Not just any port in a storm

I’ve been a huge port wine fan for years. It’s the perfect finish to a great meal, and a fine port is indeed a wonderful thing.

Port is a dessert wine fortified with a neutral grape-based spirit. If you’ve never had a good port, it’s sweet with a high residual sugar content, and typically has a high alcohol content.

We picked up several dessert wines in California last month, including a tawny dessert wine from DeLoach, two bottles of a fantastic late-harvest chardonnay from Rombauer and three different bottles from Sonoma Valley Portworks, a small producer whose tasting room and factory is actually in Petaluma.

We went to SVP on a whim, and Bill, the portmaker, was working the tasting room. We were the only ones there, and Bill treated us to a grand tasting, including homemade cookies from the personal stash in his office.

To complement our Thanksgiving desserts (a trio of pies), we opened a bottle of the 2005 Aris Petit Verdot port from SVP. It’s an outstanding port, and possibly one of the only American ports made from petit verdot grapes. It’s also made in limited quantities — only 150 cases (1,800 bottles) of the 2005 were made.

Aris Petit Verdot took silver at the 2010 Los Angeles Wine Competition, and for good reason. Thick and inky, this is a port to savor, with mellow tartness and the right balance of sweet and spicy. In my humble opinion, it’s a steal at $30/bottle.

Related posts:

  1. Best bets in Napa and Sonoma
  2. An old Bordeaux

About the Author

Owner of a graphic design firm specializing in magazine design and wannabe chef. Former resident of Belgium, the United Kingdom and...North Dakota.