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The Playboy Guide to Ports

The Playboy Guide to Ports: Photography by JOSEPH SHIN

Photography by JOSEPH SHIN

Let the wine snobs debate which wine pairs best with a meal (Thanksgiving or otherwise); bring dinner to a close with a perfectly balanced bottle of port. The fortified wine from Portugal’s Douro Valley is the thinking man’s after-dinner drink: complex enough to inspire talk of its pleasures, sweet yet strong enough to wrap up the meal with a kick. Whether it’s a fresh ruby, a nutty tawny, a bold vintage or an exotic white port, be sure to serve it slightly chilled to let the flavors bloom as you sip.

The freshest-tasting and youngest of ports, with bright fruit flavors. Sip straight or use in cocktails in place of aperitifs such as Campari and sweet vermouth.

Port made from white grapes (as opposed to red) is another category entirely and makes for an ideal aperitif. Try Ramos Pinto Branco Reserva.

Incredibly complex vintage ports are made from a single vintage and aged in oak for two years before aging in the bottle for 10 to 40 years.

Tawny ports are aged in oak for at least seven years and oxidize in the cask; they show nutty, caramel characteristics. Dow’s is outstanding.

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