Valentine’s Day often features chocolate. Despite what many wineries tell you, that’s a tricky match with wine. Even dark chocolate isn’t a particularly good pairing with a dry red wine. And, as I mentioned last week, brut sparkling wine is best avoided with sweet desserts, including chocolate.
A far better choice is Port, and my favorite is a nutty, aged tawny. Such wines denote a period of oak aging on the label, such as 10, 20 or 40 years. These numbers are approximations, because the wines are blends from multiple harvests. For me, 20 years is the sweet spot, because the wines are smooth, nutty and complex, yet still retain some fresh fruit flavors. But the wines are quite expensive – usually $50-$60. The 10-year-old bottlings are nearly as good and cost considerably less.
A good example is the Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, which offers sweet flavors of toffee, hazelnut, orange and orange peel. It’s smooth, with nice freshness that keeps it from being cloying. You should be able to find it for around $30-$40.
As with all tawnies, an open bottle will keep well for several weeks in the fridge. It may turn a little cloudy, but that’s nothing to worry about.