01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

The Society's Community

LIVE FROM 8PM: #TWSTaste Sweet and Fortified (and cheese!), 16th April 8-9pm

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:

The Ultimate Guide to Sherry

The Ultimate Guide to Madeira Wines

The Ultimate Guide to Port

How to buy Sweet Wine

**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.


'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.’


" 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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 :smiley:

Really looking forward to tonight’s event and very excited to hear about everyone’s wine and cheese matches!


I decided to open the 1981 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon in the end. Also my cheese did not arrive… :frowning: Industrial Cheddar is all I have.


Similar issues on the cheese front. I could be naughty and have a 2nd trip to the shop this week to get some. Also have no idea what I will open yet

Tonight’s wine is Chateau Guiraud 1996, probably with a bar of chocolate or a nectarine.

1 Like

This will be the first time we’ve had a choice of options! We missed out last week as we had no bubbly at all. I think we will go for the WS Exhibition Mature Medium Dry Oloroso Blend, but I might be tempted to compare it with our standard cheapo cooking sherry, which is Morrison’s own brand Amontillado (my husband likes it). We also have a half bottle of Solear Manzanilla, Barbadillo but I might save that for a future date. The cheese will be bog standard mature cheddar from the Co-op.


I’ve managed to get to the M&S food hall near us, and surprisingly enough there was a decent enough selection. So to go with our Ossau Iraty, Parma ham (sadly no Serrano), Kalamata Olives and almonds, we shall be opening our last bottle of Lustau Almacenista ‘Vides’ 1/50 Palo Cortado.

And just as a point of order, but clicking on those excellent links describing wines styles, I feel that the sweet wine section might have a slight error (or it may be me just misunderstanding the syntax :grinning:). But it seems to imply that whilst many areas produce late harvest, only the Alsace can be legally defined as Vendange(s) Tardive(s) - whereas the INAO designates three appellations (in alphabetical order Alsace, Gaillac and Jurancon) to be legally allowed to use the term VT on their label. Maybe it’s just referring to Hugel’s law, but that is a law within an Appellation, is it not?

What do you cook with sherry?

Just asking so I can justify buying & opening more :smile:


I know it’s early, but the 5pm alarm rang, we’re having early supper with the kids and I fancied an aperitif. A glug of this will do wonders for my patience at the 100th “daddy, daddy, daddy”

It’s a fortified and aromatised wine, hoping it’s not out of place here (cheese or no). Absolutely delicious, highly recommended.


Well this is exciting, more of a root around the cupboard has uncovered no less than 4 bottles of Madeira at 2 vintages and 3 different grapes. All open. :woman_shrugging: So I’ll actually be able to do a proper tasting.
If I get bored of Madeira I have the dessert wine to fall back on.

Vintage / Age Statement Wine Region User
1981 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon Loire @szaki1974
1996 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes Bordeaux @Alasdair
2001 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes Bordeaux @StuartJ78
Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha @hugofount
2003 Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Premiere Trie Molleux @James_Reynolds
2005 Taylors Quinta de Terra Feita Porto @VinoVeritas
2007 Tokaji 5 Puttonyos M&S Tokaji @Brocklehurstj
2008 Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive Alsace @robertd
2009 Chateau Doisy Daene Barsac Bordeaux @danchaq
Ch Filhot Sauternes Bordeaux @tfpywfpy
2010 Chateau Dereszla Tokaji aszu 5 Puttonyos Tokaji @martin_brown
2011 Mas Amiel Maury Blanc ‘Vintage Blanc’ Maury @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis
2011 Chateau Filhot Sauternes Bordeaux @Embee
2012 Paul Cluver Noble Late Harvest Riesling Elgin @Herbster
2013 Darting Estate Huexlrebe Trockenbeerenauslese Pfalz @Ian_cranston
2015 Chateau Cantegril Barsac Bordeaux @taysidefrog
2019 Tio Pepe Fino En Rama Jerez @laura @MrLaura @matmilroy
NV Adega de Pegoes Moscatel de Setubal Setubal @VinoVeritas
Cayetano del Pino Palo Cortado Jerez @VinoVeritas
NV White Castle Wines 1581 Wales @Croquetchris
NV W&H As You Like It Amontillado Blend Jerez @Lewis
NV The Society’s Exhibition Medium Dry Oloroso Blend Jerez @Camilla
NV Morrisons Medium Dry Amontillado Blend Jerez @Camilla
NV Lustau Almacenista ‘Vides’ 1/50 Palo Cortado Jerez @Tannatastic
NV Sanchez Romate Amontillado Olvidado Jerez @Ewan
5yr Blandy’s Malmsey Madeira @HBlackburn
5yr Blandy’s Reserva Madeira @HBlackburn
10yr H&H Sercial Madeira @ElizabethPitcher
10yr Penfolds Grand Father Tawny South Australia @laura @MrLaura
15yr H&H Verdelho Madeira @HBlackburn
15yr H&H Boal Madeira @HBlackburn
20yr Quinta do Convos White Porto @Rosemary
20yr de Bortoli Old Boys Tawny Australia @NW_passenger
2011 Terra Sancta Mysterious Diggings Dessert Riesling NZ @Steve_G
2015 Recioto Soave and Valpolicella Italy @Leah
2012 Chateau de Cabidos Petit Manseng France @John_Doe
2016 Bodegas Tradición Fino Tracicion Spain @Scrop

Evening everybody!

Another WIKI for tonight’s frivolities. As ever, feel free to add yourself to the list. I’ll be doing another sweep of the thread before we go live to add anything not already there. It’s looking like a brilliant line up with lots of different regions covered. We’ve even got Wales on there!

I’m off to go prep the cheeseboard / eat half of it before it makes it to the table :smiley:


That’s the beauty of Madeira, it lasts forever, even after it’s open.

1 Like

Enjoy it folks. I only have a couple of bottles of VP unopened, and 'fraid they won’t be getting opened as the port drinking season is now officially closed here until September :grin:

I also have a clash of times with a call I need to be on tonight but I am sure it will be just as good as the previous ones!


Snap @Embee, I’ve got a Ch Filhot 2009 from an M&S sale a couple of years ago. Unfortunately mine was only a standard 1/3 off sale, making it about £20 which seemed reasonable at the time… until I saw people getting it for a fiver a few months later!

Pairing it with some Dorset Blue Vinny, bought from a local wholesaler now delivering to individuals- 1.6kg to get through so may not do it all tonight.


Looking forward to matching this Madeira with a mature cheddar, goats and St Augur!


Start munching!



Not sure whether to go sweet or port… Port is tempting given the @courtyarddairy delivery of Hafod Cheddar today.


Have carefully cut rationed portions of cheese to warm up. Last cheese order came from Käse Swiss, so it’s mostly a bit Dutch.


Looking forward to the Bordeaux comparisons… @tfpywfpy @Embee


Drinking Patricious Tokaj 2016 with Comte. Couldn’t get Hafod cheddar