California Port And Goodwill Toward Men

When asked what the best wine I've ever had, my mind always races to Port.  I love it.  The 1994 Vintage Niepoort shared with my brothers-in-law sits atop a very large pile of memorable emptied bottles.  So does the 1995 Dow's Quinta Do Bomfim at the end of Thanksgiving one year, and Kalyra's 1987 Tawny enjoyed under a starry night sky with a date a million years ago.  They are all right up there.

Now that the leaves are falling, no excuse is needed to open a bottle.  Thankfully, the world of Port offers a lot of variety.  Recently, though, I've fallen in love again with California Port.  That is thanks to a surprise bottle.  But California is not an instinctive reach for port.

Vintage Port from Portugal delivers a lot that California Port does not.  Its intensity and black strap tannins pack a wallop absent in most Californians.  But there's also a lot to the stylistic approach in California that Porto lacks: grace, subtlety, restraint, balance, silkiness.  Which leads us to our current infatuation.

NV Paraiso Souzao Port Santa Lucia Higlands $40
This NV Souzao Port from Paraiso is all of those aforementioned and more.  Rounded with soft curves and nary an edge in sight, the spice is softly integrated, and the finish is smooth as a baby's behind.  Beyond the euphoria induced by ethanol, this not only makes you feel good, but makes you feel like doing good.  After a few sips you may find your face go flush, like seeing your wife in that dress, looking better than she did 10 years ago.  Absolutely pleasing and agreeable.  Contentment in a bottle.  At $40, it's far from the least expensive dessert wine out there, but a bottle will last some weeks - if you can restrain yourself.

(Disclaimer: this wine was received as a press sample.)