Deep ruby color. The nose has a unique greeness to it on first whiff. With a bit of air I am able to coax dried blueberry, cola, mint(?) and sultanas. It’s not what I was expecting tbh. The palate is semi-sweet, warm (from the 20%ABV) and inviting. The wine is tannic and has gobs of acidity. Full bodied for sure it has more classical Port flavors than what I got on the nose. Dried black and blue berries, nuts, cola, prunes, sultanas and a richness of stewed black fruit. It leaves a tannic impression on my gums well after the medium length finish fades. What started out as a questionable Port wine turned into a delicious effort that gets 90 points from me. These are meant to be drunk on release, so don’t waste any time! Widely available for $16 it’s worth stashing a bottle or two for a late night treat with some warm chocolate gateaux. 5 stars. Salut….
I love Port. Tawny is not my top style so I am trying to broaden my palate, even if it means buying Costco’s brand (they have some excellent stuff BTW). This one is medium garnet in color. The nose is quite pronounced, perhaps due to the big 20% ABV evaporating off those wafts? Nuts, caramel, singed orange, prune, raisins and a dried herb note. The palate is off-dry, with medium acidity, medium tannins and high alcohol which is noticeable. Medium (+) body and pronounced flavors of dried fruit, oxidative notes of caramel, dried herbs and that lovely orange component. The finish is quite lengthy, tannic, high in residual alcohol and really yummy. For under $20 it’s a decent drop that gets 88 points from me and 4 stars. Salut….
I opened this wine yesterday to use a few dollops in my Short Rib sauce. I ended the evening sipping this nectar and making very basic notes. For $24, this is a delicious Port that I will be buying again.
Opaque- period. Off-dry with cooked blackberry, sweet prunes, stewed blueberry, rich tannins, high alcohol that is well hidden, medium acidity, long finish, full bodied, very dry finish. Delicious. 92 points and 5 stars. Salut….
A deep shade of purple in the glass this opaque Port has got a pretty intense nose. Aromas of cooked plum, stewed blackberry, raisins, mixed nuts and a fresh grape note- interesting. The palate is lush with stewed black fruit, currant extract, a nutty component and that zingy fresh grape note I got on the nose. The wine packs some heat- I can. feel the burn just ever so much. Very smooth and integrated tannins balance out the medium (-) acidity. The wine is obviously considered full-bodied- it simply coats the mouth with dark fruit lashings with a dryness from the structural tannins. The finish is quite long and puckering. Delicious stuff to sip with some stinky cheese or a chocolate dessert. Reasonably priced at $20, this 91 point fortified wine needs to be in every bar. It gets 5 stars from me. Salut….
The third Port in a trio I recently purchased this one is a Special Reserve. It’s way more opaque than the Ruby I tasted previously. The nose has nuts, lots of them, plus rich blueberry compote, blackberry jam, prunes, stewed cherry and raspberry. A virtual melange of red, black and blue fruit. The nuts are fascinating- walnuts, pecan and filberts. The palate is mouth-coating with delicious, rich fruit and lithe tannins. Medium (-) acidity allows this wine’s fruit to shine whilst the tannins sneak out to the finish. Stewed blackberry, blueberry and cherry are the primary fruit flavors. Walnut and pecan with a faint trace of smoke round it out. The tannins are very fine-grained and stick around for a while. This is delicious stuff, no doubt. I got it for $16, and it gets 91 points from me upending the Fine Ruby as my new go-to Port to stock up on. 5 stars for sure. Salut…..
In my continued Port education I bough this Ruby to further get to grips with the various styles. It is deep ruby colored- who would have thought. The nose has medium intensity aromas of blackberry jam, raisins, blueberry pie, a touch of heat, prunes and a walnut-like note. The palate is off-dry with medium acidity and medium (+) tannins. The body is medium (+) but I don’t get a hint of the heat I caught on the nose- good thing. The fruit is very fresh if you can call prunes and raisins fresh-tasting! Anyways, the palate offers up the jammy and cooked flavors I got on the nose minus the walnuts. The wine leaves a coating of lithe tannins on my gums at the finish which is medium length. An interesting sensation to say the least. It is making me purse my lips, wanting more of this elixir. I like it and at $12 it is very easy to stock up on. 89 points from me makes this my new favorite 5-star Port. Drink fresh. Salut….
I am preparing Lamb Shanks- which will braise in a new recipe that calls for Port wine. I bought three different bottles but selected this $15 Tawny for the job. I’m hoping it makes for a rich and silky gravy when I am finished. In the glass this fortified wine is pale tawny (LOL) in color, the 19.5% ABV evident by the thick legs running down the inside of the glass. The nose gives me dried nuts, stewed plum, prunes, cooked rhubarb, raisins and a dusty wood component. The palate is off-dry with very rich cooked fruit as mentioned, dried nuts and very integrated tannins. Medium acidity coupled with the richness of the fruit and structure from the tannins makes for a very nice mouthfeel that is medium to full bodied. The finish is medium in length but the tannins grip for a long while. I like this bottle, a lot. I did not care as much for the Tawny style when I last tried it but this producer has crafted a very rich offering that gets 91 points from me. Can’t wait to see how it transforms the sauce. 5 stars, worthy of keeping a few bottles laying around for an after-dinner tipple. Salut….
For a while now I have been studying wine, taking courses and really immersing myself into tasting the stuff. When I got to the Port section I realized that much like Sherry- there is so much to learn, so many different styles, so many different flavors. I bought three basic types to compare- a Ruby, a Tawny and a Late Bottled Vintage (LBV). I will explain all three for the newbs.
Ruby Port is where it all starts. A short fermentation to get between 5-9% ABV and then the wine is fortified, stopping the fermentation and leaving a sweet wine with lots of unfermented sugar. The resulting wine will be have approximately 20% ABV and will be matured in old oak vessels or stainless steel, to minimize oxidation. Once matured this Ruby Port is bottled and sold. Some wine is left to age further and is bottled with a vintage date several years after vinification. This is an LBV. Some Ruby Ports, in exceptional vintages, are further aged after vinification and bottled by the third year. These are Vintage Ports that don’t get produced every year. They will last for decades in bottle and will usually need decanting.
Tawny Port is an oxidized version of Port that has been matured in oak barrels called Pipes. They are tawny in color, versus ruby- how bout that? After tasting three different styles (I did not get a Vintage Port btw), I can say I prefer Ruby over LBV and my least favorite is Tawny. I will confirm my opinions again and again as I love Port and will find other brands. Here are the tasting notes, Salut:
DOW’S FINE TAWNY PORT
Semi opaque, almost red in color. Nose is medium intensity with aromas of dried cherry, dried red currant , sweet prune, red licorice and old oak. The palate is sweet but not as unctuous as I was expecting. The flavors are of medium intensity and mirror the nose with the addition of almonds and some green bitterness. The tannins really grip the top of my gums- they are very well integrated. Acidity is good and balances the whole package. I’m not sure that this is my favorite style of Port but it’s a new experience that I’m enjoying. 89 points. $18
SANDEMAN FINE RUBY PORT
I know it says ruby, but it really looks purple in the glass. I would say it is deep, ie. opaque. The nose is sweet with stewed plums, smoke, cooked blueberry, chocolate, and cigars. The palate is sweet, no doubt. The acidity is quite high and the tannins are medium. This wine has a medium body and the alcohol is high for a fortified wine (19.5%). The flavor intensity is medium (+) and I get the cooked blueberry, stewed plums and chocolate with some smokiness. The finish is long and satisfying. This wine is drinking nicely and may age a bit longer. I would say I prefer this style over Tawny port, it is fresher and more fruit driven. 91 points. $17
DOW’S LBV 2015
Deep purple in color, it has a nose of stewed blackcurrant, prunes, raisins, cooked plums and blueberry pie. The palate is obviously semi sweet with good tannic structure, juicy acidity and full body. The heat from the 19.5% ABV is noticeable initially, but it blows off after a while. The flavors correspond to the aromas but there is a bitterness that bothers me on the mid palate. It’s the same sensation I get when biting into an unripe, green almond. The finish is mid length and chock full of luscious stewed fruit. A nice bottle worthy of 90 points. $26
The fourth wine to taste this week for my course is this fortified Portuguese. I love Port btw so this was not a hard task. It is a deep shade of purple and opaque, as can be expected. The nose is of medium intensity with notes of raisins and stewed plum. Secondary notes of dark chocolate, and tertiary notes of walnut were present. On the palate there were pronounced flavors of raisin and prune. Secondary notes of dark chocolate and espresso with tertiary hints of walnut in a tannic cloak with medium acidity. This wine was off-dry to me and had a decent mid length finish. Moxie tasted as well and we both caught on to the 20% alcohol right on the first whiff yet I did not sense it on the palate except to say this wine is full bodied as a result. I am looking forward to some blue cheese and crackers to go with this beauty. Like I said, I love me some Port and this one is good. It gets 89 points from me. At $24, it’s a decent bottle to have around if you like the style- 4 stars. Salut….
Black. Opaque. Thick. On the nose it’s very lush- burnt damson, plum extract and raisin compote. The palate is thick, rich and exactly what I wanted/expected. It’s delicious. Midpalate -wise it gets tannic, more dark fruits and some great mouthfeel. This is truly a delicious dessert wine. Rich, full-on and multi-dimensional, it ticks many boxes. The finish is a grainy, tannic event that features some nice purple fruits with walnut notes and some raisin jam. Delicious. 90 points and for $14, its a 5 star drinker. Salut….