There’s something wildly satisfying about having a little glass of Port wine after dinner, especially on a cold winter’s night. It’s my equivalent of a cozy evening spent fireside with tons of blankets and my favorite dessert.
There are a few different styles, but aged tawny Port is my current favorite. If you’re not sure where to start with this Portuguese fortified wine (Port guide below), pick your favorite dessert: crème brûlée or chocolate cake? Port styles tend to fall into these two major dessert categories: those that are more like crème brûlée and those that are more like chocolate cake. Tawny Port falls into the crème brûlée category, being aged in wood barrels for a long time with air exposure and boasting flavors like brown sugar, while vintage Port fits into the chocolate cake category, getting hardly any air exposure in bottles.
There are so many great Port shippers out there, but none is more dependable for making consistently rich, mind-blowing wines than Graham’s.
Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($29.99; WS 90 pts.) will leave you feeling snug upon the first sip. Its gorgeous reddish-amber color is as inviting as its rich nose, which is both zesty and sweet with delicious hints of fig and nut. On the palate, you’ll find butter roasted nuts, baking spices, brown sugar, fleur de sel caramel, and an undeniable presence of wood barrel aging. The finish has a nice weight and the alcohol warms your mouth in the coziest of ways. If you want to pair it with something, crème brûlée is easily my first choice; I like getting a mini to-go crème brûlée from Gelson’s. Other pairings could be an apple or pear tart or plain cheesecake.
Months later when you’ve polished off this bottle, you may think about graduating to Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port or exploring other styles like a Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port or Quinta Do Infantado’s Single-Quinta Vintage Port.