It has now become a tradition to taste fortified wines before Christmas.
Most people enjoy fortified wines especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, although all are perfectly suitable to drink throughout the year, given teh right occasion.
Dry sherries can be served as aperitifs or with tapas. They are perfect. Medium sweet sherries can be enjoyed with certain desserts, and those that are super-sweet are fine with pies or tea and pastries.
Ports are now produced as table-, or fortified wines. Traditionally, ports were red, sweet, and could be ruby, colheita, tawny, crusted or vintage. Now several port shippers produce LBV and export. (The LBV style was invented by Taylor Fladgate, one of the oldest port wine shippers in Oporto).
White ports taste off dry and are very fruity, due to their muscat grape component.
After English merchants invented the fortified style port wines in teh first half of the 18th century, it became so poplar that many other wine producing countries started to imitate the style , but none has been able to repeat the success or taste of those that originate in the Douro Valley in north-eastern Portugal.
In this tasting there were 33 wines and sherries, plus a few vermouths and diverse products.
Tio Pepe, Gonzalez Byass, (Spain)
Dry, deeply flavoured, smooth and powerful, suitable for all types of seafood, deep fried breaded vegetables, shrimps, and tapas.
Amontillado Los Arcos, Emilio Lustau (Spain)
Off dry, with pleasant rancio flavours and long satisfying finish. Suitable as aperitif with finger foods, roasted nuts.
375 ml., $ 15.55
Palo Cortado Roberto Amilio, Bodegas Altanza (Spain)
Mahogany colour. Intense and complex flavours, surrounded with ripe fruit aromas. A sherry offering rancio and mouth-watering acidity that make it lively in the mouth. Long aftertaste. A complex and well made wine.
Enjoy with tapas, or as aperitif, or between meals as a pick-me up.
500ml., $ 74.95
Faraon Oloroso, Vinicola Hidalgo Spain
Amber colour. Smooth mouth feel, refined and elegant. Deeply flavoured.
500ml., $ 21.95
LBV 2013, Taylor Fladgate, Portugal
Deep purple ruby colour. Aromatic nose of black fruits, dark cherries, and plums. The palate is round, smooth and well balanced with firm tannins. The finish is wonderfully long with a hint of cocoa.
Pair confidently with strongly flavoured hard chesses, and desserts.
10-Year-Old Tawny Port, Taylor Fladgate Portugal
Brilliant amber tawny colour. Apricot flavours evolve in the mouth. Well balanced, full bodied, and powerful.
325th Anniversary Tawny, Taylor Fladgate, Portugal
Dark tawny in colour. A rich figgy nose with a mocha background underlined with apricot, nutmeg, and jasmine. All come together to form a harmonious, and dense complex wine. A perfect blend of youth and maturity. Long aftertaste.
Enjoy on its own after fine meal, or with strongly, flavoured cheeses.
20 Year-Old- Tawny, Taylor Fladgate Portugal
Intense amber tawny colour. Jammy and nutty aromas surge out of the glass. Opulent, and voluptuous mouth feel. Complex and refined. Long aftertaste.
Pair with unsalted nuts, walnuts, or at he of a an extended meal.
20 Year-Old_Twny, Sandeman Portugal
Aromatically appealing with aromas of ripe berries and spices. A refined and well-balanced tawny with a long finish.
Enjoy on its own, or with hard or semi hard cheeses.
2009 Vintage Port, Fonseca, Portugal
Dark, brilliant ruby colour. Elderberry, and blueberry aromas jump out of the glass. Excellent balance, and depth. Refined and elegant. Superb finish.
Fortified dessert wine
Whimsy, Southbrook Vineyards, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Amber colour. Expect intense aromas of roasted hazelnuts, pear jam. Sweet but well balanced, intense, full bodied, deeply flavoured. Long aftertaste.
Vermouth di Torino, Cocchi, Italy
The colour reflects the use of cinchona, rhubarb, and caramel.
In the mouth the rich cocoa, and bitter orange flavours evolve underlined with rosemary, and various herbs, sandal wood, and nutmeg. Well rounded. Long aftertaste. Mixes well with Bourbon whiskey.
Although sweet (210 grams of sugar per litre, the product is well balanced.
Antica Formula Giuseppe Carpano, Fratelli Branca, Italy
Herbal flavours in the mouth. Sweet, but well balanced. Enjoy between meals or after lunch or dinner to help the digestive process. Refined and complex.
Amillo Vermouth Reserva Bodegas Altanza, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
This fine vermouth is a blend of palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes, both of which are used to produce sherry.
Expect raisin aromas. In the mouth flavours are intense and complex with hints of wormwood, cinnamon, cardamom, thyme, cloves and nutmegs.
A fine vermouth to enjoy on its own, or as an aperitif.
Serve chilled at 8 C.