As much as I hate assigning a style of wine to a certain period of time, with winter approaching we have officially entered the season where port really shines.
Historically misunderstood thanks to the use and abuse of the name port by just about every country on Earth (including Canada); the real deal (which only comes from Portugal) makes for a warming after-dinner sipper and a great match with fruit, chocolate and cheese (especially blue varieties like stilton).
Made by introducing grape spirit to fermenting juice, port is typically sweet and is, for the most part, labeled by age. The most famous are vintage ports, but they’re not meant for immediate drinking. That’s put the spotlight on wines like Taylor Fladgate’s 1997 Late Bottled Vintage Port ($24.29 – $26.01) which offers balanced flavours of ripe plum, nuts and caramel and is good to go right now.
Bottles such as Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($22.95 – $34.02) are also meant for cracking not keeping. Its creamy mix of ripe berry fruit and toffee develop by blending wines from different vintages that have seen at least a full decade of aging.
(Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.)
– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.