Graham's "Six Grapes" Porto ($22.39)
This non-vintage Ruby Port is made in the style sometimes called "Vintage Character" because its full and tannic structure emulates that of the more pricey, ageworthy vintage wine. Very dark purple in color, almost black, its aroma focuses on black fruit, plums and prunes. Sweet fruit, tart acidity, alcoholic warmth (this fortified wine contains 19.5% alcohol) and smooth but substantial tannins come together on the palate in a dessert wine that's bold but not as fierce or unapproachable as a youthful Vintage Port; there's not a lot of complexity here, but good balance and assertive Port character make it a pleasant, warming glass on a mild autumn evening. Made from six Port-grape varieties, hence the name: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Tintao Cão. US Importer: Premium Port Wines Inc., San Francisco. (Oct 31, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: Testing Port's affinity with cheeses, I served it with both a cave-aged Swiss Emmentaler and a Vernières Roquefort. It worked well with both, bringing up the creaminess and an attractive appley-nutty quality in the Swiss and an almost "meaty" salty character in the blue-veined French cheese.



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