If Chardonnay makes you yawn, and you’re bored with cab sauv, it may be time to branch out. Why not experience some of the great port wines that are available around the city? Port is a fortified wine that usually comes from Portugal; although some good ones are produced right here in St. Louis. Red port is the most widely known. Its flavor is heavy and sweet, often with notes of raspberry, blackberry, caramel, cinnamon and chocolate sauce. Red port is delicious with bitter chocolate desserts or strong blue cheeses. Port is also available in white, rose and Tawney varieties, which is an aged port.
Mount Pleasant Winery
5634 High St.
Augusta, MO 63332
(636) 482-WINE
missouriwinecountry.com

Mount Pleasant Winery in Augusta has been rated one of the best port producers in the country. Try the vintage port, a full-bodied, berry-rich port and red wine blend vinted in 2002, to commemorate the wine’s 20th year of production. They also make a fruity, refreshing white port, perfect with nuts and fruit-based desserts. The drive out to August is a lovely break from city life, and St. Louisans love to spend a leisurely weekend afternoon visiting the various wineries in Augusta and Washington.

Five Bistro
14 Shaw Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 773-5553
fivebistro.com

Five Bistro’s name refers to the five senses: see, hear, smell, touch and most importantly, taste. The Bistro prides itself on serving the flavors of the region, using sustainable, locally sourced products. Therefore, they work with seasonal ingredients, and the menu changes constantly to keep up with the available ingredients, with wines aligned with the menu. The tasting menu with wine pairings is the best way to enjoy what Five Bistro has to offer for the day, but port wines (including richly aged tawny ports) find their way onto the dessert menu regularly. This is a great introduction to port wines and how they fit into a meal and pair with foods. Call the restaurant to see if ports are being offered in the wine pairing before you make your reservation.

Sidney Street Cafe
2000 Sidney St.
St. Louis, MO 63104
(314) 771-5777
sidneystreetcafe.com

You really can’t go wrong with Sidney Street Cafe, on any level. The service is extraordinary, from the moment you hand your keys to the valet. The food is always exquisite, and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly. The atmosphere is informal, warm and friendly. This is the perfect place to learn more about port wine. Ask your server to recommend a pairing for you.

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Olio
1634 Tower Grove Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 932-1088
oliostl.com

Olio is a delightful addition to the Tower Grove neighborhood. The cleverly renovated 1930s filling station building offers one of the coziest and most pleasant environments in the city and a creative menu with hints of Mediterranean flavor that are the perfect foundation for a meal that finishes with port. Try the Moroccan tagine, and end your meal with a glass of port and Olio’s signature dessert, a pie in a jar.

Modesto Tapas Bar
5257 Shaw Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 772-8272
modestotapas.com

This tapas bar has been surprisingly successful, considering it’s located on The Hill in a neighborhood where most people go looking for Italian food. Modesto’s cleverly delicious Spanish-fusion tapas and small dishes offer a tasty compliment to their full offering of wines, cocktails and house-made sangrias.

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Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Visit her blog at http://www.thesoulofajourney.com.