In the run-up to Christmas 2021 Tom suggests various wine selections for the festive season. This week: three contrasting fortified wines:
(2021) A white Vermouth (think Martini or Cinzano Bianca) but this one from Spain and emphasing more of the local citrus fruit in its aromas and flavours. Aromatic herbs and the peel of several different citrus fruits are macerated for several months then blended with an aged white mistela (sweet wine) to give a sweet but very grown up Vermouth full of interesting nuances. There's angelica, anise and basil, lots of leafy green herbs and that citrus hint of lime and mandarin orange. In the mouth there's no mistaking the concentration and intensity here, or the 18% alcohol, but the layers of smoky, fruity and herbal flavours run with delightful acidity to the finish. Drink on its own with ice, or as the base for Martinis and other cocktails. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Ruby at the core with a broad tawny rim, Noval's 2007 Colheita is a single vintage Port of very high quality that was aged for 13 years in wooden barrels at the Noval cellar. That means it is a wine with wonderful maturity and instant drinkability, unlike Vintage Ports which often require decades after release to show their best. There are deep, soulful aromas of walnut and old polished wood, a twist of Seville orange and delightful hint of shellac in the mix. In the mouth terrific balance of sweetness and cherry-ripe fruit, with those aged notes, a liquorice intensity and concentration and such a creamy texture, flowing seamlessly into a sweet, beguiling finish with outstanding length. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) Is this a unique wine in the whole wide world? My guess would be yes: it's a Tannat from Uruguay, fortified with brandy much like a Port or Madeira, and infused with aromatic herbs, flowers and spices. The label quotes "winter flowers, Madagascan vanilla bean and wild apple mint." It has a deep ruby colour tinged with tawny, and a fabulous nose: like a cup of hot chocolate to begin with, moving into spicy black fruits and all the time a slightly other-worldly set of estery aromas in the background. On the palate it is rich and thick-textured, with plenty of luscious black cherry sweetness, but again it's as though some dark chocolate had been stirred in, some orange-like bite and acidity, and a long, warming finish. Unusual for sure, and very interesting. Price for 50cls. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.