The Wine Advent: 16 December: My Favourite Ports
The Wine Advent is a series of 25 posts in the run up to Christmas day where I will give you an insight into my favourite festive wines. Follow me on Twitter or Like my Facebook page to ensure you don’t miss opening up the advent!
Possibly one of the great symbols of Christmas, Port wines come in a stunning array of qualities above and beyond your supermarket reserve ruby. Alongside a cheeseboard there’s few luxuries in the world that manage to top it. However because Port can be expensive, many people find themselves thinking twice about buying a bottle.
Let me help you out a bit by recommending four delightful Ports that I am sure you will love.
As far as LBVs (Late Bottled Vintages) go, I am a big fan of Graham’s LBV 2009 (£9.00, Tesco). The vintage itself was spectacular, so the fruit is extra ripe and at this fortified level makes for a very luscious drinking experience. LBVs, as youthful as they are, can be some of the best matches with those harder, more citrussy cheeses.
While with ruby Port starting with LBV is generally a good mark of quality, a great deal of Tawny Ports are exceptional even at the value end. More of a nutty, dried fruit take on the Port, Tawnys offer a wonderful array of complexity that only gets better with age.
A favourite for me is Quinta do Noval 20yo Tawny (£39.49, The Drink Shop). Elegant and not too rich, seductive and with stunning length, this is one of the finest “sip and savour” Port wines. It makes a fantastic partner with sweet desserts but also blue cheese, including the heavy stuff like Roquefort Papillon.
Want something extra special for Christmas? Look out for vintage ports, especially from Graham’s and Fonseca (but not exclusively). You’ll be paying a lot of money for this style, so it’s worth researching a bit about what critics think of certain vintages. I would personally recommend Jancis Robinson, if you’re subscribed to that, but there’s plenty of free resources to browse online as well.