Port wine makes a terrific holiday gift for a whole host of reasons. Not only is it a prized rarity historically chosen for celebratory occasions, but port's opulence and power are ideally suited to cold winter nights. Many assume such uncommon "fortified wines" (meaning those spiked with distilled spirit) must have a limited audience, but the reverse is true for port. This overtly sweet style holds great appeal for those who find most fine wines too dry for their tastes. Port's gifting super-powers don't end there, either. Each bottle contains twice as many servings as a standard dry wine, as its liqueur-like intensity is best appreciated in half-sized pours and tiny sips. And, best of all, port almost always over-delivers on price – with the sole exception of the region's very top wines. Take, for example, this "Late Bottled Vintage" from Taylor Fladgate; it delivers the exceptional density, vibrancy, depth, and complexity associated with fine wines that sell for $40 or more, yet is available on sale this month for only half that price. The hyper-concentrated sweet-tart flavors of this port have the hedonistic impact of blueberry pie hot from the oven, but with a fiery thread of peppery spice that lingers long and warm into the night.
Taylor Fladgate "Late Bottled Vintage" Porto, Douro Valley, Portugal. $19.99 (regularly $21.99; sale price through Dec. 31). PLCB Item #7175