Without fail, as soon as the nighttime temperatures start edging below zero, I get a hankering for port. Tawny port, that is – this wine is absolutely synonymous with fall and winter: warming and savoury, something to be sipped in the dark evenings as the winter solstice approaches.
I should start tracking the dates of my first tawny port purchase of the season; I’m betting there’s an extremely close correlation with the weather forecast. This year, it ended up being in mid-October thanks to the cold snap that blustered in after a glorious August and September.
I grabbed a bottle of the Croft Reserve Tawny, which we’ve enjoyed in previous years. This year I was a little disappointed. It’s a very simple port: pinkish-cranberry in colour with an amber rim; some some generic red fruit flavours and only a slight whiff of that classic tawny nuttiness that I love so much; and a palate that’s a bit hot and unbalanced, with a little too much sweetness and not enough acidity. It’s Basic Bitch tawny, but I suppose that comes with the price point – I picked this up on sale for $40.
Maybe I’m remembering it wrong, or maybe my palate has changed. Or, maybe they changed the blend from previous years. Regardless, I won’t be buying this one again, but I’ll definitely keep exploring the rest of their portfolio. Croft has many other ports in its line-up – very, very good ports – along with some weirder stuff like a white port, and a pink port, and something called “Purple Velvet” that I definitely need to try.
Name: Croft Reserve Tawny Port
Region: Douro, Portugal
Grape: not stated; a blend of typical Portuguese port grapes
Taste: simple red fruit and a bit of nuttiness
Texture: unbalanced; a little too hot and a little too sweet