Port is a wine that was developed through adversity; had England & France not been at odds throughout the last 500 years, port might never have been invented. When the British government put an embargo on French trade in 1678, the English went looking elsewhere for wine. They found an alternative in Portugal. Fortuitously, there were 2 Englishmen visiting a monastery in Portugal where an Abbot introduced them to a wine from Pinhão which was much richer and smoother than regular Portuguese red. The Abbot admitted that a local brandy was added during fermentation, a practice used today in all port production. It would be another 50 years before all port was fortified, but the scene was set.
Ruby or Tawny – what’s your preference?
Ruby Port is a bright, ruby coloured port wine that gets its name from its hue. These wines are usually young in age having spent 3 years in large oak casks. They usually offer notes of blackcurrant and cherry flavours showing fresh fruit and vitality. A wonderful example of a ruby port is Taylor Fladgate First Estate which has a lush, velvety feel on the palate.
A match made in heaven is dark chocolate or a blue-veined cheese like Roquefort or Stilton. (show a bottle image of Taylor First Estate somewhere on the side)
Tawny Ports are mostly aged showing their years on the bottle’s label – 10, 20, 30 or 40. They too get their name from their colour as golden, tawny hues emanate from the glass. Taylor Fladgate’s 10 Year Tawny port offers notes of carmel, butterscotch and dried raisin sometimes showing a hint of nuttiness on the finish.
Crème brulee is a classic dessert to match a tawny. Tiramisu also pairs beautifully as it has some nuttiness in the flavour. Serve your 10 or 20 Year Tawny slightly chilled.
Port is a fortified wine of great versatility – create a cocktail with either a ruby or tawny port. Visit www.portcocktails.com