In my house, holidays begin with Champagne and end with Port. Traditional Port wine is produced in Portugal and is encumbered with numerous wine laws that can make your head spin if you try to sort them all out. Just take a look at the Port shelf at your local wine shop, there is Tawny Port, Colheta, Late bottled vintage (LBV) and Vintage among others. All have their distinct attributes and are very exciting to explore.
American Port style wines are not bound by the same wine laws as their Portugal cousins. They are, however, made in similar fashion. To be considered a Port style wine, the wine’s fermentation process is halted by adding a distilled spirit called Aguardente, a brandy of sorts. This gives the wine both its sweetness and high alcohol content.
Port can also be very expensive and can take decades in the cellar to come of age. This is probably a good reason it’s served mainly on holidays and special occasions. Value Port, a/k/a “the cheap stuff”, is mainly reserved for cooking. Finding a quality wine at a price point that won’t break the bank is the challenge. Here is one I encourage you to sip.
Terra d’Oro, located in Amador County California, has been producing wine since the early 1970’s. Their Zinfandel Port is available in 375ML bottles, a fun size for holiday gifts, and it fits nicely in a Christmas Stocking! This wine has chocolate and raisin on the nose with luscious dried berry and toffee flavors. A silky finish draws you back for more. In true Port fashion, it pairs perfectly with rich holiday desserts such as crème brule, pecan pie or stilton cheese. At a price point of $12 for the ½ bottle, and no aging time needed, this is an excellent ending to your holiday meal!
Alcohol level of 19% Retails for $12*
*This wine was sent as a trade sample