I’ve had a long and contentious history with Port. I was born in a non-vintage year (1962…missed it by that much) but my dad went ahead and added a few dozen cases of a 1962 Port to his wine collection (to lay down for my 18th birthday) before we headed out to Oahu–then, in Georgia, my aunt and uncle proceeded to obliterate the cellar over the course of our years in the Pacific. With those tales in mind on my 18th, I went out and bought myself a bottle of 1962 Niepoort (one of that house’s “late bottled vintages” which shouldn’t be confused with a declared vintage but still cost what I considered a small fortune) and was thoroughly blown away by it. Although the bottle should have lasted days-to-weeks, I and my philistine friends finished it and the cheese I brought out with it in about 20 minutes (pot, which was in much greater supply than vintage wine, tends to give you the dry mouth as well as the munchies). [I should note that by this time I had learned a little bit about wine working a couple of nights per month as a wine steward at a restaurant adjacent to CNN studios in Atlanta although I knew fuck all about wines when hired and was mostly just there for lecherous old homosexuals to feel up whilst placing their orders…good times].
Nowadays, we tend to go through a case of much more pedestrian port at Christmas (more when there are guests), and about another case spread out over the late fall and early winter. The weather and day-length hasn’t really suggested Port, yet, but my tutors are strict mistresses and have made an assignment due Monday so I ventured out to see if I could find anything interesting on the shelves of the supermarket (since the wine stores are closed Sunday). I wound up with a bottle of Dow’s run-of-the-mill “Classic Port.”
We finished a dinner of venison fillets b/w cauliflower baked in aged provolone then opened the port for a dessert, expecting little from the experience. We received, in turn, a full flavoured glass of cherries and vanilla carried by the viscous fluid to every reach of our palates. The finish was spicy but with hints of a fine cigar (which I will have to enhance with an actual Cuban during one of these awesome, Autumn sunsets, soon). It was a relatively cheap bottle, but sometimes you just get lucky.