Traditional recipes

2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir

2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir

Which wine you choose to drink should always be a matter of personal preference, but wine experts generally agree that, after a century of New World challenges, "Burgundy" is still the answer to the question, "Where are the best pinot noirs in the world produced?" But Burgundy still gives us many choices, ranging from the heavenly grands crus wines of the Côte d’Or vineyards to the down-to-earth, very-affordable, easy-drinking, everyday wines of the Mâconnaise, Hâutes-Côtes de Nuits, Hâutes-Côtes de Beaune, and Côte Chalonnaise.

Additionally, there is the matter of vintage preference — what did the season and the weather give the winemaker, and what did she or he do with it? We have such a choice in the 2009 vintage — which is currently available — and the 2010 vintage, which will be coming to a wine store near you over the next several months. Generally speaking, the 2009 vintage was big and fruity and somewhat tannic, while the 2010s are less fruity but are fragrant, lean, and well-structured — excellent food wines.

Last week, I was able to go beyond a "sideways" glance at the fabled region, tasting both vintages face-to-face with a wide array of winemakers in Burgundy during the annual Grands Jours trade festival.

"The 2010 vintage may be more consistent than the 2009," Jean-Nicolas Méo, owner and winemaker at Méo-Camuzet, told a handful of visitors tasting in his cellar in Vosne-Romanée, just a few doors up the hill from where his mentor and longtime Burgundy guru, the late Henri Jayer, lived. "In 2010, it was also a much smaller vintage, in our case about 40 percent less than 2009," Méo said, "But then 2009 was itself much bigger than the normal vintage."

Arnaud Boué of Antonin Rodet agreed as I sipped a sample of his 2010 mercurey during a tasting in the old Chalonnaise town of the same name. "We did not get the volume we wanted in 2010, but we did get the quality," he says.

"We picked early in 2009," said Marie-Andrée Mugneret, who makes wine at the family estate, Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg, including from vines in the famous Clos Vougeot vineyard, where she pointed out the new buds which will burst open soon to start the 2012 season, "but then when you work with pinot noir, early can be better."

If the 2010 was leaner, perfume-y and structurally sound, the 2009s kicked things up a notch in intensity. Here’s how Méo describes his 2009 Vosne-Romanée "Les Chaumes" — "Warmer, tannic, more alcohol, very voluptuous, more imposing, more seductive."

A year ago in New York, I talked with winemaker Veronique Drouhin of family-owned Joseph Drouhin about her 2009 vintage wines. "You can’t not like the ‘09s," she said at the time, and we agreed when I saw her in Burgundy last week that the same judgment still holds true. By contrast, the 2010s may not be as flashy (or fleshy), but they will nevertheless still be able to hold their own as stalwart dinner companions to wine lovers around the world for years to come.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


2009 and 2010 Vintages in Burgundy Produce Win-Win Choices From Home of Pinot Noir - Recipes

The notion that fathers — i.e., men — drink Port as a natural element of their birthright is, of course, pure fantasy on my part. Sales of fortified wines have been declining for decades, and even crusty old English gentlemen probably eschew Port in favor of a wheat grass smoothie these days. Still, I persist, and, in fact, I insist that Port, the world’s best-known fortified wine, deserves a place on your tables and in your hearts.

Now I’m not going to regale My Readers with a primer on the production of Port wine, its history, its varieties and character. I will point out that among these seven examples are two Reserve Ruby Ports and five Tawny Ports. The first category implies young Ports bottled and released in the full bright bloom of their powerful fruitiness. The second category consists of Ports aged in oak barrels for many years to the ethereal, transcendent mellowness of maturity. A Tawny Port whose label indicates a number of years — 5-Year-Old, 10-Year-Old — is actually a blend of younger and older wines that average that designation. Also, all Ports are blends of grapes traditional and largely indigenous to the Douro Valley up to 75 grapes are allowed in these blends, though the houses typically employ only four or five or six of the more usual grapes.

In terms of the world’s fine and historic wines, Port remains a bargain. Vintage Port, a whole other animal, yes, can be quite expensive, but the Reserve Ruby Ports and Tawny Ports mentioned today qualify as bargains.

These wines were samples for review.

Croft 430th Anniversary Reserve Ruby Port nv. Celebrating the house’s founding in 1588 — yes, the year of the Spanish Armada — this special edition is a blend of many mature ports from the Croft cellars. The color is dark ruby with a transparent mulberry-hued rim one immediately scents notes of fruitcake, iodine and resin, spiced and macerated black currants and plums, cedar, smoke and graphite, a bouquet rating a “Wow!” in my notebook this is large-framed and powerful on the palate, displaying profound heather, herbal and foresty elements and robust, velvety tannins in support of succulent, well-spiced black fruit flavors the sweet entry rapidly evolves to dryness from mid-palate back through the sleek, dense finish huge presence and personality. 20 percent alcohol. Not for the faint of heart. Excellent. About $25, a price that merits the remark, “What? Are you kidding?” Great Value.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York

Dow’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a medium but luminescent amber-brick hue it’s a dark, spicy, almost feral tawny, offering woodsy elements of dried moss, forest flowers and underbrush that open to notes of new leather, toffee, orange rind and almond skin it coats the palate with a viscous, honeyed sweetness — there’s a hint of apricot and bitter chocolate — that quickly becomes dry and then drier the mellow finish delivers fruitcake, a touch of wood-aged rum and sleek tannins. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $37.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Dow’s 20-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. This is pretty damned impeccable. The color is a totally transparent, almost pale copper-brick hue antique books and foxed paper tobacco, cedar and old leather dusty wood, cloves, toffee, bittersweet chocolate and dried apricot hints of toasted hazelnuts and apple skin this one delivers amazing succulent and persistent presence on the palate, conveying a distinctly contemplative and noble aura, yet allowing for a spectrum of pleasure and individuality the sweetness on the entry is like a memory, while the dryness from mid-point back through the finish is deep, mellow and complete. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $65.

Imported by Premium Port Wines, San Francisco

Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve Porto nv. The color is opaque dark ruby shading to a lighter magenta rim first, notes of wood-smoke, black currants and plums then mulberries, briers and brambles, loamy forest floor this is deep and dense, chewy with dusty tannins both intensely, ripely sweet and achingly dry simultaneously and enlivened by riveting acidity the finish brings in hints of mocha and pine resin, tobacco leaf and baking spices. 20 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $20.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. Remember that the aged designation on tawny port indicates an average of the ports that went into the blend. The color is a transparent ruddy, brickish hue the first impression is of fruitcake and plum pudding, dried citrus fruit and baking spices, toffee, black tea and bittersweet chocolate, with high notes of apple skin, toasted almond and resin this port is suave, dense and succulent on the palate, but animated by bright acidity and lent a keen edge of limestone minerality the finish is a melange of caramel, white pepper, oolong tea and mango, all seamlessly sleek and smooth. 20 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $36.

Imported by Premier Port Wine, San Francisco.

Taylor Fladgate Reserve Tawny Porto nv. This is presented in an impressive one-liter flagon-shaped bottle enclosed in a wooden shadow-box. The entrancing color is a totally transparent ruby-brick red hue notes of fruitcake, almond, bittersweet chocolate, intensely ripe plums and black currants unfurl hints of graphite and candied orange rind the entry is very sweet, then it sweeps into dryness with animated acidity, generous yet suave tannins and an element of flint-like minerality the essence of deeply spiced and macerated red and black fruit flavors persists from beginning to end. 20 percent alcohol. A reserve tawny of great dignity and charm. Excellent. About $60.

Imported by Kobrand Corp., New York.

Quinta do Vallado 10-Year-Old Tawny Porto nv. The color is a lovely, wholly transparent copper-brick hue first impressions — smoke, lightly buttered cinnamon toast, toffee, roasted hazelnuts, cloves and allspice, figs and dried citrus rind this tawny coats the mouth with its viscous texture that’s riven by deep, blazing acidity a few moments in the glass admit notes of dark, baked honey, raisins and tobacco the quite dry finish delivers tannins as ethereal as a transparent film. 19.5 percent alcohol. Excellent. About $40, for a 500-milliliter bottle.

Imported by Quintessential Wines, Napa, Calif.


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