Wine Coordinator at The New York Wine & Culinary Center.
Ports and other fortified wines are made by adding grape brandy to increase alcohol content. Most ports are made from red grapes, and are sweet and strong. Typical aromas include fig, dried cherry, caramel, hazelnuts, and chocolate. Here are three ideas for how to pair port wine:
•Dark chocolate. Try a piece of dark chocolate broken from a large bar (I recommend 70% cocao or higher for best results). A dark chocolate brownie, chocolate truffle, or flourless chocolate cake are wonderful partners for port, as well. Port is one of the few wines with the body and intensity to stand up to chocolate.
•Spiced nuts. Add some whole mixed nuts to a pan on the stove with a little butter and brown spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove). This is a simple and healthy dessert that will bring the spiciness and nuttiness of the port to life.
•Make a sauce. Port makes a beautiful reduction sauce when simmered and concentrated on the stove. You can pour the thick and syrupy sauce over meat for a main course, or over fruit, ice cream, or cheese for dessert. When you add the wine directly to the dish, you are assured of a great pairing.
Many delicious ports can be found in the Finger Lakes region. Seek out Fox Run, Goose Watch (which make a rare white port), Hazlitt, Lakewood, and Red Newt.