When the pies are finished, uncork Port. The fortified wine will satisfy you today and brace you for tomorrow.
Fortified wine is produced when a neutral, clear grape spirit or brandy is added to the wine midway during the fermentation. That halts the process at a point when the wine is naturally sweet as well as at a higher level of alcohol. Port is high-octane, at about 20 percent alcohol.
There are 10 types of Port, from the modest ruby variety to the classic vintage category. A vintage is declared only in exceptional years.
A good way to start is with Fonseca Bin No. 27 ($15), a plummy, easygoing ruby Port that's quite sweet and has a trace of spice. You'll find a note of black cherry in it, too. Fuller bodied, organic, fruity and to the point is Fonseca Porto Terra Bella ($14), a velvety reserve Port and a sustainable choice.
Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny ($55) ups the ante and delivers a delightful, supple, more complex, mature, raisiny and nutty drink. Graham's 20 Year Tawny ($56) is a delicate, versatile Port, ideal after the pumpkin and pecan pies.
The elegant, inviting Croft 2009 Vintage Port ($80) has a suggestion of berries and dried fruit. This is a ripe winner, excellent on its own, or with blue cheese and walnuts. Since it's Thanksgiving, try Maytag or Point Reyes blue instead of Stilton.