Lately, I've found myself turning to the warming hug of New World Ports and before anyone messages me, yes, I do know we’re not supposed to call them ports but what the heck; if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck!

Wherever they are made, fortified wines tend to follow a similar theme. Fermentation is stopped early by adding a fortifier, usually brandy to raise the level from about 9 or 10% to about 18%. Stopping the fermentation early means the base wine retains more of its natural sugar which is where the sweetness of ports comes from. The new world versions are generally aged for several years in small oak barrels before being lightly filtered and bottled and in all honesty, I've tried hard but so far failed to find one that I don't like.

The vast majority of the New World offerings come from Australia and if you were to ask me for a typical taste reference, I’d say, imagine the flavours of sticky toffee pudding, sweet plums, vanilla and warming alcohol,,, basically lush! They do tend to pack a big punch with the combination of sun-ripened grapes and a whopping alcohol level but I’ve never tasted one with any rough edges. These wines are super-rich and incredibly rounded on the edges.

Just lately though, I've tasted some absolute corkers from South Africa and California and the variety of grapes being used to create these wines just keeps on expanding so while Im quite excited for the future, the present is rather excellent when it comes to new world ports.

Apologies for the mail order only selections this week but these are specialised wines and are well worth seeking out once in a blue moon.

Yalumba Antique Muscat, Australia

This one is so rich it’s almost syrupy with warm raisins, Christmas cake fruits and figs in abundance. The finish is lush with caramelised sugar and hints of coffee cake. Absolutely delightful.

Frazers Wine Merchants £19.99

Holden Manz Good Sport, Cape Vintage, South Africa

A cracking ‘Shiraz’ take on Port from South Africa with rich cassis aromas leading into a brandy-soaked Christmas Cake palate. Hints of spice and cocoa on the finish. Absolutely fabulous

Wood Vintners £26.00