Why You Should Drink Port

Related To:
123548321

123548321

Photo by: Kieran Scott ©This content is subject to copyright.

Kieran Scott, This content is subject to copyright.

Eric Asimov posed the question Does Anybody Drink Port Anymore? in 2009. The port industry seems to have realized eight years later that the answer is no. In a world of Unicorn Frappuccinos, port is like grandpa yelling at the grandkids to put their phones down and have some darn respect. But it shouldn’t be that way. At the Wine & Spirits annual Top of the List event, port producers had a strong presence in the perfect spot next to the crème caramel.

Port is a fortified wine, which means a distilled spirit is added. Originally this strengthened the wine for shipping. The fortification makes the wine stronger, sweeter and more shelf-stable. Two of the most-popular varieties are ruby and tawny. Ruby is thick and luscious with jammy qualities, while tawny is amber in color and nutty.

I was introduced to port by a chef at a steak house that I worked at 15 years ago. Port is one of those drinks that no one seeks out because it seems unapproachable. The secret of the luscious powerful after-dinner quaff is often passed on like a family heirloom. I remember sitting outside on a patio one balmy night when he brought out the ruby liquid and we began the ritual. Conversation while drinking port is required to be deep and thoughtful. The fortified wine loosens the tongue and the spirit, unlike wine or even bourbon. I learned a lot about that chef that night, and we bonded as only two can over a serious port.

A few weeks later, the whispers swished through the restaurant as famed pitcher Roger Clemens sat at my table. Ever the professional, I let him and his entourage eat in peace until the chef asked for a favor. “Can you ask him for an autographed picture?” he asked, the ever-present Yankees hat perched on sweaty brow. While it is my policy to never interrupt a celebrity, I remembered the port. I remembered the intimate conversation, and I realized I was bound by the code of the port. So, I asked the legend for his autograph, and he brought me out to his massive SUV where he had photos waiting.

I realized re-tasting port last night how much it is like Roger Clemens; both are huge and timeless, and they seem unapproachable, though they just want to be celebrated for what they are: legends.

In many ways, port is the opposite of the Unicorn Frappuccino. Port is serious and historical, and it demands respect, but that isn’t going to get anyone to Snapchat their port. That’s where marketing comes in. Let them have a taste of a good, tawny port with a deep luscious crème caramel, and you’ll have them hooked. The nuttiness of the tawny port stands up to the burst of sweetness from the caramel, while the mellow custard marries everything together. So, kids, get off your phones, whip up a caramel dessert, pick up a port and get classy this weekend. You may even make a lifelong friend.

Recipes to try:
Photo: Getty
Keep Reading

Next Up

Holiday Drinking Strategies

This December, don’t guzzle down hundreds of empty calories at holiday parties. Instead, review these helpful tips before heading out to your next shindig.

Drink Pink: How Rosé Got So Popular

If you’ve found yourself suddenly drinking rosé wine, you’re part of a national trend. But how did the pretty pink wine get so popular, so suddenly?

Guess Which State (or District) Drinks the Most Rosé Per Capita

Here’s a hint: It’s full of politicians, lobbyists and stressed-out millennial staffers.

5 Ways to Drink Devilishly This Halloween

Five ways to drink devilishly this Halloween with wine including recommendations for candy.

50 Summer Drinks

Drink up! Food Network Magazine made enough sodas, shakes and cocktails to last all season.

Why You Should Be Eating Potatoes

These healthy potato recipes are perfect for St. Paddy's Day — and every other day, too.

One Pork Shoulder, 5 Ways

No ifs, ands or butts about it: turn one slow-cooked pork shoulder into five different meals.

Food Fight!: Caffeinated Drinks

Looking for that morning or afternoon buzz? Caffeinated creations -- including coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks -- vary not only in their pick-me-up powers but also in their nutritional benefits. Find out which one offers the most perks.

7 Healthy Warm Winter Drinks

These hot drinks will keep you warm all winter long.