Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Winter's Gone, but Port is Always in Season

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Winter is gone, Port is good in all kinds of weather. For me, there are few better post-dinner, late-night beverages than a good ol’ glass of Port.

Of course, you can spend a whole lot of money on Port, especially Vintage Port, especially when the 2011 vintage has been so heralded by many critics. But there are a lot of entry- and medium-level Ports that offer a glance into this historic wine realm without much pain to the wallet.

These wines were received as trade samples and tastes sighted.

N.V. Graham Porto Six Grapes Reserve - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $22/750ml
Deep purple color. Smells of fig paste, plum cake, molasses, brown sugar and raisins. Full and saucy but accessible tannins. Juicy, dark and rich with plum cake, roasted fig, blueberry jam. I get notes of earth, charcoal, dark chocolate and candied orange peel. Lots of flavor but immediately pleasurable and quite fresh. (87 points)

N.V. Warre Porto Otima 10 Year Old Tawny - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $26/375ml
Amber and clover honey color. Smells of apricot jam, fig paste, caramel, hot caramel and brown sugar. Full bodied, of course, a rich, chewy feel. The fruit tastes rich but lighter, like baked yellow apples, yellow raisins, apricot glaze and candied orange peel, plenty of caramel, honeycomb, some spice and toasted nut notes. Full and rich but stays relatively light for a Tawny, with some acid and some pleasant approachability. Delicious when served slightly chilled on a cold evening. (88 points)

N.V. Graham Porto 10 Year Old Tawny - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $36/750ml
Dark amber colored. Warm spices on the nose (clove, cinnamon sticks) along with brown sugar, fig cookie, quince paste and caramel. Smooth and full on the palate but this stays vibrant in spite of the richness. Flavors of apricot jam, dried pineapple, topped in caramel, roasted chestnut, nougat and some brown sugar. Rich but harmonious. (90 points)

2001 Graham Porto Vintage Quinta dos Malvedos - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $30/375ml
Rich purple color. A warm, inviting aromatic display of roasted figs, baked plum tart, red currant jam, caramel and toasted almonds. Full and rich on the palate, firm tannins but fined down a bit around the edges, moderate acid keeps it vibrant. Rich plum cake and baked fig flavors mix with cocoa, earth, coffee and toasted coconut accents. A chewy, rich wine, shows quite well now with plenty of structure for a long life in the cellar. (91 points IJB)

N.V. Sandeman Porto Founder’s Reserve - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $19/750ml
Dark violet color. Nose of rich fig past, boysenberry jam, baked plums, some smoky, toasty, sweet coffee notes. Full and chewy on the palate but accessible tannins. Rich flavors of plum sauce, baked brownie, vanilla, along with sweet cocoa, roasted nuts and some underlying earthiness. Great intro to Port but enough to contemplate and savor. (86 points IJB)

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