Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Port Wine Primer For Valentine’s Day

No Valentine's Day dinner would be complete without some chocolate and a glass of dessert wine. Sommelier Brad Dunn runs down the different varieties of port.

port-wine

Photo: kirberich (Flickr)

Just like the decadent chocolate truffle you ordered for dessert is the size of a golf ball (not a baseball), you really only need a small pour of port.

I’m sure some of you out there are probably guilty of singly-highhandedly consuming that heart-shaped Whitman’s sampler — come on, I know I’m not the only one! You’ll need something with which to wash down all those chocolates, so here’s a rundown of the various types of port wine.

Port is sweet, red wine produced in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of (you guessed it) Portugal — just like champagne is named after the Champagne region in France.

There are many styles of Port in many price ranges, but I recommend focusing on these:

Ruby is fresh and fruity, the youngest and the most affordable.

Tawny is aged to develop nutty, raisin and maple syrup characters, perfect with creme brûlée. But who are we kidding, any chocolate and fruit combination will do.

LBV (late bottled vintage) can be a great value. It’s kind of like a ruby but has a bit more age, and hence, depth of flavor.

Tawny and LBV are both mid-priced.

Now for the good stuff: Vintage Port. Vintages are ‘declared’ for port only in exceptional years — usually only three time a decade. These treasured dessert wines (code for expensive) are wildly complex. But trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve treated yourself to chocolate truffles with a glass of Vintage Port – talk about hedonistic!

While a typical pour of house wine is 4-6 ounces, you’ll only get about 2 ounces of port. But let’s put that into perspective — Just like the decadent chocolate truffle you ordered for dessert is the size of a golf ball (not a baseball), you really only need a small pour of port.

In any case, all those simple carbs will give you lots of energy for your special evening.

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks!

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