Nicko, I am also a lover of Ports. Weather I am drinking it or cooking sweet or savoury dishes It adds a unique flavor and color to foods
As far as style, I lean towards vintage Ports.
Fonseca being my favorite with Taylor not far behind, They are still produced in the Douro valley.
I will try to clarify the 4 basic ports
Considered the best, Vintage ports a made from grapes of a single vintage and bottled with in two years. Like vintage champagne Vintage port is only made in the best years,port from non declared years go into the other styles of port
Made from lower quality batches of wine, aged for about two years. Ruby ports are bottled while it still shows it's youth,fruitiness,and bright red color.
they are also the least expensive
Are blended with wines from a number of different years...they also can age in wood for 40 years. They are tawny in color (hence the name)and they are ready to drink when bottled, unlike vintage ports that need a number of years to mature..even up to 50years
the best tawny that I have had always indicate on the label how long they where aged 10,20,30 or 40 cheapo tawny are a blend of white and ruby ports
there are a number of grapes used for red ports Tinta barroca,Tinta cao,Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo)
I urge anyone you loves wine to just by a bottle, Get some Stilton cheese some dried fruit and nuts...sit back start a fire (in your fire place)and enjoy