The Best NV Port Deal Ever?

The Best NV Port Deal Ever?

Posted on Dec, 09. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

Well, given that I haven’t been around for too many decades, I’ll qualify that slightly-hyperbolic subject line with “that I’ve ever seen”…but don’t let that little detail diminish the truly incredible nature of this offer.

Port, to me, is one of the enigmas of the wine world. Too many barriers to entry (vintage port costs an arm and a leg and requires aging, non-vintage stuff is often trash) mean that most people, rather than trying to wade into the pond, just forgo it altogether…but when it’s done right, when it’s aged well enough, and/or when it’s priced in a range where you can experiment with it, Port can be something very special and, once in awhile, life-altering.

Now, for the uninitiated, here’s a few basic ins and outs of Port: all true Port comes from the Duoro region of Portugal; there are two main types of port, ruby and tawny—ruby is reddish and sweeter and richer, tawny is often a bit drier and more sherry-like; like in Champagne, “vintages” are declared by the powers that be only when a great growing season comes along—in these cases, the wine is aged in barrel for a maximum period of 2.5 years, and then ages in the bottle from there on out. Tawnies, on the other hand, are aged only in the barrel (the years in barrel are typically indicated on the bottle), hence the more brownish, tawny color and increased oxidation (the tradeoff is that they don’t change once they’re in bottle…all the aging is done in the barrel). Lastly, when juice from vintage years is aged in barrel a la tawny, it is called Colheita.

The bottle I’m bringing you today is a 10 year old (10 years in the barrel) tawny from a new (to the states), small producer, Messias. Dionysos’ Kevin Schultz personally selected this on a recent trip to Portugal, and I can’t say enough about it. It really is the whole package. And look, I love good vintage ruby port, even late-bottled-vintage stuff, but for my money, right now, without worrying about aging or spending a bunch of money, good tawny is where it’s at. It’s not sherry, but it’s in that direction, and that’s what I love—the time in the barrel really brings another class of elements to the table. A brooding, raisiny nose is buttressed by soft aromas of leather and tar, and salty Marcona almonds, and pecans dressed with caramel. The palate starts with sweet cookies, caramel and a touch of smoky charcoal, but it’s never actually that sweet. The alcohol is very well-integrated, as is the oak; the finish is dry, spicy and lingering. “Truly awesome” is how my notes finish out. It is.

But it doesn’t stop there (but wait, there’s more!) Unlike so many great wines of late, this wine has a classic, romantic pre-Prohibition package that just says “porto!” to me (literally and figuratively). Simple, stenciled white lettering, no frills (see below), and the bottle actually comes in a very sleek, attractive box—making this the perfect gift idea. I’d be thrilled to get this under the tree, myself.

Okay, so, remember way back in the subject line, where I used the word “deal”? I think I also said something about it being “the best ever”. I meant it. We’re talking under $19! I think I’ve said enough…this is the only tawny you need.

Messias 10 Year Tawny Porto
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $18.15 • Premier Cru: $18.97 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $24.75
Buy Now!

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