But Port's popularity throughout the English-speaking world has inspired much imitation, which is after all the sincerest form of flattery. Australia makes a wealth of excellent Port-type wines, many in the mellow, wood-aged "tawny" style. And there's more than a trickle of "Port" from the U.S., where the hotter reaches of California's Central Valley, much too warm to produce great grapes for dry table wines, are better suited for growing the grapes that make this kind of dessert wine, full of fresh-fruit sugar and fortified with warming brandy.
It is that warmth and strength that makes Port a particularly boon companion on chilly autumn and winter evenings, and a recent spate of blustery late-October conditions seemed like a good opportunity to pull the cork from an American "Port" by Quady, a well-regarded California producer.
Quady 1995 LBV Late Bottled Amador County California Port ($9.99/375 ml)
FOOD MATCH: It made a lovely dessert match with a bit of Humboldt Fog goat cheese from Northern California.
A year of wine and laughter
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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2001