and soul.
Warre’s “˜Otima’ 10-Year-Old, Portugal 566174 $22.85/500ml
The Latin lover”“ charm and vigour. Sexy Port in a modern package.
A colleague of mine introduced several of us to the world of port while on assignment in Albuquerque, NM. The one he recommended to us most vigourously, and the one I loved most, was called Porto Rocha.. probably a 20 y/o Tawny… not sure.
Is there any (and I mean ANY) way to track something like that down here in southern Ontario? I’m desperate.
Cheers, and thanks for the massive resource you’ve created.
Hi Billy …. please advise a good wine for a dinner featuring the French dish, cassoulette. It will likely have duck breast, pork, beans, etc. Depending upon the recipe, may have a tomato base. Thanks. Gina.
Cahors is the classic pairing. From the southwest of France. You could ask a vintages consultant for specific recommendations in the store close to you.
You need a rustic wine. Cotes du Rhone or Minervois.
On blog now is vintages release and there’s 2 good ones – the Rasteau and the Minervois.
From the general LCBO La Vielle Ferme, France would be good.
Hope this helps.