8 best ports for Christmas 2019, with wines for every budget from Waitrose, Aldi and more

8 best ports for Christmas 2019, with wines for every budget from Waitrose, Aldi and more
8 best ports for Christmas 2019, with wines for every budget from Waitrose, Aldi and more

A fortified wine produced exclusively in Portugal’s Douro Valley, port may be synonymous with Christmas time but, with such a wide range on offer, there’s no need to save it for the winter months.

For most of us, the word port conjures up cosy images of roaring fires and dinner parties, huddled around the cheeseboard – and whilst there’s no greater pairing than a drop of vintage port with a wedge of classic English stilton, that’s not the only way for it to be enjoyed.

Rather deceivingly, despite the rich perception of some ports, it’s actually the perfect drink to end a meal with – that sweetness cuts through any fatty notes still present from the main dish itself.

You also want your wine to match the sweetness of your dessert (if not exceed) which is another reason you see it paired with all puddings – from berry-based treats through to decadent chocolate.

Whilst most port is red – including youthful ruby, vintage and the smooth and nutty tawny’s, there are also white and rose styles which are perfect for drinking throughout summer.

Very popular in Portugal itself, we’d recommend trying chilled, either over ice or with tonic, just as you would with a G&T.

Here’s our pick of the very best in price order.

Fletcher’s Fine Ruby Port

£6.49, Aldi
Best for: Value

Key specs – ABV: 19%; Volume: 750ml

Ruby port is the youngest, least expensive variety – it’s your entry-level port and this one from Aldi is one of the cheapest on the market today.

However, there’s still a lot to be said for fresh-faced rubys. Although lacking some of the complexity you only get from ageing, this fruity, youthful style bursts with sweet blackberry, plums and dates and as it won’t improve with age, it’s perfect for drinking now.

Don’t just take our word for it, this port also gets rave reviews from loyal customers, too. Serve slightly chilled with a chunk of dark chocolate.

Croft Pink Port

£9.75, The Whiskey Exchange
Best for: Pink Port

Key specs – ABV: 19.5%; Volume: 500ml

Another fantastic port for the summer months, this rose style is a first in the port world.

Just as you’d expect from some rose wine, here you’ll detect notes of fresh strawberries, raspberry and cherry as well as fragrant rose petal.

But don’t be fooled by the sweet hue, this has a pleasingly dry finish that you might not be expecting. They suggest serving over ice but it’s also a useful ingredient to add a twist to classic fruity cocktails – or simply add tonic.

Neipoort Ruby Dum Port

£14.75, The Whiskey Exchange
Best for: Ruby

Key specs – ABV: 19.5%; Volume: 750ml

Port still has a hard time shaking off its reputation as an old boy’s drink. However, it needn’t be that way, and fifth generation Dirk Niepoort has playfully named this after one half of the Alice in Wonderland twins – Tweedle Dum.

Super drinkable with a dark red hue, it’s particularly good after a heavy meal thanks to its fresh character and fruit-forward red cherry and plum notes. We’re confident it will win over most port doubters.

Selfridges Selection Whytingham’s Finest Reserve Port

£17.99,Selfridges
Best for: Reserve

Key specs – ABV: 19.5%; Volume: 750ml

A rich, satisfying port with good complexity due to the blend of both 2007 and 2008 vintages.

Warming, sweet berry notes mingle with a shot of spice, all packaged up in a long, smooth, memorable finish.

At this excellent price, we’ve found a port that we’d be happy to share liberally at the end of a meal with good friends – an absolute must to have on standby this Christmas.

Harvey Nichols Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014

£19.95, Harvey Nichols
Best for: LBV

Key specs – ABV: 20%; Volume: 500ml

A collaboration with Quinta de la Rosa, a small, family-owned port house who have been making port since 1815, this is a great example of a late bottled vintage.

Satisfyingly heavy and rich, you’ll be rewarded with jammy black fruit and dark chocolate notes. However, in true Quinta de la Rosa style, it’s elegantly well balanced and not quite as overpoweringly sweet as some other LBV’s you may have tried.

As such, you should find it works just as well with savoury parmesan as it does with rich chocolate puds.

Graham’s Blend No.5 White Port

£21.25, The Whiskey Exchange
Best for: White Port

Key specs – ABV: 19%; Volume: 750ml

If you’re partial to a G&T we’d recommend switching it up and replacing your G for a P.

One to enjoy in the warmer months as well as winter, it’s every bit as refreshing when paired with tonic but with a slightly saltier, savoury edge.

With less of an oxidised quality than regular white port, this easy-drinking style displays fresh citrus notes and aromatic orange blossom. And at just 19%, it’s also a much lower ABV than gin, so perfect for light summer sipping.

With such a pretty design on the bottle, this will make a welcome addition to your drinks cabinet or gift to your host at the next dinner party.

Berry Bros. & Rudd William Pickering Tawny Port

£26.95, Berry Bros. & Rudd
Best for: Tawny under £30

Key specs – ABV: 19.5%; Volume: 750ml

An excellent value tawny, this is a blend of different wines with an average age of 15 years that has had some time aging in an oak barrell. It’s been made exclusively for Berry Bros. & Rudd by port house Quinta do Noval who sell their reserves for over £1500 a bottle.

For a fraction of that price you’ll get layer upon layer of dried fruit, toasted nuts and a caramel-like sweetness.

Ideal with the whole cheeseboard this Christmas, it would also make a very welcome gift.

Sandeman 20 Year-Old Tawny Port

£39.99, Waitrose
Best for: Overall

Key specs – ABV: 20%; Volume: 750ml

There are few brand mascots more iconic than Sandeman’s ‘Don’, in his billowing cape and fetching wide-brimmed hat.

We’re big fans of the whole Sandeman range and its rich history, but it’s this 20-year old tawny port that particularly stands out.

A blend of wines from 15 to 35 years old, it’s perfectly balanced with fresher, more vibrant notes from the younger wines (think orange peel, apricot and plums) moving elegantly into a silky-smooth, caramel finish.

Best served lightly chilled, it’s a versatile port which will work equally well with your cheeseboard, sweet desserts or savoured alone.

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8 best ports for Christmas 2019, with wines for every budget from Waitrose, Aldi and more

Rather deceivingly, despite the rich perception of some ports, it’s actually the perfect drink to end a meal with