Would that we all could age as gracefully as Port.
This edition of The Dozen features three of the pride of the Douro – a relatively young, enjoyable, affordable, entry-level and two 50-year-olds that are incredibly enjoyable. (Yes, that comes at a price.) One of those is of particular interest because it is a white Port, a format not routinely put away for aging.
As at the dinner table, we’ve placed the Ports at the end with nine other wines to savor before we get there.
2021 Planeta “La Segreta” Sicilia Bianco ($19). An enjoyable, fragrant wine with lively green fruitiness but crisp acidity.
2017 Fiddlehead Sta. Rita Hills Gruner Veltliner ($32). Delicate floral and geranium leaf aromas, a little oily like a Riesling, with juicy ripe stone fruits, a little whey, a little dry wood – altogether a lot more complex and interesting than your average Gruner.
2021 Ehlers Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($38). Very rich and aromatic, with lovely green botanical flavors (almost like those in spirits) and a long finish of gentle lime.
2020 FEL “Savoy Vineyard” Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($52). A very deft hand to have the oak seemed to actually add freshness – spirited vanilla bean – to the fresh apple core of the flavor. Delightful.
NV Jansz “Premium Cuvée” Tasmania Sparkling Rosé Wine ($30). Good flavors of minerality, fresh vanilla, and apple, although not very persistent on the palate.
2019 San Felice “Il Grigio” Chianti Classico Riserva ($23). Bright red and black fruit flavors with a nice wood note or two and a crisp finish.
2018 Gamble Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($60). Well-structured with juicy but not sweet blackberries, lots of savory notes, hints of chocolate and violets, some minerality, and well-integrated tannins.
2017 San Felice “Poggio Rosso” Chiati Classico Gran Selezione ($68). Quite nice – good berry aromas, red cherry fruits, good texture, and raspy Sangio finish.
2019 Ehlers St. Helena Merlot ($69). A lean wine, very long on the palate, with dried black raspberry and cherry flavors, some minerality, and chewy tannins.
Cockburn’s No. 1 Special Reserve Porto ($20). A pleasant, weekday-evening Port, ripe, young, and a little rough around the edges with flavors of red plums, dried nuts, and a little figgy.
Kopke 50 Year Old Tawny Port. ($290). Aromas and flavors of sorghum, brown sugar, and brewed coffee notes, very rich and well-structured and surprisingly still quite lively.
Kopke 50 Year Old White Port ($190/375 ml). Not surprisingly, more reticent in the nose and on the palate than the tawny, with lovely mellow pear flavors and hints of ginger and other baking spices. Very long on the palate.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.