Column: Any port in a storm

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Commentary by Elizabeth Morse

In December 2018, I shared my love of Sherry. Right on the heels of Sherry seems like the perfect time to mention another fortified wine: port. Red port is a blend which uses many grape varieties and comes from the Duoro River Valley in Portugal. A “vintage” designation is given to those wines from the best years. They are great during the holidays and cold weather and are actually great throughout the year. Sub them for an after-dinner drink, or in some cases, a stand-in for dessert.

2011 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port is a crowd-pleaser. It can be described as a classic. A smooth but meaty option with heaps of black cherry. It is a delicious mouthful and great with chocolate and caramel. A little pricey at $49 for the smaller, 375ml bottle.

2008 Dow’s Port, Quinta Senhora da Ribera presents a deep, dark color with spiced berries on the nose. The finish is at once bright, long and lingering. An intense and concentrated wine. Lovely with dark chocolate ($75).

2016 Kopke Vintage Porto is another black beauty. Kopke is the oldest port house in the world, founded by a German diplomat in 1638. The hand-stenciled bottles stand out on a bar and add a sentimental nod to tradition. Very dark in color with aromas of black fruit in the glass and one of my favorite flavor combos: cocoa, violet and black pepper on the tongue. An aggressive mouthful, Kopke layers balance, flavor and tannin beautifully. Big, long finish. About $60

The aforementioned would be a hit with dark chocolate, caramel and fruit desserts but would work with dinner, too. Berry flavors can be a terrific match with savory fare like roasted meat, blue cheese and duck. Cheers.

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