- Pink – a new style of port developed by Croft winemaker David Guimarens. Think of it like a rosé wine, that is crisp and fruity. It is suggested on the label for this port, that it can be made into cocktails. I have not yet tried this yet.
- Tawny – are made in oak barrels where the port wine is exposed to oxygen. The oxygenization turns the port a brownish colour and can impart a nutty tone to the port.
- Vintage – port has a year indicated on the bottle. Most ports are non-vintage, and can be a blend of multiple years. Vintage port is made on years where there is an exceptionally good vintage. These ports are aged for a short time in barrel or tank before bottling so that they keep their ruby or garnet colour, and fresh fruit flavours. These ports can age in bottle for many years before opening. 10 – 40 years bottle ageing is not uncommon.
My Port Tasting Notes
For the pastries, I wanted a variety of flavours and styles, and from a place that most people could have access to, at least in the lower mainland. I chose Whole Foods. They have quite a range of pastries. I settled upon purchasing a:
- cannoli – filled with creamy ricotta cheese, the ends dipped in dark chocolate, and the cannoli pastry dough infused with cinnamon.
- mini fresh berry tart – about the size of a loonie coin, with a tender pastry, creamy filling and topped with a blueberry, a slice of blackberry and a whole raspberry.
- lime tart – much bigger than the berry mini tart, this is about 4″ across. A thicker, firmer crust, with a filling made with sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and lime juice, then topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
- dark chocolate raspberry tart – the same size as the lime tart, and same crust. The tart filling is a mixture of whipping cream, dark Callebaut chocolate, white Callebaut chocolate and raspberries. The raspberries were mashed and made a layer on the tart shell, and then the whipping cream with mixed chocolates were overlain.
The cannoli has a nice crunchy shell that is infused with cinnamon. A creamy filling that has a touch of coconut. The dark chocolate tips adds some deeper flavours.
The Pink port added bright red fruit flavours. The Tawny brought out the red fruits and the port and lightened the brown sugar flavour. The Vintage port kept its still rich fruit and worked very well with the dark chocolate.
I enjoyed all three ports with the cannoli. A versatile dessert
Fresh Berry Tart
The fresh berry tart had a soft crust that crumbled easily. Nice creamy filling, not sweet, topped with bright berry flavours from the blueberry, raspberry and blackberry. The Pink port’s red fruit flavours nicely complemented the fresh berry flavours. The Tawny port flavour was too strong for this tart, while the Vintage port pairing was not quite as good as the Pink port. You get the fruit from the wine and the creaminess from the tart, but not fruit flavours from the tart.
The Pink port is my favourite pairing with the fresh berry tart.
You get a light citrus flavour from the lime tart; no tart puckering. There is a thicker creamy texture to the filling and sweetness. The crust is firmer than the fruit tart, and not crumbly. The Pink port brought out the citrus flavour in the tart more and you ended with a sweet finish. The tart brought out the cherry flavours of the Tawny port and finished drier than the Pink port. The Vintage port flavours were stronger than the citrus flavour of the tart, so I only felt the creaminess of the tart.
For this pairing, my choice is the Tawny port.
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart
The crust for the dark chocolate raspberry tart is the same as for the lime tart. This tart is very rich. Mostly semi-sweet, not bitter, dark chocolate flavour with a hint of raspberries. The Pink port with it’s higher acidity allowed the red fruit flavours to show up above the dark chocolate flavour from the tart. The acidity helped lighten up the texture of the tart. The Tawny port balanced out the chocolate flavour. You get half port and half chocolate flavour at the same time. It still finishes with chocolate flavour. The Vintage port pairing gave me dark fruits, dark chocolate, a touch of raspberries and some floral flavours. Quite nice.
My favourite pairing with this tart is the Vintage port.
Overall the cannoli seems to be a nice pairing overall so may be an easy choice for dessert with whichever port you decide to pour.
Where Can I Buy These Ports?
There are many Tawny and Vintage ports from Taylor Fladgate available at BC Liquor stores.
BC Liquor stores also carries a wide range of Fonseca Vintage ports. You can also get this port via the Angry Otter LRS.
The Croft Pink port is available at Everything Wine, Marquis Wine Cellar, Legacy Liquor, and the Bowen Island LRS.