Port wine is very versatile and can be paired with many different kinds of food. It is most commonly served at the end of the meal with a selection of fine cheeses, dried fruits and walnuts. It can, however, be served chilled as a delicious aperitif such as Taylor’s Chip Dry and Tonic.
What this section aims to do, is broaden your horizons and appreciation of this amazing wine - and consider the different Port wine styles, matched in ways that perhaps you may not have considered until now.
Full bodied, fruity red Ports
These include Ruby Ports, Reserve Ports and Late Bottled Vintage Port. Although offering different degrees of complexity and sophistication, these port wines share a deep red youthful colour and intense fruity flavours reminiscent of cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant.
The perfect finish to any meal, these wines do not need to be decanted. With their diversity of flavours, there are a wealth of sublime opportunities for pairing with cheese – more, indeed, than any other wine. Consider a creamy and full bodied Pont L’Evêque, or Brie de Meaux with a Taylor’s First Estate Port, a farmhouse Cheddar with Taylor’s Select, or a thick, crumbly and tangy Valençay or Crottin de Chavignol with a Late Bottled Vintage.
But do not feel that you have to stop there. If you have more of a sweet tooth than a savoury one, try a sumptuous chocolate tart, or dark chocolate mousse with some red berried fruit – heavenly!
Rich and Mellow Tawny Ports
These include the sumptuous 10, 20, 30 and 40 year old tawny Ports whose delicious nuttiness and aromas of butterscotch and fine oak wood intensify the longer they spend in wood. When served with slightly chilled, these pair beautifully with the rich, nutty and fruity characters of a Comté or an aged Pecorino - if you are serving cheese – or with a dessert – try an almond tart, pecan pie, crème brûlée. Or better than that, an apple crumble with some vanilla ice-cream.
A 20 Year Old Aged Tawny Port has a wonderful acidity to the wine and pairs beautifully with Foie Gras and brioche at the beginning of a fine dinner.
Walnuts are an excellent accompaniment to Vintage Port, as are blue veined and other richly flavoured cheeses. So too are dried fruits such as apricots or figs. Alternatively, simply savour the rich and complex flavours of the wine on it's own in a generously proportioned glass with good company.
White Port is made in the same way as ruby Port, but using white grapes rather than red. They are rather good served chilled as an aperitif. Or drink it as guests do when they visit Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas – poured over ice in a tall glass, topped up with tonic and a leaf of fresh mint. Accompanied by salted almonds or olives it is the perfect summer drink.
Taylor’s white ports are also rather excellent when drizzled into a warm soup, adding some wonderful depth to the soup on a cold winter’s day.