A Trojan Grape

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Not content with sneaking a giant horse into the fabled city of Troy, the Greeks have also managed to sneak a few grape varieties, into Italy and let the Italian claim them as their own!!  Now the grapes in question I will leave for another day, because today I’m concentrating on the grape with Troy in its name, and like all Italian grapes it’s got a bit of an identity crisis when it come to names the most common being Nero di Troia or Uva di Troia. Nero di Troia is grown in Coastal Puglia, the Heel of Italy, and it is believed that it gets part of it’s name from the Town of Troia, which legend has it was founded by a Greek coming back from the destruction of Troy.  Nero Di Troia produces a deep purple red wine that has rich flavours of dark red fruits, plums and red currants. The wines are generally quite elegant but robust, and should definitely by added to your list of must try wines!!


A Port on a Stormy Day

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Over the past few days we have had a fair amount of interest in the great wine of Portugal, Port. There is something warming about a nice glass of port on these short dark dreary days.  Now some basic things many people don’t know about port I wasn’t sure of them myself until I began looking it up for this post.

Port is the strongest wine available. It is also the probably the sweetest  non-desert red wine you’ll from Western Europe. The reason port is sweet is also the reason for its high levels of alcohol, the addition of distilled grape spirit. Basically, port is made by picking and fermenting grapes in the standard manner then before the fermentation (changing sugar in grape in to alcohol) is finished the grape spirit is added. This effectively stops yeast fermenting the sugars in the grapes, but increase the alcohol level of the wine. It also means that there is extra sweetness to wine that is produced.

Because of this port makes a great after dinner drink, strong yet sweet. But like every other wine out there port has a confusing labeling system. With words such as LBV, Tawny, Ruby and Vintage bandied about on the labels.  as:

Ruby; is the youngest port style with some maturation in oak casks but none in the bottle. 

Tawny; is a gentler style aged for longer in casks, usually 10, 20, 30 or Over 40 years, which will be stated on the label. Called tawny because of the colour of the wine after the aging process.

Vintage; Vintage port like Champagne is declare in the finest years, on average about 1 in every 3 or so. It is aged for 2 years in casks then decanted unfiltered into bottles where it should age for around a decade at least.

LBV or Late Bottle Vintage; are ports of a higher quality but not quite Vintage quality. They tend to be bottled from casks with in 4 to 6 years of vintage stated on the bottle. The are a great way of educating your palate without splashing   

Christmas Fair 2010

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