Maker: Symington, Gaia, Porto Grande, Portugal.wpid-2014-08-27-18.23.47.jpg.jpeg

Grapes: Unknown

Place of origin: Douro, Portugal.

Vintage: 2011

ABV: 13.5%

Purchased for $7 (Trader Joe’s)

Appearance: Dark burgundy,

Nose: Raspberry, toasted oak, whiff of hardwood smoke.

Palate: Sweet and tart on entry then dries out. Raspberry jam, blueberry, oak, white pepper.

Finish: Chewy with heavy tannins, black cherry, oak.

Parting words: For a $7 wine, Tuella is pretty good. What I tell people is that most of the wines at Trader Joe’s taste like a wine about twice the price. The $15 ones taste like $30 ones, the $20 ones taste like $40 ones and the $4 ones taste like $8 ones. This tastes like a $14 wine.

Tuella is OK on its own, but it’s a little unbalanced. It does very well with food, though. We had it with a cheese and red pepper pizza and it drank beautifully. It may well age nicely but I have a hard time devoting my limited cellar space to a wine that cost me less than $10. Tuella 2011 is recommended.

Fonseca Bin No. 27

Maker: Fonseca Guimaraens, Valença do Doura, PortugalFonseca Bin

Style: Ruby Port

ABV: 20%

Purchased for $20

Appearance: Dark burgundy

Nose: Grape jelly, alcohol, blueberries, blackberries, clove.

On the palate: Medium bodied and sweet. Strawberry jam, grape juice.

Finish: Black currant, oak. Fades fairly quickly.

Parting words: Bin No. 27 is a fine Port at a decent price, but without much to distinguish itself from the competition. For a “super ruby” I would expect a bit more punch, but if you’re looking for a tasty, easy drinking Port for after a festive holiday feast Bin No. 27 does the job. It is recommended.

Warre’s Otima 10

Maker: Symington, Oporto, Portugulwarre-otima-10-year-port

Style: Tawny Port

Age: 10 y/o (bottled 2009)

ABV: 20%

Appearance: Rust-colored with quick legs.

Nose: leather, blueberry jam, black raspberries, alcohol.

On the palate: Medium bodied and sweet. Red currant jelly, allspice, clove, nutmeg, black cherry, oak, alcohol.

Finish: a hint of wood, berry jam, a bit of pumpkin spice.

Parting words: Otima 10 is the first tawny Port I’ve had in a long time. It’s much better than the supermarket garbage I used to get in my college days. While I don’t think tawny is my favorite style of Port, this one is certainly a very tasty wine that pairs very well with chocolate and rich desserts.  It has that distinct leathery taste that all tawny Ports have, but with enough fruit to keep it from becoming unpleasant. It is easy to find and easy to drink. Simple, but sometimes that’s all you need. Otima 10 is recommended.