What to Drink Now

> Aged Tawny Port

Vintage port, the English aristocracy’s postprandial tipple of choice, is an intensely flavored, luxuriously sweet wine. It requires years of aging in the cellar to reach its full potential, and then must be decanted to separate the dark ruby nectar from the crusty sediment that forms in the bottle. It can also cost a king’s ransom.

If you like to drink like a lord but have a commoner’s budget and lack the patience for such hoary rituals as cellaring and decanting, aged tawny port presents an excellent alternative. Though it, too, comes into its own only after a decade or more, it has already reached full maturity by the time it hits a store shelf. It’s also pleasantly sediment-free, and can be consumed upon purchase.

David Anderson of France 44 says he appreciates aged tawnies for their elegance, in addition to their ready-to-drink appeal, and recommends Taylor Fladgate’s 10-year-old tawny as a perfect partner for fruity desserts and creamy cheeses served during the holiday season. Figgy pudding, anyone?

Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, $32, at France 44, 4351 France Ave. S., Mpls.,