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The temperature has dipped into the teens, the snow is falling briskly, and all you want to do is cuddle up by a roaring fire with a good book and a glass of something liquid with which to warm yourself. Me, I’d want to have in my glass one of the fortified wines of the Iberian Peninsula, either sherry or port. Both are infused with more than a trace of fiery brandy — fine comfort on a cold night. The glory of Spanish wine making, sherry comes bargain-priced. For $10-$15 you can get any number of brilliant examples of many sorts: from very dry and tangy finos and manzanillas to amontillados that can be either austere or sweet, to the real dessert wines like oloroso and moscatel. Port, made in the far north of Portugal, in the Douro region, also comes in contrasting styles. At the top of the heap is true vintage port, concentrated, dark-colored, often opaque in its youth, needing a good 15-20 years to open up and mellow out. Only the great years are declared to be vintage ports, perhaps three or four a decade. Top houses: Taylor, Fonseca, Dow, Graham and Warre. In years when a vintage isn’t declared, these houses often produce so-called single quinta ports from their top estates (or quintas). Among the best are the Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta de Vargellas. These are vintage port in everything but name and price — though they’re not exactly cheap ($35-$60). Late-bottled vintage port is something else. No LBV, as they’re called, will ever remotely approach the greatness of a true vintage port. Well-made LBVs, however, can be delicious substitutes. And their price is right (about $20). Far more interesting than LBVs are the tawnies, so called because they’ve spent many years in casks and taken on the look and flavors of wood. With each new decade, the wine becomes progressively nuttier: A great 30-year-old tawny should positively shout walnuts. Prices range from about $20 for a youngster like your average 10-year-old tawny up to $100 and more for the 40-year-olds. But enough of that. Right now, with a glass of Taylor’s truly grand 30-year-old tawny in hand, I’m consumed with that elusive, evocative smell of walnuts. “Smooth” does not begin to describe the liquid that sits on the palate. CASE OF THE MONTH Iberian Treasures Sherries � Gonzalez Byass “Tio Pepe” Fino ($11) � Emilio Lustau “Los Arcos” Amontillado ($11) � Hidalgo “La Gitana”Manzanilla de Sanlucar ($12) � Emilio Lustau “Emilin” Moscatel Superior ($18) � Emilio Lustau “Fino del Puerto 1/143 Almacenista Sherry” ($20) � Emilio Lustau “Very Rare Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia” ($25) Ports � 1996 Fonseca Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV) $20 � Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny ($45) � 1991 Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas ($50) � 1996 Quinta do Vesuvio ($60) � Taylor 30 Year Old Tawny ($80) � Calem 40 Year Old Tawny ($150) � 1985 Fonseca ($78)

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