Exploring Port

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 — Who doesn’t like Port?  A wine that goes well with cheeses, and also chocolate – two of the very best food groups – sure has alot going for it.  But when we first come across Port, it can be confusing to see the different styles (and prices!): Vintage, Late Bottled, Colheita, Tawny, Ruby; and that doesn’t include things like “Vintage Character” (a marketing wheeze).

Register online

So what’s it all about?   This tasting will make it all clear, as we have examples of each.  A perfect opportunity for novices to compare the different styles. But seasoned port drinkers will also appreciate the chance to try these side by side and see where the best values are.   In summary, we have pairs of Tawny (including a 40 year old), Vintage (’85 & ’86) and Colheita as well as a LBV and a Ruby; so we have all the bases covered. The wines are from a great selection of houses – Taylor, Fonseca, Delaforce, Burmeister and Da Foz.

More detail on the wines below.

Yes, we did mention cheese and chocolate. We will be providing “nibbles” of both for you to try with the ports. Which styles work best with which?

We are delighted to have Sharon Giffen to lead us through this tasting. She is a long-time member of the Winetasters Society of Toronto, and would consider herself an enthusiast, as opposed to an expert.  She served on the Board of Directors for the society for several years.  Sharon has done wine-tasting touring in a few countries – the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and Portugal – and of course Canada – with a big focus on British Columbia, where she intends to retire one of these days. Sharon’s philosophy about wine tasting is simple – practice, practice, practice!

This will be a great opportunity to try these different port styles side by side – sign up here to book your seat.

The Wines for this Event

The senior wine in our line-up is the Fonseca 40 year Tawny which we have partnered with their 20 year Tawny.  20-year-olds are probably the sweet spot for Tawny ports as you don’t need a second mortgage to buy … $70 versus $250 for the 40 year.  They combine freshness, delicacy and the primacy of fruit with secondary savory-nutty complexity from aging in wood: this really tests the skill of the blender in the tasting room. By contrast, the 40 Year Tawnies are made in minute quantities. These rarefied wines tend to be richer and sweeter than 20 Year Old, with concentrations sometimes verging on unctuous. You can decide if you’d prefer one bottle of the 40 year, or 3 of the 20 year…

Fonseca is an established port house, owned by Fladgate (who also own Taylor, Delaforce and Croft inter alia). We are also featuring one of their vintage ports, the 1985 (so 34 years old, midway between the two tawnies), and of course mostly bottle aged with just two or three years in cask compared to Tawnies which are aged entirely in cask. The ’86 Fonseca is partnered with 1985 Delaforce Vintage Port, so you can contrast the two houses styles.

Colheita port is the half-way house between Vintage and Tawny – wine from a single vintage, aged in cask for at least seven years (often considerably longer) then bottled for further aging.  Colheitas can vary greatly in style – from a mid-deep, relatively youthful, berry fruit-driven wine, to paralleling the softest and most venerable of tawnies. We are pouring the 1986 Noval and 1989 Burmeister.

The next style is LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) port. LBV ports are a bit of a mixed bunch.  Basically, a ruby port of a single vintage, aged four to six years in wood. However there is a wide range of styles from young and fruity to mature, and even some aged in tank. The wines are considerably cheaper than vintage ports and ready to drink on release, usually (but not always!) without decanting. We are pouring Taylor 1994 LBV, which should show very ripe fruit.

The line-up is completed by a Ruby Port from Da Foz (formerly owned by Calem).  Ruby Ports are younger fresher wines with less barrel aging – and significantly fewer dollars to acquire! These wines are usually easy drinking and excellent aperitifs.

So here is the full roster:

Fonseca Tawny 20 Years
Fonseca Tawny 40 Years
1986Colheita Port – Noval
1989Colheita Port – Burmeister
1985Vintage Port – Delaforce
1986Vintage Port – Fonseca
1994LBV – Taylor LBV
NVDa Foz Porto Ruby

Date: February 27, 2019
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Limit: 66 people
Members: $85*
Guests: $99*

*Price including HST

North York Memorial Community Hall
5110 Yonge St. (under library)
North York Centre Subway

GST/HST account: 844742619 RT0001
Business Name: Winetasters Society of Toronto

Cancellations accepted up to February 22, 2019 — (Cindy Taylor, 416.458.3147 evenings only). No reservations by phone, please. No mail confirmations will be issued — you will be contacted only if we are sold out. First come basis.