Corks and Forks

Local vintners featuring port-style wines for Valentine’s Weekend

English Estate Winery carries a large line of fortified ‘nectars’—dessert wines made with their own pinot noir brandy distilled by Clear Creek Distillery. Viki Eierdam

English Estate Winery carries a large line of fortified ‘nectars’—dessert wines made with their own pinot noir brandy distilled by Clear Creek Distillery. Viki Eierdam

Valentine’s weekend is upon us and, with that, wineries will be hosting their annual Chocolate & Wine Pairing festivities from SW Washington to the Yakima Valley, Southern Oregon and beyond.

In honor of the occasion, I tasted several of the port-style treats being crafted by vintners throughout Clark County. Be sure to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy at home with your sweetheart. Keep in mind all prices are for 375 ml size.

English Estate Sweet Ruby Red Pinot Noir Nectar

Only slightly less ABV than traditional port, this is the truest port-style wine offered by English. Made from their own Pinot Noir brandy distilled by Clear Creek Distillery and estate Pinot Noir, showing considerable toast from aged oak barrels and succulent cherry notes. 17.5% ABV, $28.

Other offerings:

Raspberry Delight—When the freezer broke one day, threatening the estate raspberries that Gail English had harvested for canning, Carl Sr. quickly found a way to preserve the just-picked freshness. He nailed it! Excellent for sparkling spritzers or as a sauce over cheesecake. 17% ABV, $49.

Sugar Plum—At the heart of this nectar with baking spice on the palate are the juicy plums found on the homestead. 17% ABV, $39.

Sweet Autumn Gold—A combination of estate pinot noir juice and their own pinot noir brandy, light oak lends coconut to the finish. Versatile paired with blue cheese or crème brûlée.  16.5%, $28.

Gougér Cellars Mine, Mine, Mine

Sweet enough to be paired with desserts but not so much that it can’t be enjoyed alone, aged brandy is employed to add complexity to this blend of syrah, zinfandel merlot and muscat of Alexandria (an ancient vine with an impressive lineage). 18% ABV, $22.

Mine, Mine, Mine Chocolate—This wine captures the essence of chocolate in a bottle with a lush weight that romances the palate. Popular for pairing with high-end chocolates. 18% ABV, $22.

 

Hints of white blossom from apple to honeysuckle draw you into Koi Pond Cellars Elle’s Crème Brûlée. Photo provided.

Hints of white blossom from apple to honeysuckle draw you into Koi Pond Cellars Elle’s Crème Brûlée. Photo provided.

Koi Pond Cellars Elle’s Crème Brûlée

Hints of white blossom from apple to honeysuckle draw you in. Hot on the front with hazelnut and a bit of coffee mid palate with a caramel finish and whisper of chocolate, this white port-style wine delivers something from beginning to end. Warm and soothing. 16% ABV, $35

 

Moulton Falls Winery collaborated with Yacolt Valley Vineyard to create this port-style dessert wine. Viki Eierdam

Moulton Falls Winery collaborated with Yacolt Valley Vineyard to create this port-style dessert wine. Viki Eierdam

Moulton Falls Winery NV Yacolt Valley Vineyard Port-Style Dessert Wine

Made from deep, rich Red Mountain syrah and fortified with Yacolt Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir, then distilled to brandy locally at Double V Distillery. This syrah brings out a deep cherry flavor reminiscent of candied cherries followed by a silky, dark fruit finish. 19.5% ABV, $28

 

The complexity of Daybreak Cellars Tempranillo Dessert Wine is a result of a blend of four beautiful vintages. Viki Eierdam

The complexity of Daybreak Cellars Tempranillo Dessert Wine is a result of a blend of four beautiful vintages. Viki Eierdam

Rezabek Vineyards Daybreak Cellars Tempranillo Dessert Wine 

With a port-range ABV and grape composition including tempranillo (aka tinta roriz), touriga nacional and a scant amount of tinta cão, this may be the closest port-style wine being made in Clark County. Baking spice aromas follow with big juicy cherry notes on the palate, a swirl of chocolate and coconut notes on the finish. 19.5% ABV, $18

 

Rusty Grape Vineyards 2010 Vino de Ciocolotto is the perfect pairing of wine and chocolate. Viki Eierdam

Rusty Grape Vineyards 2010 Vino de Ciocolotto is the perfect pairing of wine and chocolate. Viki Eierdam

Rusty Grape Vineyards 2010 Vino de Ciocolotto

This syrah-based treat is the perfect pairing of wine and chocolate. Retaining its higher tannin quality, the warm nose teases your palate with notes of cocoa nib and brandy while the mouth feel is full and velvety. Pair with dried fruits like figs, plums and apricots or a nut cake.18% ABV, $32

Other notable dessert-style wines:

Bethany Vineyards

Emanar Cellars

Heisen House Vineyards

Olequa Cellars

Pomeroy Cellars

Three Brothers Winery 

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Viki

I am a Clark County native. I am Level 2 WSET (wine and spirit education trust)-certified and enjoy pairing wine with my passion for travel and fondness of food. My most prized possessions are the memories of places I've been with my husband, the chance encounters we've been blessed to have along the way and my carry-on bag. I can often be seen around town and in tasting rooms with our two beautiful, double-Merle Australian shepherds, Challenge and Baby Girl.

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