Our love affair with Port happened so quickly, that by the time we tried to get that last drop from the little glass, we knew we were in trouble. It always surprises us that Port isn’t more popular. Perhaps it is because it can get quite expensive or maybe it’s the stigma as an old man’s drink – but one sip of this rich, sweet wine often blossoms into a beautiful drinking habit.
Gothamist took two Port virgins out for a tasting yesterday. It was a beautiful, sunny, brisk afternoon and we couldn’t think of a better place to spend it then sipping port in a dark, smoky candlelit bar. One look at the port selection at Hudson Bar and Books, and we knew we had found the place to start new loves and rekindle the old.
We started with the Offley Ruby Port NV, for $11 a glass. Ruby’s are often young, non-vintage (typically sold at 3 years old) and have concentrated fruit notes. The one we tried was deep red in color, sweet and rich with flavors of raisons and dried cherries.
Next came the Tawny Port. Tawny Ports are typically aged in cask for extended periods of time. We had the Noval 20 year Tawny at $16 a glass. This Port was like butterscotch in a glass.
The Vintage Port we had was the Smith Woodhouse, 1985 for $24. This Port was a little subtler than the others we tried but seduced us by the third sip. Vintage Ports are matured in wood for up to five years before bottling. This one was soft and rich with notes of honey, raisins and other dried fruit.
The grand finale of our tasting was the Quinta Do Noval, Colheita, 1968 at $32 a glass. This was one of the best Ports we had ever had and at approximately $6 a sip we savored every last drop and even licked the glass…just a little bit. Colheita Port is made from a single vintage and has been aged in cask for a minimum of 8 years. This Port exuded hints of butterscotch, almonds and caramel; the texture, smooth and rich, coated every last little taste bud in our mouths.
We left the bar with new friends, two new inductees into the Port-fan club and that pure unadulterated love for a fine fortified wine. It’s been a few years since we experienced that initial spark, but the excitement has not faded.
Oh Port, we love you long time.