Good afternoon/evening Community!
Welcome to tonight’s LIVE virtual Sweet and Fortified tasting.
If you’re planning to participate tonight then thank you - these last few tastings have been our biggest Community tastings ever, with record numbers of members joining in!
If you’re new to The Community and need help with how to use the forum for the tasting and what the tasting involves, have a read of our guide 'How To - Take part in our virtual #TWSTaste events
Here’s some more advice to help things run smoothly:
Fortified and Sweet Wine Guides
Whether you’re new to fortified and sweet wines or whether you’re very familiar and confident with them, you might find the following guides useful and interesting to read up on:
**Weekly Workshop: Fortified Wine **
A Glass Half Full with…Jo Locke MW
Who’s on hand to help tonight
We have lots of staff attending tonight, so please feel free to use the below usernames and tag any of us if you need a hand (and if you’re new to The Community, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have!)
@laura - Community Manager
@Kelly - Community Co-ordinator
@Ewan and @martin_brown - two of our original Community crew (and also members of our Brand and Content Team)
@Freddy - our buyer for Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Eastern Europe and beers
@hugofount - from our Brand and Content Marketing Team
@MrLaura - from Member Services
Extending a big welcome to
Tim Sykes - @SykoWino !
We’re so excited to have our Buyer for Sherry Tim Sykes joining us tonight! Please go ahead and ask him any questions you might have on the sherries you’re opening tonight.
A NOTE FROM TIM:
'I’m a huge Sherry fan and was delighted 3 years ago when I was asked by Pierre Mansour to take over responsibility for buying the wines. Rather like Sarah Knowles and her comments on keeping a bottle of fizz close at hand I always keep a bottle of Fino or Manzanilla in the fridge door. My default wine is the Alegria Manzanilla from Williams and Humbert which is just brilliant value and never, ever disappoints. The crisp, bone dry Sherries are very versatile for matching with food: my current favourite matches are fish and chips or Sushi.
I also like to have a good, aged dry Amontillado or Palo Cortado in the cupboard. They are great with savoury hard cheeses with a bit of saltiness like Manchego, Comté or Gruyère. Current favourites are the Cayetano Del Pino Solera Palo Cortado and the 12 year old Don Zoilo Amontillado that I listed recently following a visit to Jerez.
The great Sauternes cheese match is Roquefort or similar style cheeses, although I’m not a fan of blue cheese myself. I find that Sauternes is a good match for some of the soft, strong-smelling French cheeses like Epoisses, Munster and Livarot.’
AN ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM OUR PORT BUYER JO LOCKE MW:
" Cheese and Port is an enduring and classic match, usually served after dessert in the UK but not always elsewhere. My advice is be led by your menu (or perhaps your wines!) and remember, that headache shouldn’t just be blamed on the Port – the G&T and wine that went before got you there too!
Once, tradition was everything with Port which, here at least, meant serving it with British cheese, and Stilton in particular. The savoury, sometimes earthy tang of Stilton is indeed a superb match for red Ports (which these days may also be enjoyed with a rich main course or a chocolatey dessert!). More important than the origin and style of the cheese is its quality in my view. If it’s worth opening a bottle of Port, it’s worth treating yourself to good, ideally artisan/local cheese.
I have not experimented with white Port and cheese, but aged white might well work with saltier hard cheeses, or tasty, creamy rind cheeses (Portugal’s own Serra da Estrela is heavenly). Tawny, or wood-aged, Ports are better served on their own, perhaps with dried fruits and nuts, or with dessert (the sweeter and eggier the better in Portugal). And the great fortified muscats from Australia need no accompaniment. They don’t have the ‘Christmas pudding in a glass’ reputation for nothing!"
Here’s how things will work:
- We will post a WIKI (editable list) of who’s tasting what tonight. Have a look and, if you’re not on there, please do add yourself! You can do that by clicking the ‘Edit’ button in the bottom right of the post.
- I’ll also post a poll to see who’s here - please let us know, and feel free to say hi and start chatting before we start.
- We’re all drinking different bottles, so it’s going to be hard to keep track. Whenever you post tonight, please start your post with the name of the wine you’re drinking and the cheese you’re eating!
- To begin, I’ll invite us all to pour a glass, have a swirl and take in the aromas, and post your thoughts and first impressions. As there’s so many of us, it would probably be easier if you limit this to one post , so feel free to take your time and have a good swirl and sniff.
- We’ll then taste the wines and cheeses together and ask you to share your own tasting note. Again, as there are so many of us taking part, it’ll be easier if you take your time and write your tasting note up in one post to help us keep track. Feel free to add any additional food matches and/or your thoughts on how well the wine is drinking now, and how much longer it might age. Anything goes, and there are no wrong answers!
- After this, we’ll possibly have time to ask for your mark out of 10, or final thoughts.
And after that, if people want to continue chatting about their wines then please do! We’ll likely be pouring another glass anyway and finishing off our cheese
Really looking forward to tonight’s event and very excited to hear about everyone’s wine and cheese matches!