Fireside Sips

Five of Wine Enthusiast's favorite winter drams to keep you warm this winter.

Five of Wine Enthusiast's favorite winter drams to keep you warm this winter...

96-100 / Highest Recommendation

The Dalmore Cigar Malt Northern Highlands Single Malt Whisky (Scotland; Fielding & Jones, Ltd., Deerfield, IL): 43% abv, $30. A malt whisky gem and an incredible bargain. The palate entry is smooth and caramel sweet; at midpalate, the smokiness comes alive with additional tastes of sweet butter, toffee and honey.

96 W. & J. Graham's 2003 Vintage Port; $100. This is a great Port, from a great brand. It is packed with solid, structured, rich and intense black fruit flavors. Its tannins show considerable aging potential. It is a big, ripe wine, balanced by a long, lingering dark aftertaste. Imported by Premium Port Wines Inc.

90-95 / Highly Recommended

Hine Triomphe Grande Champagne Cognac (France; Todhunter Imports, Inc., West Palm Beach, FL); 40% abv, $200. The palate entry is sweet with overtones of mrazipan and light caramel; at midpalate, the taste profile highlights the oaky vanilla and honey elements. Concludes gracefully, integrated and sweet.

94 Mt. Billy 2002 Liqueur Shiraz (Barossa Valley); $26/ 375ml. So thick and so delicious. Despite its almost 18% alcohol, this fortified Shiraz is very well balanced. It floods the palate with sweet cassis and vanilla, then settles down to reveal smoky, charred wood flavors, smooth, gripping tannins, and a nutty, long finish.

89 Porto Poças NV Director's Choice Tawny Port; $20. Starts with aromas of dried cherries, a slight nuttiness and hints of smoke. Elegant and smooth in the mouth, its lovely nutty flavors buffered by dried cherries and honey. Finishes long, just a touch on the tart side.


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