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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Port in Any Storm

Oporto, from my visit in 2010
If you don’t know much about Port – and I am referring to real Port from Portugal, not the California-styled “ports” which are fine, but usually overtly sweet things often made from non-traditional Port grapes, you need to understand a few things. 1st off: Port is a place, Oporto in Portugal, and just like Champagne is a place, the wine folks of these regions take exception when outsiders use their place-name for selling their own wine. Therefore Port actually means wines from Portugal. 2nd: “vintage” port is one of those wines which is meant to age, and I don’t mean across the long hot summer. Ports are made every year, but only when the wine folks of Portugal are nearly uniform in agreement do they “declare” a vintage (the last declared vintage was 2007) which means they believe these wines are so exceptionally good you need to buy this vantage and age these puppies. I cannot disagree.

Croft has been part of the Port game for 400 years, so, let’s just agree they know what the hell they’re doing. Only 5,000 cases were made so this baby, while pricy is ready to drink now, or will lay down for a good decade and become more mellow and sweet and rich, unlike my grandmother (god rest her soul). The Croft 2011 Vintage Port is viscous and rich, with hefty black cherry, slightly smoky wood, dusty cinnamon, suburb tannins and proper acidic undertones – this is why people drink port – not to get a sugar rush, but to bask in the rich, opulent, smooth wine which is just so damn fun to drink. The night I tasted this there was a full moon and I sat on my deck basking in the moonlight and sipping Croft Port. And this, my friends is how you drink Port – slowly and on purpose. If you can find the Croft, buy it. CROFT PORT

ORIGIN: Douro Valley, Portugal
PRICE: $ 50/ 750/ml (price is approximate)
ALCOHOL: 17.5%

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