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!
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!"
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:
Here’s how to take part:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
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