Showing posts with label fortified wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fortified wine. Show all posts

Monday, April 20, 2020

Warre's Fine White Porto

The Symington family calls their Warre's label "the original British Port House."  Pulling grapes from several superb quintas - Cavadinha, Retiro, Telhada - winemaker Charles Symington's family has been at it for five generations.  The company itself was founded in the 1600s.  They recently declared 2017 as a vintage Port year, just like 2016.  It was the first such back-to-back declaration in the 130+ years the Symingtons have been in charge.

I was supplied with a sample of Warre's Fine White Porto, and it should be on your radar.  Where I live, in Southern California, it's never really "Port weather," so I drink Port whenever I like - for instance, during self-isolation due to COVID-19.  This wine is a fantastic example of why Port is such a damn pleasure to drink.

Warre's Fine White Porto

Warre's Fine White is produced from traditional white grape varieties grown in the Douro Valley - Arinto, C√≥dega, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.  The winery explains that fermentation takes place "off the skins," which they say makes for a more delicate wine.  Aging took place at lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia in a combination of oak casks and stainless steel tanks.  The white also hits 19% abv and sells for about $15.

This white Port carries a golden tint and gorgeous nose of sweet caramel and stone fruit.  The palate is sweet and fruity with almond notes and a ton of acidity.  It makes a great aperitif or dessert, and will be a fine base for a cocktail.  It even pairs well with potato dishes, cheese and guacamole.


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Monday, March 2, 2020

Wine I'd Like To Have Everyday - Madeira

Madeira was the wine of choice for many of America's founding fathers.  John Hancock and the other representatives of the 13 colonies, it is said, toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with Madeira wine.  George Washington reportedly celebrated his inauguration as president of the young country with Madeira.  They say Thomas Jefferson toasted the Louisiana Purchase with the spirited wine.

Miles Madeira is part of the Blandy family's Madeira Wine Company, produced on the Portuguese island of Madeira since 1878, but before that, was known as Rutherford & Grant since 1814.  Madeira is made from the Tinta Negra grape, originally from Andalucia in the south of Spain and introduced to the island of Madeira during the 18th Century.  The Miles Madeiras are made in several different styles.

Miles 10 Year Old Dry Madeira

Vinified and fortified stainless steel tanks, this Madeira was aged in old American oak and naturally heated to mimic the process of shipboard transport.   Alcohol tips 19% abv and it sells for around $33.

The brownish-gold wine smells delightful, all raisiny and lemony and full of brown sugar.  The hearty palate shows the citrus beautifully and the acidity absolutely rips.  Pair with any kind of after-dinner eats, from chocolate to fruit to a cheese plate.  Or have it on its own, like the founding fathers did.


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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Miles Madeira - A Favorite Wine Of Founding Fathers

Madeira was the wine of choice for many of America's founding fathers.  John Hancock and the other representatives of the 13 colonies, it is said, toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with Madeira.  George Washington reportedly celebrated his inauguration as president of the young country with Madeira.  They say Thomas Jefferson toasted the Louisiana Purchase with the spirited wine.

Miles Madeira is part of the Blandy family's Madeira Wine Company, produced on the Portuguese island of Madeira since 1878, but before that was known as Rutherford & Grant since 1814.  Madeira is made from the Tinta Negra grape, originally from Andalucia in the south of Spain and introduced to the island of Madeira during the 18th Century.  The Miles Madeiras are made in several different styles.

Miles 10 Year Old Dry Madeira 

Vinified and fortified in stainless steel tanks, this Madeira was aged in old American oak and naturally heated to mimic the process of shipboard transport.   Alcohol tips 19% abv and it sells for around $33.

The brownish-gold wine smells delightful, all raisiny and lemony and full of brown sugar.  The hearty palate shows the citrus beautifully and the acidity absolutely rips.  Pair with any kind of after-dinner eats, from chocolate to fruit to a cheese plate.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Time For A Toast? Try Madeira

Madeira was the wine of choice for many of America's founding fathers.  John Hancock and the other representatives of the 13 colonies, it is said, toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with Madeira.  George Washington reportedly celebrated his inauguration as president of the young country with the fortified wine.  They say Thomas Jefferson toasted the Louisiana Purchase with it.

Miles Madeira is part of the Blandy family's Madeira Wine Company, produced on the Portuguese island of Madeira since 1814.  Madeira is made from the Tinta Negra grape, originally from Andalucia in the south of Spain and introduced to the island of Madeira during the 18th Century.  The Miles Madeiras are made in several different styles.

Miles Madeira Rainwater Medium Dry is lighter and drier than most Madeiras and has some of the longest aging potential in the wide world of wine.  It is fermented off the skins in stainless steel tanks, and fortified with the introduction of a grape spirit after five to six days.  This stops the fermentation at the desired sweetness level.  Aging takes place in the tanks, which are enveloped by hot water sleeves to replicate the effect of aging on board a ship during a long voyage.  The Rainwater's alcohol content hits 18% and the three-year-old wine retails for $17.

The characteristic aromas of raisins, brown sugar and dried fruits leap from the nose, while orange peel and notes of wood are found on the palate.  There's a wonderful acidity, so don't think you can only sip it - try pairing it with dinner - like our forefathers did.


Monday, March 4, 2019

Dow's Port

Before the Port season slips away, here's a 2012 Vintage Port you should try.  Of course, it's always Port season for some, but the style does fit better with cooler - colder - weather and more robust meals.

Houston Porter writes on Petaluma360 that Port is just one in the family of fortified wines, which includes Madeira, Marsala, sherry and vermouth.  True Port wine comes from Portugal, although many wineries use the term to market their own bottlings.  Technically, Porter writes, to be called port the grapes must be grown, crushed, fermented and initially aged in Portugal's Douro Valley, the world’s "oldest demarcated wine region."

Port wine blossomed in the 1700s when England was at war with France and sought to replace the French wine they couldn't get anymore.  Many Port houses still have English names, like Dow.  The reds are made from grapes with names like Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Nacional.

Port requires at least two years aging.  Ruby Ports are aged mostly in bottles, while the tawny style is aged in barrels.  Ruby generally shows more fruit flavor as a result, and tawny is a more savory wine.

Dow 2012 Late Bottled Vintage Port

Late Bottled Vintage Port is made from a single vintage of Ruby Port and gets up to six years in the barrel before being bottled and released.  Dow's says they only produce Late Bottled Vintage Port from the best of years, passing over lesser vintages.

Dow's 2012 LBV comes from the Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira vineyards.  The Symington family winemakers have tended those plots for five generations. I'm told that 2012 was a very dry year in the Douro Valley, but cooler-than-average summer temperatures helped offset the drought.  The alcohol hits a typical 19% abv level and the wine retails for $24.

I won't beat poetically around the bush.  This vintage Port (2012) is nothing short of astounding.  It's got the savory nose one expects on a tawny, but bigger, blacker, more brutish.  A heavy whiff of smoke never goes away, and the earthy aromatics stay right behind.  The palate lets the fruit shine through, sweet and sultry, with an amazing level of acidity and oh-so-firm tannins.  It's a great sip, but I'm saving the last glass to have with a steak.


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