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They say that port is an acquired taste. Much like scotch, it suffers from the appearance of stuffy old white men in smoking jackets. It’s something to be sipped over a fireside, and can’t be enjoyed beyond those wishing to put on effect to appear much more cultured than they really are.
This is also our first foray into ports. Well, first legitimate foray, as the last time we tried a port was in college and the heady sweetness was just a bit too much for a palate that was tempered on rot gut bourbon. (Ah, we were all so much younger back then.)
And, yes, port is sweet.
But, if the saying is true that real men drink port, then we figure we should real men it up.
Representatives from Sandeman had happened to reach out to us as well, so it all seemed to come together quite well.
Sandeman is a Portuguese port (side note – technically for it to be real port, it actually has to come from Portugal. See also champagne from champagne. Everything else is really “in the port style.”) that has gained quite a popular reputation among sommeliers, oenophiles, and mixologists alike. From what we’ve been told, this is a great introduction into the world of ports. This is encouraging.
Color: Ruby red, and incredibly dark. Almost black.
Nose: Grape jam. Sugary. Heavy fruit scents.
Neat: Grape right up front. Some plum and blackberry. Very sweet, but balanced. Nice little bit of dryness from the tannins on the end. Very full flavor.
Rocks: Sweetness much more pronounced, but it does open up the dryness on the end.
While port is still a bit too sweet for our tastes, the Sandeman Founders Reserve is a good introduction to the fortified wine game.
It’s also an affordable port, usually in the $17 to $20 range. As one review on Snooth.com says – “This porto is surprisingly good for one that can be bought on a supermarket shelf.”
We decided to mix with it as well, as we’re firm believers that good spirits are the base for good cocktails.
Sandeman Royal (Modified)
- 1 part Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto (well-chilled)
- Splash of Single Malt Scotch, 10 Year
Using a shaker, mix Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto and the 10 year (we used a nice, peaty Ledaig). Serve in a well-chilled sample martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
- 1 part Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto
- 2 parts vodka (well-chilled)
- 1/2 part Triple Sec
- 1/2 part lime juice
- Splash of cranberry juice
Using a shaker, mix the ingredients and serve in a well-chilled martini glass.
Much, much too sweet for my tastes. Defintiely up the alley of those who enjoy sweeter dessert cocktails, though. Truthfully, it reminds me of the Bahama Mama Slush Puppies we used to let melt during summers at the public pool and then drink it like soda.
Overall – this is a great introduction into the port world. It’s unoffensive, well balanced, and priced competitively. While it’s probably not going to knock the socks off of the connoisseurs, it is a pleasant little port form a reliable, old school company.