As I've said: "never say never to a wine". Just when I've given up on Port, comes this little number. Nothing like a divine gastronomic intervention to spur me into a learning frenzy. Hopefully some of that will rub off on you as you come around to this marvelous pairing. For most, Port is an easy drink - sweet and fruity, with an alcohol kick - I mean, what's not to like?! For me, after I got through my initial stages of wine affair, those turned into negatives that I usually try to avoid. Here comes the 3rd phase, when "bad" is good again - when you shed the preconceived notions and open yourself up to everything (even the darn California Cab, but that's a story for another day).
So as the coolest ever birthday party Rona and I hosted for our friend and wine buff Dan was moving into its closing stages (or so we thought!), my taste buds signaled to my eyes that it was time to scan for a desert pairing. About 40 fine bottles, including magnums were scattered all over Domaine du Chevsky - so finding the right target was not easy at first. Finally, man on a mission, as I zoned out the noise of the crowd, I saw it standing there. "What the heck - let's give it a try!"
The only other port I'd ever had that gave me a pause was 1863 Niepoort Colheita Port - the oldest bottling in the cellars of the port figure extraordinaire Dirk Niepoort - that I had the luck to try at a Martine's Tasting earlier this year. Naturally, my expectations were rather qualified at this point.
1983 is not old for port. A good vintage too - good enough to be bottled as a "vintage port" - all grapes from one year (in contrast to Non-Vintage and Tawny ports which are blends from multiple years, similar to non-vintage Champagne). 1983 should just about be excellent enough, age-wise, courtesy of Linda, who also brought the next item - the lucious looking chocolate truffle or whatever that is, posing so invitingly. Kanji characters on the chocolate box gave me further confidence - after my recent visit to Japan, I really do trust Japanese when it comes to sweets.
A bite of the chocolate and a sip of Dow's 1983 Vintage Port, and I forgot all about my aversion to Port-at-large. With the youthful fruitiness chiseled off with time, and no overwhelming alcohol punch I'd found in other ports, this wine's graceful age, measured fruit and scents of an old wine cellar beckoned me again and again, until the bottle and the chocolate box were empty. "This would be perfect for Valentine's Day!" I thought. I guess Forrest Gump was right after all. Life is like that box - you never know what you're gonna get, especially when it comes to Port!