Port: A sweet holiday investment
Port, the classic fortified wine, comes in many styles and price points. To make a fortified wine, a neutral spirit is added to the wine during fermentation. This halts the process and leads to a wine with higher alcohol and a lot of natural sweetness.
A plummy choice is Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port ($20), a versatile blend that's a match for both dark chocolate and blue cheese.
Croft 10 Year Old Aged Tawny Porto ($30) is excellent after dinner. Here's a mellow, smooth Port that finds a foil with nuts and nut desserts. The Fonseca 10 Year Tawny Port ($34), bright and fruity, complements desserts that aren't too sweet. Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Porto ($32) stands out for its refined, elegant style and very ripe fruit.
The great Ports usually are vintage Ports. Vintages are declared in the best years. These Ports can be very expensive and may last decades. A vintage was declared for 2009 Port.
Croft 2009 Vintage Port ($84; $44, half-bottle) is a velvety, concentrated choice, with a hint of tropical fruit and berries. Fonseca 2009 Vintage Porto ($100; $55, half-bottle) displays ripeness and depth.
Taylor Fladgate presents two sensational Ports from 2009. The 2009 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porto ($100) is an intense, focused, balanced selection notable for its black fruit and finesse. Not a lot of the Taylor Fladgate 2009 Vargellas Vinha Velha ($234) is made. It's the essence of the house's blend -- aromatic, high-powered, built to last.