BC Port Style wines for the Holidays

What is Port-style wine? Port, the benchmark world wine style originates in Portugal, where big red wines grown in the Douro Valley are fortified and barrel-aged as blended wines.  Tawny Port matures oxidatively to create toasty fig and toffee flavours.  Ruby port is bottled after being fortified, so it’s fresher with black-fruit – prune, dried black cherry, fig flavours and often has more alcohol bite than the oxidized style.  Most of the BC port style wines we find are ruby port styles.

What better way to finish a holiday meal than by sharing a bottle of BC port?

Here’s what to look for:

– That little black bottle – “BC” on the label – and % abv. From 18-20%, bottle prices between $30-50 (usually around $40)

– Branded bottle names – as shown, “Fia” – Maverick Estate Winery, “DeJager’s Port Style” – Columbia Gardens Winery, “Coruja” – Burrowing Owl, “Porch Wine” – Back Yard Winery, “Pipe” – Black Sage, “Freudified” – Therapy Vineyards.

What does BC Port Taste like?  BC Port-Style wines are often made from big red wines like Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc.  The fermentation is stopped by adding a high proof spirit partway through – leaving available sugars in the wine.  These high-alcohol wines are fiery, ripe, jammy, plush, and perfect slightly chilled after a big holiday meal.

Some wines have more tannin and structure than others.  One surprise in the bunch was Columbia Garden’s Syrah-based port style which tasted just like smoky strawberry jam.

When to drink? Be brave.  Try these wines with rich proteins.  You’ll be surprised.  Port style wine pairs well with chocolate, charcuterie, bison, cigars…

Port style wines age beautifully.  Bottle age these wines for decades and enjoy them for a lifetime.  Buy a bottle for a child to enjoy on a Christmas yet to come.  Stash your favourites cause they’ll last fresh for ages.

Other BC port wines

Try one of these other British Columbian fortified wines

As shown, “Admiral Shorts Okanagan Tawny” – Prospect Winery, “Cerise D’Eve” Cherry Port – Forbidden Fruit Winery, “Walnut Liqueur” – St. Laszlo Winery, “Well-heeled red” Pinotage port- The View Winery

Serve it like a pro:

Serve Port style wine slightly chilled and in small pours – 2 oz. in size.  Try it as a final course wine / after dessert or with a cheese plate. Ports pair suspiciously well with blue cheese!


Didn’t finish the bottle ?  Here are some easy storage guidelines:

Ruby styles will oxidize once opened  and should be stored in the fridge, recorked.  These wines will stay fresh up to 7 days.

– Tawny styles are essentially stable.  Open bottles will last up to a month (or longer), and should be stored upright, recorked preferably in the fridge.