Four Ports To Warm A Winter Wine Glass The sweet, wintry wine is perfect for sipping with cheese or chocolate. Whether you have quiet plans to hibernate by the fire or head out for holiday celebrations, here are a few suggestions for the right port to get you through the cold, cold night.
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Four Ports To Warm A Winter Wine Glass

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Four Ports To Warm A Winter Wine Glass

Four Ports To Warm A Winter Wine Glass

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Whether you have quiet plans to hibernate by the fire or head out for crowded celebrations in the next couple of weeks, we thought port just might suit the job. Port - the sweet wintry wine for sipping with cheese or chocolate. Or to sip in the fourth quarter of football games when your team is behind.

Since this is also that time of year when you reconnect with family and old friends, we're joined by our friend, Gary Vaynerchuk, proprietor of Wine Library, host of Wine Library TV, and a bestselling author.

Gary, been too long. How are you?

Mr. GARY VAYNERCHUK (Wine Library): I'm doing well, my friend. How are you?

SIMON: I'm fine. Thank you.

Gary's in New York, by the way. You and I are in separate locations.


SIMON: We've each got the same ports.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Correct.

SIMON: And why don't we start there with the Australian port. This is Whiskey(ph) Blake Classic Tawny.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yes. And this comes from...

SIMON: By the way, that happens to be the name of the young woman I took to the junior prom.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Whiskers Blake. I like that. So I'm going to pour this.

SIMON: Yeah.

(Soundbite of liquid pouring)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Sounds nice.

SIMON: (Unintelligible)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: This is extremely popular - the Hardy's Whiskers Blake. It's like a 10 to 15 dollar Tawny port. The far majority of listeners can go out and find it. It's got great distribution. And it's always scored quite well by the magazines. Even one year it was scored 94 points by the Wine Spectator.

And to me this is a great entry for somebody who wants to experience port but doesn't want to pay the 60, 70, 80 dollar price points we have later on.

SIMON: All right. Well...

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: So let's give it a sniffy sniff.

SIMON: Yeah.

(Soundbite of sniffing)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Now, what are you picking up on the nose, Scott?

SIMON: Apricot?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yeah. You know, it's funny. I get that on the tail end a little bit. For me, I'm getting a little, you know - first of all, this is a little bit more alcoholic than, you know, some of your (unintelligible).

SIMON: I noticed - 18 percent. Yes.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Eighteen percent. So I get a little bit of the alcohol. But I also get a lot of butterscotch and caramel. And I think the apricot flavor is something I'm picking up as well. But for me the dominant is like kind of like this dark chocolate, the caramel and the butterscotch.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: All right. So let's give it a whirl. Let's try it.

(Soundbite of swishing)

SIMON: I just swallowed mine. Force of habit.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yeah. As you could see, I was swishing mine. So I apologize to all the listeners that got a little scared there. But, you know, I wanted to get all the flavors. And I don't know if you're getting this, but that butterscotch caramel thing that I was talking, a nose, really comes through on the finish.

In the beginning what we were tasting was more red fruit. But now, I don't know if you're going...

(Soundbite of smacking)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: know, if you kind of do that...

SIMON: Yeah, it's very caramelly. Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Very much so. It really feels like the topping of an ice cream sundae.

SIMON: I like it, actually. Mm. Sorry.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Yes, I can see having this by the fire.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: What I think is very...

SIMON: Of course, apartment dwellers, we don't have a fire, but you know, I could see having it in the bathtub.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: By the way, very common. And more importantly, I mean this is really, you know, because it does have a little bit of the higher alcohol content, this is really - for example, are you a Bears fan?

SIMON: Am I Bears fan? You know that. Of course.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: So you don't mind...

SIMON: If you open my veins, it'll be blue and orange.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I know. I know.

SIMON: Yeah. Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: So as you know, my Jets are playing your Bears the day after Christmas this year.

SIMON: Yes, I know.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: And it's a big game for both of us. And it's going to be cold. And it'll probably be snowy. And for everybody that's going to Soldier Field, you know, this is the kind of wine you want to have at your tailgate, because it will warm you up. So this is really very time sensitive.

I think way too many people - port's a little bit out of fashion, Scott. You know, port was very, very big 30, 40 years ago. It's calmed down quite a bit. And I think there needs to be a resurgence, because there's a lot of stuff - we have a 10-year-old pawny(ph) port here. We have a late bottled vintage port here. And then we have the classic thing that most people think of port where you buy a 50, you know, something that's 50 to 150 bucks a bottle, which is a vintage port.

Why don't we try the Quinta Do Noval, because I know we don't have unlimited time. And I want you to try this. It's very special.

SIMON: All right. OK. Here it goes.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: So let's pour that.

(Soundbite of liquid pouring)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: All right.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: So why don't you give that a sniffy sniff?

SIMON: All right.

(Soundbite of sniffing)

SIMON: Oh, my gosh. I mean, you can...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: The power, right?

SIMON: Yes, the power, exactly.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: This wine just punched you in the nose. It's taken no prisoners.

SIMON: Oh, my word. And it's not - it's just so rich. I mean, it's like - it's almost like an orchard reduced somehow, and just, you know, pumped into your nostrils. It's amazing.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: you could be a guest on the show, Scott. I mean, I like the way you describe it.

SIMON: I have been a guest on your show.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I know. I know. So why don't you try it?

SIMON: OK. Oh, this is outstanding.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: What do you think? Love it?


Mr. VAYNERCHUK: And you can taste the difference, right?

SIMON: I'm afraid you can. And I like the...

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: And that's the problem.

SIMON: I like the Whiskers Blake Classic Tawny, but this is extraordinary. I mean just absolutely, I mean, melts over your tongue. You know, like the kind of thickest, most expressive chocolate you've ever had, it coats your tongue in that. It's amazing.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: It's a really unbelievable bottle of port. It drinks amazingly well now for a young port.

SIMON: I should be spitting this out, shouldn't I, because I'm just trying this and I have a show to do.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I don't know. It's really darn good.

SIMON: But oh, it's good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: You know what's amazing about this, Scott? This wine will last in the bottle in proper storage, let's say 55 to 65 degrees, stable conditions, for the next 40 to 70 years.

SIMON: Really?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: So here's what I love about it. If people are listening right now that were married in 2004 or had their first child in 2004, or maybe their first date or their team won the Super Bowl, whatever is memorable about this vintage, this would be the kind of wine they could buy easily. You know, I for one would recommend anybody who has a child in 2004 to buy this specific one 'cause I think it's the best of the vintage and put it away and then pop it on, you know, the wedding day or when they have their first child.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: That's what's amazing. You don't have to - I mean this is, again, is a 69, 70 dollar - which is plenty of money, but isn't 4,000, isn't a thousand, isn't $500 a bottle, and can be very special. I mean, could you imagine right now popping some bottles of wine from the birth of your child or your anniversary, on your 50th anniversary? Those are very nice moments and I think wine brings people together and that's how I like to look at it.

SIMON: Quinta Do Noval 2004 Vintage. Gary Vaynerchuk, wine and social media entrepreneur. Talk to you soon, Gary.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Listen, have a great, great holiday.

SIMON: You can find a list of Gary's recommendations on our website...

(Soundbite of burping)


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