(TORONTO, ON) – It’s been far too long since I have had a glass of Port, but my memories of Oporto and the Douro River create a sense of guilt for waiting so long to consume a glass of the mega historic and delicious.
Isn’t it interesting how travel can shape your appreciation for wine?
A couple of years ago, as a novice, I was invited to go on a one week trip to the Douro with but an academic and limited tasting knowledge of Port. The trip was incredibly special and a treat for a dumb novice.
However, after seven days of tasting Port from 10:00 am into the early morning hours, often at lavish and remote Quintas, I was afforded the opportunity to taste a wine that absolutely floored me, as to its versatility, quality, and pure enjoyment.
Why had I, and why should you, ignore Port? There is absolutely no reason to.
It is a brilliant and high quality wine, yet for many the image of Port is that of old men in the private club, smoking cigars and enjoying their Port from a pipe of Port. The trouble is, how to convert this stodgy image of Port into the dynamic and versatile wine that Port is.
It’s complicated, but as a novice I rather butchered my understanding of Port into Tawny Port being rather delicate, Late Bottled Vintage Port as being a heavy hitter, and Vintage Port being a rich monster.
Let’s take a taste of a Dow’s 10 year-old Tawny Port. Tawny has power, but becomes more nuanced with flavour as it ages. Personally, I like the complex personality of 40 year-old Tawny’s but the 10 year-old gives a youthful expression to what a Tawny is.
The misconception amongst many is that Port is a heavy hitter. Incorrect.
Tawny Ports are delicate and complex, terribly well suited to egg-based and custard desserts. The 10 year-old Dow’s Tawny has a classic garnet colour. Delicious aromas of raisin, butterscotch, and chocolate, all with a strong core of black cherry.
This is just a baby.
Give it 30 more years and, if you aren’t already in heaven, this would take you there.
Long lasting almond, black cherry, and raisin pie on the palate with a huge, long, but gentle finish. Terribly rich and yet delicate, which is a characteristic that few table wines can give you.
A great after dinner sipping wine, with or without a custard. A glass or two and you’ll be relaxed and transfixed by this Port’s elegance.
Terribly well balanced with a sneaky and creeping, but well disciplined, acidity. (Dow’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Symington Family Estates, Villa Nova de Gaia, Portugal, 750 mL, 20%, LCBO #246967, $34.95, Square Media Group Rating 92/100).
Please do let your guests know the alcohol content before pouring. It is smooth and very deceptive.
Welcome to Port.