On the Road with the Grape Guy

Report from - Port and Douro Wines Tasting - Oct. 23, 2006

03 Jan 2007
Gloomy doesn’t go far enough in describing what the fall has been like, nor does rainy or cold, but on yet another gloomy, rainy and cold autumn day in Toronto, the intrepid, and myself congregated at the King Eddy hotel downtown to try some of the wines from the Port and Douro region of the world – otherwise known as Portugal … and I would have to say I came away with some pretty good finds that I am very happy to share with you … as well as remind you about some old favourites.

In a room set with 17 stations, we stumble around from table to table tasting white and red wines and white, red, tawny and ruby ports. Below you’ll find my selections from the day’s event:

Best Red Wine … hands down was the 2003 Callabriga Douro ($18.95 Vintages) from Sogrape. Callabriga is a blend of three grapes from the region: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional; with the nose and flavours of black fruit and fine tannin backbone … delicious for now or for ageing over the next 5+ years.

Best White Port goes to Foncesca ($12.95 LCBO #276816) a delicious little number that was light and seemingly refreshing in comparison to the much heavier red ports. Plenty of bright fruit flavours, but make no mistake, this is not “white wine” that you’d have with dinner, it’s sweet port, and truly delicious, something to consume before dinner as aperitif, or after, your choice.

Best Ruby Port was a toss up between Dow’s Fine Ruby ($14 LCBO #649715 – available all the time), which was nice and light with good fruity and nutty port flavours without the sweet sticky heaviness, and reasonably priced for its punch. While the limited edition Newman’s Celebrated Ruby ($14.95 – Vintages – available now) was quite impressive for the price … if you can’t find the Newman’s keep in mind that the Dow’s is available year round.

Best Red Port: Quinta de Noval Late Bottled Vintage ($23.95 LCBO #677815) sweet cherry and raisin flavours predominated in both nose and mouth – as was once said on a Simpson’s episode “there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited” – delicious doesn’t say enough for this one.

Now you probably noticed that the above mentioned “Best ofs” were all under $25, I like to think, and shop, in bang-for-the-buck, so to speak – when money’s no object there are other great ports to be had, both Vintage and non-vintage … let’s take for example the real star of the show, the Taylor Fladgate 40 year old Tawny (LCBO #540260) … this amber coloured liquid is like nectar from the God’s for port drinkers – nutty flavours intermingle with butterscotch and caramel leaving a deep long finish behind … price, a mere $239 per bottle, start saving your pennies. And I called this one Best Wallet Opener.

Still favourites after all these year: Croft Indulgence - Reserve Blend ($16.80 – LCBO #621904); Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve ($15.65 – LCBO #309401); Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage 2000 ($16.95 – LCBO #191239); and Warre’s Warrior Special Reserve ($15.95 – LCBO #170928). All red port, all well priced, all delicious for any occasion.

Cheers.

Have a favourite port or port experience you’d like to share log in, log on, and/or set up an account … if you’re already a cellar member click reply and let us know.

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