On Port

Port

Taylor Fladgate’s Late Bottled 2009 Vintage port has an unmistakable taste of dried cherries, dark chocolate and roasted jammy plums. I tasted this port last night while attending the Vancouver International Wine Festival and although I tried plenty of memorable wines it was port that I really ended up craving on my way out the door. I blame this entirely on the unrelenting rainy February weather Vancouver is experiencing, our regional rain:sun ratio makes port appealing 10 months of the year. It’s easy to wax poetic on the loveliness of port because it immediately conjures up (for me, at least) a bookcase-lined room with red velvet curtains and a fireplace somewhere in Edwardian England. My adoration for port arose mostly by accident despite it’s presence in my house growing up, my parents had several British friends and we always had a bottle of port or sherry for when they came round to visit. A couple of years ago I helped pierce a wheel of Colston-Bassett Stilton with a long metal skewer which was followed by “feeding” the cheese port every couple of days. After several weeks of port application the cheese was ready to be cut, the blue veining throughout had turned into a beautiful purple colour and the smell was intensely fruity. The taste was unbelievable, port-forward and slightly creamy despite the cheese’s crumbly texture, the natural saltiness of the cheese offset the berry sweetness of the port. I’ve since had several opportunities to explore pairings for port and I have to say, I definitely prefer blue cheeses and cloth-bound cheddars (such as Isle of Mull or Avonlea) over the traditional creamy cheese suggestion. If creamy cheeses are a favourite, I would suggest a triple cream such as Delice de Bourgogne or Brillat-Savarin as these cheeses have strong notes of blue cheese despite there being no actual veining.

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