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Winter Warmers


helenas
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Tony - it was the "Times", people still have elevenses in the Times :smile: .

Maderia is a lovely wine, loads of different types and flavour ranges. Good versions have that lovely nutty "rancio" flavour and they have a great balance of acid and sweetness, which is often lacking in fortified wines. Also historically, it is the American fortified wine, so maybe that would be a good choice as a winter warmer?

I agree with everything you say, but I am also selfish so I know that un-fashionable = cheap. If the Tio Pepe groovy young thing advertisements worked, do you think that you could buy a bottle under twenty quid in the future? I bought a circ. 1930's Maderia a few years ago for sixty Australian dollars (twenty quid), could you do that with a Claret?

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For an amazingly dense, rich, deep flavor in a sweet sherry with a finish that goes on forever, you have to try the "Emelin" from Lustau. One of the most complex things I ever sipped.

YES! I've had several of the Lustau's that I thought were just fabulous. I seem to remember having one that had a hazelnut/pecan type of thing going on, and it wasn't overly sweet. How the hell do they make that happen? And these things are cheap! I love ports, especially old tawny's, but sometimes I prefer a really great sherry or madiera. maybe most of the time. hmmm I agree, these wines don't get the attention they deserve.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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  • 3 weeks later...

In this month's Decanter magazine in the UK there is a comparative tasting of 10 and 20 year old tawny ports ,plus a list of foods to eat with them.

Apart from the usual suspects the article recommended roast game birds and any poultry or pork dish which might be accompanied by a sweet or fruity or BBQ type sauce.

On Sunday I roasted a Mallard (as you do) and made a soft fruit and port based sauce ro go with it. We drank a Calem 10 yo tawny chilled down for about an hour to what you might call "cellar temperature". Normally I would have gone for a red burgundy,which would have complemented the meat but would have been killed by the sauce.

It worked beautifully and opens up a world of possibilities for using these wines. Any fattier meat,though,would have needed more acidity in the wine so I remain dubious about port and pork.

Edited by Tonyfinch (log)
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...Gonzalez Byass Matusalem is as good a dessert wine as you'll drink and although not cheap at about £20 is still good value compared to many competitors in its class.

Christmas pudding in a glass! You can buy half bottles at Tesco for under a tenner.

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  • 1 year later...
For Oporto start with Graham's which does not make a port that is not excellent.

?????Modest surprise at this?????

Perhaps you are just winding us up.

I think that the acceptance of port as an A1 wine in general presents problems. Okay, you've chosen a good name.

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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For Oporto start with Graham's which does not make a port that is not excellent.

?????Modest surprise at this?????

Perhaps you are just winding us up.

I think that the acceptance of port as an A1 wine in general presents problems. Okay, you've chosen a good name.

I'm not sure what you mean?

Vintage Oporto is one of the most collectible wines on the auction markets not only today, but historically. Who doesn't accept vintage Port as an A-1 wine? Port houses don't have trouble selling vintage Port, but they all would like to sell more wood and ruby.

I suggested Graham's because for any novice (or expert for that matter) tasting through all of the types of Ports offered by Graham's will give you an experience in every category of port in a classic and well executed style.

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I'm not sure what you mean?

Vintage Oporto is one of the most collectible wines on the auction markets not only today, but historically. Who doesn't accept vintage Port as an A-1 wine? Port houses don't have trouble selling vintage Port, but they all would like to sell more wood and ruby.

I suggested Graham's because for any novice (or expert for that matter) tasting through all of the types of Ports offered by Graham's will give you an experience in every category of port in a classic and well executed style.

....which is not the same as excellent.I've not had a bad bottle of Graham (other than all too many corked LBV bottles, but in my pedantic opinion, that's not the same as all Graham's ports being excellent.

Vintage Port can be great. But that does not mean that it is great.

I am sorry to be so pedantic, but I think we need pedantic people here. And I am often delighted to be 'out-pedanted'. :smile:

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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I rather like Warre's Quinta da Cavadinha, about £20 a bottle. Two bottles went down well over Christmas, I'm not sure of the year, maybe 1987 (the port, not the Christmas).

Any "if you like that, try this" suggestions?

Stephen

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Single Quinta (which Cavadinha is) offers excellent value. Essentially it is vintage port from a vintage that hasn't quite made the grade to "Vintage Port".

Look for Fonseca Guimaraens, Taylors Vargelhas, Calem Quinta da Foz, etc.

They are usually released at the beginning of their drinking window - after about 7 years or so, but I have seen younger immature wines around.

They also keep well, too, especially since they have often been stored well by the producer until release.

Pay £20+ UK/bottle, and remember to decant them.

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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Vintage Port can be great. But that does not mean that it is great.

I am sorry to be so pedantic, but I think we need pedantic people here. And I am often delighted to be 'out-pedanted'. :smile:

But properly aged vintage Port is indeed great wine. Try the '45 Taylor Fladgate (had it last month), the '63 Fonseca, the '66 Graham's, etc. These wines take time to mature, but given the patience they are truly great wines.

What about properly stored and aged vintage Port isn't "great?" Please do tell.

As for getting "into Port, I would highly suggest a bottle of Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old Tawny Port. It's my favorite tawny (that I can get) & for $40 you get a week's worth of after dinner drinks.

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I'm not a great fan of Graham's either. One port house that's made superb progress in Vintage wines (it was always great in cask-aged ports and in its unique Garrafeiras) is Niepoort.

Graham's is considered a definitive style of Port by every major wine publication. On what do you base your dislike of this (for lack of a better word) revered producer. I would most appreciate if you could expand on your dislike of Graham's and perhaps find supporting criticism of any of the wines produced by Graham's.

By the way I enjoy the wood ports of Niepoort very much. However, vintage port is not their thing as they say. It is good to hear that they are improving in this category. However, even in wood ports, their area of specialty, I would be surprised to find many experts that prefer Niepoort over Graham's.

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I think, y'all, it's part of my cynicism as a wine buyer that makes me doubt percieved wisdom of any wine. I am not slamming Graham or anybody else, but rather view the blanket 'sun-shines-out-of' worship of any producer as being wrong.

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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I think, y'all, it's part of my cynicism as a wine buyer that makes me doubt perceived wisdom of any wine. I am not slamming Graham or anybody else, but rather view the blanket 'sun-shines-out-of' worship of any producer as being wrong.

I certainly don't disagree with a bit of cynicism. The wine industry has earned a bit of that. I will say that in almost 30 years of tasting Graham's their wines have never disappointed me.

There are certain producers like Grahams and Lustau that seem to work on a different level.

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I'm not a great fan of Graham's either. One port house that's made superb progress in Vintage wines (it was always great in cask-aged ports and in its unique Garrafeiras) is Niepoort.

Graham's is considered a definitive style of Port by every major wine publication. On what do you base your dislike of this (for lack of a better word) revered producer. I would most appreciate if you could expand on your dislike of Graham's and perhaps find supporting criticism of any of the wines produced by Graham's.

Please note that I wrote that "I'm not a great fan" of Graham's. You translate that into a "dislike". This is going way beyond my statement.

Graham's style is certainly not "definitive" because there isn't any one "definitive" style among the various, often quite different, Porto houses. If Graham's were "definitive", that would mean that neither Dow's nor Taylor Fladgate's nor Fonseca's nor anyone else could be considered "definitive". There cannot be a plethora of "definitives" - there can be one of "great" or "very good" ports. And Graham's is very good, no doubt. Just not my No. 1 cup of tea.

What Graham's style is is sweet, intensely sweet port. Always (or almost) sweetest among the top houses. I am not wild about overly sweet port; that's why I appreciate Dow's drier style more, and why I'm always interested in efforts in that same direction; for instance, among Quinta producers, Infantado's 'meio seco' (medium-dry) style.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Sorry if I misunderstood your reference, but I took your comment to mean that Graham's was not a premier Port producer when instead you meant Graham's was not to your personal taste. My apologies.

Certainly there can be more than one "definitive" Port house in different styles because those styles are known and appreciated. There is more than one definitive Bordeaux Grand Cru Classe - I think the same would apply to Port. Without a doubt, Graham's is the definitive rich style of Port as much as Petrus is the definitive style of merlot in Bordeaux.

Yet the question here is from someone who is just entering the world of Port and tasting through the entire range of Graham's would be an excellent starting place for anyone looking to experience every category of Port at a top level. While tasting ranges of single Quinta wines is a fascinating experience - it is not perhaps the starting place for someone who wants to learn the basics of what Port is all about. Perhaps what is right for a taster as sophisticated as you Victor is not exactly right for rookies just starting out.

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Perhaps what is right for a taster as sophisticated as you Victor is not exactly right for rookies just starting out.

I'm just an average fan of port, nothing else. (Did I imply I was Michael Broadbent in disguise? If I gave that impression, sorry. Nothing further from the truth.) I'd just advise Taylor's or Fonseca's ranges rather than Graham's. I don't think Graham's, being so extreme, is truly the best introduction to port. The beginner might begin to ask for insulin after the third different bottle of the stuff, all of them sweet as candy...

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Victor - I know better than that! You are too humble - your wine knowledge is too well known to get away with that here!

I will absolutely concede the point that anyone that wants to learn about Port will do fine tasting through the Taylor or Fonseca range.

I will disagree that the Graham's style is "extreme".

As the topic is also about Sherry - would you agree that Lustau is an excellent starting point for a rookie wanting to taste the various styles?

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You are too humble - your wine knowledge is too well known to get away with that here!

How could anyone with a great wine knowledge be so wrong about Graham's? See, this ratifies the fact that I'm just a rank amateur.

Lustau's range, of decent quality (except for its Almacenista wines, which are outstanding), is particularly advisable to American beginners since it's probably the only wide range of sherries now available on the US market. In Spain or other European countries I'd rather advise other wines, but it's a moot point because one must adapt oneself to market conditions. If Michael were in the UK, then he'd have a much wider choice.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Today I tried for the first time Lustau's Pedro Ximenez non vintage "San Emilio". The bottle set me back about $22 at a local NJ liquor store. Samswine.com has it for $18.99.

Sweet and nectar like, extremely raisiny. Great value. Fantastic dessert wine.

Lustau's Palo Cortado is also a nice, although much much drier style wine. Should run you about $17 a bottle.

Osborne's "Very Rare" Amontillado La Hoya is also a great wine, if you can find it under $40. Samswine.com has it for $34. Like the Lustau Palo Cortado, a dry, assertive style (but perhaps even more so because it is considerably older) brown sherry.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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You are too humble - your wine knowledge is too well known to get away with that here!

How could anyone with a great wine knowledge be so wrong about Graham's? See, this ratifies the fact that I'm just a rank amateur.

Lustau's range, of decent quality (except for its Almacenista wines, which are outstanding), is particularly advisable to American beginners since it's probably the only wide range of sherries now available on the US market. In Spain or other European countries I'd rather advise other wines, but it's a moot point because one must adapt oneself to market conditions. If Michael were in the UK, then he'd have a much wider choice.

...mmmm - you're a hard man to argue with.

The Graham's "style" that you refer to is as much a characteristic of their vineyards as their winemaking. The Malvedos vineyard which is the heart of the estate produces grapes that are particularly sweet and powerfully flavored.

Your point about Lustau being widely available is another very good reason to use Lustau as a base for learning about Sherry.

While the Deluxe range of Lustau Sherry is indeed only of "decent quality" the Solera Riserva Range contains some of the finest Sherry wines produced (at very reasonable prices as Jason showed above) including great wines like their Puerto Fino, Rare Amontillado Escuadrilla, Dry Oloroso Don Nuño, Pedro Ximénez San Emilio and Old East India. Also you can't forget the extraordinary Gran Reservas like Emperatriz Eugenia Very Rare Oloroso Dry Amontillado San Bartolome.

Then, of course, is the very special and unique Almacenista range as you mention.

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