Black Currant Port Style Dessert Wine
Cellar Craft Specialty Collection
Bottled October 2015
Fresh back from time in southern Portugal, and exposure to some wonderful Port wines, this seems like an ideal time to check out this dessert wine.
Port wine is fortified red wine, produced in Portugal mainly from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo),Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, with the use of up to 95 other varieties permitted. The industry dates from the early 1500s, with most established producers housed in Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the Douro River from Oporto (Porto), in northern Portugal. Only fortified wine produced in Oporto, Portugal may carry the name “Port wine”. Over 8 million 9-litre cases of Port were produced for world markets in 2015.Production methods are somewhat intricate: grapes are harvested by hand, with all varieties fermented together. Stems are removed, then grapes are placed into large granite tanks, called lagares, for stomping. Many producers today rely on mechanical stomping, while some prefer the traditional human foot, in the belief that grapes receive more gentle treatment, yielding a softer flavour. Ready wine is run into vats where wine brandy is added, halting fermentation to preserve the natural sweetness of the grapes. Alcohol levels are raised to as much as 20%. The wine settles until spring, when it is taken to Vila Nova de Gaia to mature in casks or vats. Because Port is both sweet and alcoholic, it enjoys remarkable ageing properties.
Black Currant Port Style Dessert Wine is a very dark cherry colour, almost opaque. Intense aromas were of toasted nuts; perfumey violet/rose; black earth; stewed fruits, including very ripe black cherry, dark berries and prunes; late summer blueberry; savoury notes of black olive and smoked meat with a touch of black pepper.
Dark fruits dominated the flavours, with pronounced notes of dried fruit and salted caramel; along with savoury flavours. High levels of acidity and tannins were well integrated, yielding a lush, sumptuous mouthfeel. The finish is very long with a continuing round, honeyed mouthfeel and concentrated dark fruit. Alcohol levels ensure substantial ageability – I can only imagine how this wine will continue to develop.
This Port Style Dessert Wine may be dessert all on its own, immediately after a meal. It is a fabulous accompaniment to cheeses like Manchego (try it grilled!), Stilton or Gorgonzola; dark, semi-sweet chocolate; roasted, honeyed nuts; baked figs; orange olive oil cake.
Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
By Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier