Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto: It’s finally that time of year to stand beside a roaring fire and pretend we live somewhere really cold. You need something fitting to drink to help create that fantasy, and port is an apropos choice. But this fortified (that is, enhanced with distilled alcohol) wine from Portugal can often either seem out-of-date or out of one’s price comfort level.
Enter Sandeman, a house that’s been in the port business since 1790. While they do make a host of aged, and more expensive, pours, the Founders Reserve is a fine value ($20 or less). It’s a lovely deep-brick color, a tad sweet but not too, and full of rich cherry/berry flavor, with just enough oak complexity; it’s usually aged 3-5 years, young for port, but good for an entry-level drink. Enjoy alone or with a rich dessert or some creamy cheese.