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NEW #TWSTaste virtual wine tasting: Sweet and Fortified (and cheese!), Thursday 16th April, 8-9pm

Hello Community!

Thank you very much to everyone who’s signed up to attend our Champagne and Sparkling Wine virtual tasting this Thursday!

This is a great time to get our next virtual tasting in the diary:

New #TWSTaste virtual wine tasting: Sweet and Fortified (and cheese!), Thursday 16th April 8-9pm

Like our previous couple of tastings, we’re asking you to raid your wine rack to see what you’ve already got at home, and join together to taste along live next Thursday. We’ll also invite you to choose your preferred cheese to sample with your wine! A wine and cheese night, if you will!

It doesn’t matter if it’s a dessert wine, port, sherry, madeira - anything that you want to open is welcome, as are you.

If you haven’t got any sweet or fortified wine and want to open something else and taste along, that’s fine too. Bring along a bottle of red which you think pairs well with cheese and get involved anyway! You might find some inspiration on different wines to put on your ‘must try’ list!

We’re also extremely excited to let you know that our Sherry buyer Tim Sykes will be joining us, so feel free to ask him any questions you might have about the sherries that you’re opening!


'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!"

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

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Have a look to see if you have any sweet or fortified wines at home. If you don’t, then while it’s currently not possible to order from us, your nearest indie wine merchant may be able to deliver.
  2. Reply to this topic saying what sweet or fortified you’ve got - and if you’ve got more than one option, feel free to share notes with your fellow members here and get advice about which bottle to open (feel free to open more than one if you like…). You could also ask about decanting or get some serving suggestions/food matches lined up. Let us know your cheese line-ups as well!
  3. Log in to the Community just before 8pm on Thursday 16th April - there’ll be a topic called ‘LIVE #TWSTaste: Sweet and Fortified’ where we’ll host the live event. We’ll all say which bottles we’re opening/share photos of the bottles, and then we’ll taste along together and compare notes, just like we do for a normal #TWSTaste event.

If you’re new to The Community and need help with how to use the forum for the tasting, have a read of our guide ‘How To’ - Take part in our virtual #TWSTaste events’


Who’s joining us?

  • I’ll be there, with my cheese and wine!
  • I’ve not got any sweet or fortified wines, but I’ll join in anyway

0 voters

We hope you can join us! If you can’t make it, we’re currently planning the following week’s tasting and we’ll let you all know the theme soon :smiley:


I’m pretty sure I’ll be cracking open a bottle of Madeira for this!


Mind bogglingly I have 9 (out of 38 now at home) bottles that fit this bill… will open one of them. Not the Essencia.


Sauternes, Barsac, Port, Madeira, Tokaji all available (and probably some others not springing quite so readily to mind), anyone would think we had a sweet tooth in this household :wink:


Definitely got a couple of bottles of port around the house…and also have a bottle of vin de Constance which might be in a more manageable format!

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I have no sweet wines or sherry but I do have a couple of bottles of Port. However I know absolutely nothing about Port and these were gifts so probably pretty rubbish!

M&S Special Reserve (small 20cl bottle)
Dow’s Master Blend Finest Reserve Port

No dates but I’m guessing they’re both blends of various vintages.

Would be interested in anyone’s views on these. If, as I suspect, they are of no great consequence then I’d be just as happy joining in in with a good full bodied red! Any excuse to drink wine with cheese! :cheese::wine_glass:


Of no great consequence, equally no good reason not to open them! Get the Dow out, find yourself some cheddar and stilton and crack on. :slight_smile:

I’ll be joining with 2009 Château Doisy-Daëne and ideally some roquefort, maybe also some sort of sponge.


I’m no great lover of cheddar (even fancy expensive varieties), preferring French alpine style hard cheeses - Abondance, Beaufort, Comte, Tomme (hardish), etc. - and I believe I still have a couple of them from before I returned in March. However I do love me a quality blue stilton! Must add some to the list for the next Great Shopping Expedition!


Funnily, I am more limited in my cheese options, but have now put some Colston Bassett blue Stilton in my next delivery, just in case.


I think it’ll be this with some suitable pudding - Egg custard perhaps?

…and then this with the cheese… Taylor’s Quinta de Terra Feita 2005 Port


I have very few sweet wines but I do have a half bottle of Muscat de St Jean de Minervois which I bought from Sainsbury’s a few years ago having visited St j de M many years ago. I also have a bottle of Tokaj 5 puntos which I got at a bargain price from M&S last year. I think I will try the St J de M. I always have a bottle of Madeira on the go and there’s a bottle or two of M&S NV Port in the drinks cupboard.


We have a White Castle Wines 1581 that we have been wanting to try for a while. https://www.whitecastlevineyard.com/quality-welsh-wines/

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We also have the whole range of Madeira - Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malmsey from our current annual visit to the island.


I knew the last great wine and port sale at M&S would come in handy one day! Now to work out which bottle to open…


I’m yet to decide, but the conversation has already taken place that we may be able to crack our last bottle of Palo Cortado (Emilio Lustau Almacenista Vides 1/50) with cheeses, hams and olives. A dangerous decision under current circumstances!

Either that or its probably Sauternes from '09 or '11.


I don’t know. I’ve only got sweet wine that I can open (drank all the sherry and Madeira in December / January, current port holdings not ready).

However, I’m not sure what cheese would go with my sweeties. My Hungary-heavy list is below, I would welcome anyone unleashing some advice my way :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Name Producer Country Region Sub-region / VDQ Vintage
Tokay Aszu 5 Puttonyos St Stephen’s Crown (Aldi) Hungary Tokaji 2013
Gaillac Vendanges Tardives, ‘Renaissance’ Domaine Rotier France Gaillac 2015
Stepp beerenauslese G Stepp Germany Pfalz 2016
Tokay 5 Puttonyos ? (M&S) Hungary Tokaji 2007
Aria late picked riesling Pegasus Bay New Zealand Waipara Valley 2014
Straw Wine Rustenberg South Africa Stellenbosch Simonsig 2018
Royal Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos Royal Tokaji Wine Company Hungary Tokaji 2013

Edit: Thanks for moving @Kelly

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Since you have three 5 Puttonyos, you might as well open one of them. Pair it with blue cheese, foie gras (if you happen to have some) or maybe creme brulee.


Thanks. Might give it a go.

However, I also remembered that I’ve got a very tasty bottle of Vermut stashed in the garage. If the weather is still on form it might have to be a glass of that on ice.

Edit: this stuff

I think this will be a chance to crack open a bottle of a VDN - maybe a Rivesaltes Ambré. Or perhaps a Maury. I’ve got that unusual bottle of a white Maury still. This could be the excuse…


This should be fun, I have a bottle of 2016 Noble One, some Floralis Moscatel which I think is cheap from M&S (a gift) but we had a previous bottle and enjoyed it immensely. Also a rather dubious looking plum saki that I’ve been moving around my fridge for about 2 years and this will be a good excuse.