I’ve been holding on to this bottle of white Port since the Prager family shipped it to me some months ago. I wanted to make sure that I was prepared — both mentally and culinarily — before I cracked the seal. I also wanted to make sure that I opened the bottle at the right time and in the right place: I wanted to make sure I was surrounded by loved ones with which to share this wine adventure. A family product like Prager Port deserves such attention and occasion.

prager-winery-aria-napa-valley-white-port-2012

About the Wine: Prager ‘Aria’ Napa Valley White Port is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from Napa Valley. The wine was aged for 3 years in oak barrels.

Flavor Profile: Pure gold in the glass, Prager’s Aria emits initial aromas ripe in softened yellow apples and pears begging to be baked into a pie. Swirl and sniff again, breathe in that unmistakable honeycomb essence, breathe deeper and the warmth of the alcohol will seep into your lungs — a hint of things to come.

The initial taste is a marriage of honey and apple, with just enough acidity in those apple notes to overcome any “cloying” sweetness you may have anticipated. Let the wine linger on the palate a little longer and the more savory elements come forward: a subtle hints of cashew nuts, notes of baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and an over-arching vanilla essence that binds it all together. The finish is long, warm, leaving the tongue and the body with the most delicate hint of alcoholic heat.

Food Pairing: As I mentioned, I saved my bottle of Aria for a special occasion. When I saw it, read about it, and thought about it, I just knew it’d be the perfect pairing for a Thanksgiving meal with my family. Though they’re not the wine-nerds like myself, they’re usually up for tasting anything and I was eager to see what everyone around the table thought of a white Port.

I also figured it’d be the perfect pairing to last the whole evening with gentle flavors that lend itself well as an aperitif, a bold enough structure to stand up to the heft of a turkey, and of course the alluring sweetness that seduces a dessert menu. And, actually, even though the Pragers recommend that this wine work as a pre-dinner delight or be sipped alongside something savory, I couldn’t help but think inside the square, “Ports are a dessert wine.”

So I planned this Pumpkin Cheesecake as the perfect pairing for my Aria. And I must say the pairing was perfect because neither the cake nor the wine is overly sweet. Instead, each balanced enough savory elements to counteract any sugary elements. What’s more, the buttery graham-cracker crust worked to enhance that subtle nuttiness that comes in mid-palate, accentuating the wine’s full-bodied flavor and texture.

More Info: I learned about the Prager family port operation through social media and, as I said, they were kind enough to send me a few samples of their work. If you haven’t read my review of the Prager Napa Valley Petite Sirah 2011, please do so — it’s an excellent example of the intensity of their wines and a great way to introduce yourself to the world of Port and Port-inspired wines.

And don’t forget to check out my Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe I developed specifically for this wine.

Of course for more details about the Prager family, Prager Winery& Port Works, and to purchase their wines and Ports directly, please visit the Prager Winery & Port Works website.


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