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  1. #1
    Administrator in exile
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    Port

    One of the drinks I enjoy most when not drinking bourbon is a good Port. Right now I am enjoying a hearty pour of Sandman's Founders Reserve. This is a relatively inexpensive blend of the Sandman ports. I picked it up at Liquor Barn for about $20/750ml. An enormous nose that virtually leaps out of the glass. Lots of cherry and currant notes here. On the palate it is rich and inviting with the cherry notes crossing over quite nicely. It complements the gorganzola cheese I am sampling very well. At 20% alcohol (40 proof) it's not as strong as a bourbon, but it's no lightweight either. I highly recomment this one as a good entry-level port to try.

    If there are other port-lovers out there, I would like to hear your comments and preferences.

  2. #2
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    Re: Port

    I'm not a wine fan, but many months ago me and Stacy spent the weekend at Chris' house. He and Kristin are big wine fans and Chris likes Port. He had 3 bottles ranging in price from dirt cheap to rather pricey. I tried all 3 and in the end, would you beleive my favorite was the cheapest one. I was glad I liked the cheap one! I don't remember the name, but I'm sure when he reads this thread eventually he'll add his thoughts.

  3. #3
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    Re: Port

    For real porto I'll recommend Niepoort as my favorite old-line port house. Try any of their 'late bottled vintage' bottlings or their Tawny port, they're usually in the same $20 price range you mentioned. Sadly, any of their true vintage colheita bottles will be higher priced, some are substantially so. This is why I don't drink 'em every day. For inexpensive tasty port, I'll recommend various Australian 'stickies'. Due to EU label restrictions, they probably won't be labeling these as 'port' much longer, but no matter what they call it, it's good stuff.
    In the $10-$12 Oz tawny port range I like Benjamins, Clocktower, Hardy's 'Whiskers Blake' Tawny & Penfolds Club 'Reserve' (one step up from their 'regular' Club tawny, and well worth the extra $ or so). There are some great buys here. The next step up in quality is the 'museum releases' or 'library' bottlings from Yalumba & Benjamin, etc...some of these are simply awesome. Some excellent fortified wines, and many come in under $20 in the 375ml/500ml size. Worth looking for.

    Niepoort colheita info

    Hardy's Whiskers Blake Tawny port

    Yalumba Museum Release fortified wines

    Penfold's

    d'Arenberg Tawny "port"

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Re: Port

    I read 2000 was a banner year for Port and recently picked up 3 bottles to bunker for a few years. Let's see. If I remember, they're Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca, and Graham Vintage ports. I sampled some of the Fonseca at a tasting and I thought it was very good, although the distributor indicated that it was way too young. (He was way too Old but I didn't say anything about him) My wife is the one who prompted the purchases, but I'll share them with her when she indulges.

  5. #5
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    Re: Port

    although the distributor indicated that it was way too young.
    Does port change in the bottle? I had always assumed the the added alcohol (it is fortified, right?) stopped the sort of chemical changes that take place in a bottle of wine.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Port

    The way i understand it is that if you get a vintage port (with a year like 2000, 1994, 1963 on it, not just '20 year' port) it is suitable for long-term aging in the bottle... I would imagine that all port will age in the bottle, but i have been told that the "20 year,10 year, 40 year" ports are made to be consumed, not aged... i guess since they presumably have been aged already... But it could all be a load of BS because my knowledge of port is very little...

    Such things just help to make me appreciate bourbon more and more... no worries about special storage, when it's ready to drink, or if i will finish the bottle before it goes rotten

    -Chris

  7. #7
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    Re: Port

    Cut n Paste from a wine web site, hope this helps with the 'ten year vs twenty year/tawny/ruby/vintage port' thing:

    Port starts out as a warm, quickly fermenting mass of grapes that is vigorously and continuously agitated by either hand or machine. When the wine reaches about six or seven percent alcohol, 154 proof (77 percent alcohol) neutral grape spirits is added. The sudden shock of high alcohol concentration essentially kills-off the yeast and completely arrests fermentation. What's left is a sweet or off-dry fortified wine that weighs in at about 18 to 20 percent alcohol by volume. The syrupy liquid is then put into oak casks to age before being blended, bottled and shipped to consumers.

    Though in Portugal itself there are many different types and styles of Port produced, we only see about three kinds in this country: ruby, tawny and vintage Port. Ruby Port is what most people think of when they hear the word "Port." Sweet, deep red and almost chewy in texture, ruby Port is made from heavily macerated red grapes and exhibits jammy red-fruit flavors and aromas. Tawny Port is made in a lighter-bodied style. It goes through a gentler maceration program and often is made in a drier style. The wine is then fortified and subsequently aged in both cask and bottle for at least six years. With time, much of the color and tannic structure of the wine precipitate out, leaving a nutty, golden-colored product that's substantially less fruity and lighter than ruby Port.

    Most Port, like Champagne, is not vintage-dated. Port makers like to maintain consistency year after year and retain a certain amount of each harvest for blending with future batches. Once in a while, however, a single year's harvest is so stellar that it's vintage-dated and aged for a decade or two (or three or four) before hitting the market.


  8. #8
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    Re: Port

    The sudden shock of high alcohol concentration essentially kills-off the yeast and completely arrests fermentation.
    I think this is the question they were getting at, if all the yeast is dead, and there is no more fermentation at all, why bother aging in the bottle??


    TomC

  9. #9
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    Re: Port

    I think this is the question they were getting at, if all the yeast is dead, and there is no more fermentation at all, why bother aging in the bottle??
    The reactions that continue in the bottle aren't necessarily fermentation. My (limited) understanding of wine-aging is that tannins will slowly fall out of solution and get denatured, making the wine have less 'bite' and be more mellow. You'll notice most aged wines have a sediment at the bottom of the bottle. There's also a bit of oxidation that occurs.

  10. #10
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    Re: Port















    Eons ago when ships moved by wind power, and a few great naval powers ruled the world, it was common practice to give sailors a ration of wine everyday. I still think that this might be the practice for some countries. Well after a long journey accross the water lo and behold the wine had turned and the sailors found themselves drinking vinegar. Adding fermented spirits to the wine to eliminate the chance of a secondary fermentation from rouge yeasts was developed to insure the drinkability of the product, and probably to avoid a mutiny. The greeks instead of adding fermented spirits coated the inside of the barrels with pine tar,which seals the barrels. Many greek wines today are still made this way, and hence they taste quite different. This story may be apocryphal,but that is what i was told many years ago.

 

 

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