Dave’s Pick: 2012 Menéres LBV Porto, $16.99

A high-alcohol fortified wine in the middle of a summer heat wave? Okay, I am drinking mostly rosé and white wine, with a few light reds, but at the end of the evening, I still enjoy a glass of port with a piece of dark chocolate. The LBV here stands for Late Bottled Vintage. True vintage port is only produced in years that are declared as such. The decision is made two years after the harvest, and if a vintage is declared, it then goes into bottle where it slowly ages. LBVs are also from a single vintage, but they spend from four to six years in cask, allowing them to mellow and to be ready to drink upon release. However, not all LBVs are the same. Some are cold-stabilized and filtered and topped with a cap like you find on Tawnies. They are meant to be opened within a few years of bottling. Others are unfiltered and cork finished. They drink beautifully once bottled, but can age well, evolving over some 10 or 15 years. This Menéres is in that later category, and while all LBVs are among the best values in ruby port, this one is an exceptional bargain. It opens with aromas of caramel, chocolate, cherry and candied plum. The flavors are silky smooth with creamy chocolate and ripe berry that linger nicely on the long finish. We were so impressed we decided to buy in and stack it (I bought a case for myself—it’s that good.)