Thursday, 22 December 2011

Wine of the week – Special Christmas Part IV – Port (Sweet Red/Portugal)

Hi all,
2 days left until Christmas! This week, Christmas dinner part four: cheese & dessert. To go with it, a good ol’ British Portuguese wine: a LBV Port at just £10 in most retailers.

What it is
Sweet red fortified wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal. Made from Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Francesca grapes.

What to expect
Appearance: Deep ruby. Thick legs.
Nose: This is a fortified wine so you will probably first get a strong smell of alcohol, especially if you deep-dive your nose in the glass. Beyond this, look for dried black cherry, hints of violet and spices (clove anybody?).
Palate: Rich, fruity concentrated black fruit (cherry and cherry stone), round and sweet, high acidity and sharp alcohol. Light underlying bitterness. Melting tannins.
Score: 7-8/10 (wine shown)
You’ll like it if you like: dark cherries, concentrated and spicy wines (Australian Shiraz).
Have it with
Your Christmas cheeseboard. The sharp alcohol and acidity will cut through creamy  cheeses and the strong taste will complement full-flavoured cheeses. Try with Dolcelatte, Gorgonzola, an aged Brie de Meaux or a Montgomery/Leicester Cheddar.
Your dessert. Maybe a bit too lightweight for a Christmas pudding but great with dark chocolate tart with a hint of fruit like orange peel, cherries or raspberries.
Where to find it
1) Majestic - £9.99 (on offer). Wine shown.
2) Tesco/Waitrose - £10.29 (on offer). Wine shown.

Did you know
> Port is the child of the 17th Century trade wars between France and England. With the prohibition of French wine imports in England, traders turned to Portugal. With the Portuguese wines arriving in poor condition in England, merchants decided to add brandy in the barrels during transport than before transport and then during the wine fermentation.
> Ironically enough, France is now the most important export market for Port or as it’s called there ‘Porto’.

> Port is made by adding brandy to a fermenting wine and then matured it in wooden casks, usually in Vila de Nova de Gaia. Depending on the ageing process, you will find 3 big categories of red Ports. Here is a short summary of the key styles and characteristics:

> The region where Port is produced also produces gorgeous reds and near the heartland of a gorgeous dry white: Vinho Verde!
Example of a lodge where the Port matures for up to 40 years
Have a Very Merry Christmas!
Cheers! Santé! Salud! Salute!
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