Port can be highly food-friendly, however, it is sometimes difficult to choose the right moments and the best suggestions to pair with it. One thing is certain: there is a Port for every occasion and for every moment of the meal. There are countless possibilities for food pairings. Here are a few pointers:
- White Port: appetizers, lean fish, salad, pasta, toasted almonds
- Tawny Port: pâtés, dried fruit and nuts
- Vintage and LBV Port: meat, tangy cheese, red fruit desserts dark chocolate
- Rosé Port: appetizers or salads
Other aspects to be considered are the serving temperatures since, due to Port’s sweetness and alcoholic content, it is advisable to serve them at low temperatures, as they will always warm up once served.
- 5-8ºC – White and Rosé
- 8-12ºC – Aged Tawny and White
- 12-16ºC – Ruby (including LBV and Vintage)
So, for example, with a starter, a Portonic with toasted almonds is a great start to a meal. Strong-flavoured cheeses or pâtés go well with a 10-year-old Tawny or White Port, accompanied with dried fruit and nuts.
During the meal, creamy soups, salads or grilled fatty fish pair perfectly with White Port. For roast meat, and steaks with intense sauces, peppers or spices, choose a Late Bottled Vintage.
If you want to be bolder, why not pair Port with Asian food? The secret is to go for fresher and elegant wines, avoiding the more structured and full-bodied Ports, which will certainly overpower most flavours. Some possible options are: Dry or Extra Dry White Port, 10-year-old White Port, Tawny Reserve, Ruby Reserve, LBV. With marinated or fried fish (frying fish gives it an added texture, allowing more caramelized or oxidative wines) a well-achieved pairing might be an Extra Dry White Port since the contrast and the aromatic intensity contribute to enhance and combine the flavours. With meat and ginger jiaozi and soy sauce, or Japanese fried chicken with soy (karaage chicken) a 10-Year-Old White Port will explore the caramelized flavours of the dishes. In contrast to this, based on the tangy, fried notes, why not try a Tawny Reserve? With nigiris (the famous pieces of rice with different fish toppings, made of horseradish, egg yolk and soy), pair with Rosé Port and you are on to a winner. Followed by yakiniku terki (Japanese style grilled meat with salt and sweet and sour soy sauce) an LBV balances the protein in the best way.
Dessert is certainly a highlight moment to taste Port. Cakes and chocolate mousses pair harmoniously with young and fruity LBVs or Vintages. Intense flavours can be enhanced by the delicate flavours of 10 or 20-Year-Old Tawnies. When it comes to desserts with red fruits, such as cheesecake, or soft, medium-intensity cheeses, Ruby Reserve or an LBV would be the choice. If the cheeses are more intense or harder, then choose Aged Tawny Port, such as a 20-Year-Old Tawny.
One of the most glorious pairings matches an aged Vintage to a good cigar, or even a 30 or an over 40-Year-Old Tawny.
Once again, we should not be afraid to take risks. Think out of the box and try any Port with food. With a few rules of thumb and some panache, success will be huge – and very tasty!
Quevedo and Trovisca Port is available at the Private Wine Stores in Winnipeg. Please inquire for Saskatchewan.
Article courtesy of Quench Magazine.