Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wine Notes: Prager 2001 Aria White Port

Seriously good shit.

I've been meaning to open this bottle for long while now because of its age. It's a good thing I finally did because while the cork was intact, it was getting a bit soft. I bought this port on my first wine trip with my girlfriends but I was already familiar with Prager. My ex and I went there for our honeymoon in 1988. Prager is a small operation run by a single family. They are located right next to Sutter Home. If you're in Napa Valley, I highly recommend stopping by.

As you can see from the label, the alcohol content is 18%. This port is produced from Napa Valley Chardonnay grapes. As mentioned before I like reds and generally prefer whites that have been fermented in steel barrels so this was a departure for me. The label notes that this port can be served chilled and I have to say it tastes GREAT chilled.

The wine itself is a golden amber color. There's no mistaking the high alcohol content. With the nose, you're hit with alcohol fumes but with some patience and letting the port breathe a bit you can pick out just a hint of roasted marshmallows that have not yet been burned.

According to label, this port has "flavors of apples and pears with a pronounced nutty finish." Well, after 10 years it doesn't really taste like that anymore. The most striking thing about it is when it first hits your tongue, it has a long super smooth beginning. There's no syrupy mouth feel but there is floral honey and subtle flavors of very fresh caramel, like just cooked caramel. It seems like there might be a bit of spice on the sides but that could just be the high amount of alcohol. There's a hint of very juicy ripe pears before the swallow. The finish isn't long but I can taste caramel apples (the kind you get at the Boardwalk, not the gourmet kind) and I get just the barest taste of cashews but that's it for the "nutty finish." When it's warm you can taste cotton candy at the very end of the finish.

I definitely prefer this port chilled but it tastes great when it's a little warm. I'm drinking it with Ham and White Bean Soup with Spinach and it's friggin' awesome! Too bad I don't have any Rosemary Foccacia Bread to go with it.

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