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What type of port wine do I use for a roasted duck recipe?

I'm thinking of trying the roasted duck legs smothered with cherries recipe from the SF Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market cookbook, and the recipe involves a port reduction sauce, but didn't specify what port to use. Do I use a tawny or ruby port, and how good does it have to be? Is there anything suitable that I can get from Trader Joe's? Today, I saw that they carried a ruby and tawny port (no age specified) for about $8, a 10 year tawny port for about $15, and a vintage one for about $40. I definitely want to keep the cost down, but need to find something usable for the recipe.

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  1. An inexpensive ruby port will be fine.

    1. I've used Whisker's Blake Tawny Port, which is fairly inexpensive, in reduction sauces and have had good luck. Given it will be in a reduction sauce (with some additional ingredients?) you don't want anything too expensive as you aren't looking for pure flavors and aromas. Personally, I'd try the $8 tawny that you found at TJ's.

      1. Cherry would work better with ruby port's red fruit than with tawny port's nutty toffee, which isn't to say that tawny would be bad. Inexpensive is fine for cooking; the not-too-sweet Quinta do Infantado is my go-to brand. And ruby ports are never vintage dated, at least that I've seen.

        5 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          Agreed. Definitely RUBY!

          BTW, according to more than one methodology of classification, Vintage Porto is a type of Ruby Porto . . .

          1. re: zin1953

            I checked again at TJ's, and the $8-$15 port wines are from Quarles Harris. Does anyone know if they're good?

            1. re: michaelnrdx

              The short answer is "yes." Just get the least expensive Ruby . . .

          2. re: carswell

            Thanks for the ruby description! this is good to know.

            1. re: Vinthropologie

              Interesting. Will try ruby ports for some of my recipes similar to the cherry duck next time.

          3. I suggest borrowing some port from a friend or considering a workaround such as red wine and a bit of sugar.

            Unless you plan on drinking the rest of the bottle, even $8 is a very expensive one-time ingredient.

            5 Replies
            1. re: kaysyrahsyrah

              I plan on keeping the port for other recipes.

              1. re: michaelnrdx

                Do you plan on using it in under two months, absolute max?

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  I thought fortified wines last longer. But if need be, I will use it up before it spoils.

                  1. re: michaelnrdx

                    Ports do last longer than table wines, just not as long as most people think.

                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                    Some ruby ports are quite nice to drink, you know? You might just try a glass or two if cooking doesn't use it up fast enough (I'd say a month or two).