Mavrodaphne

  (Mahv-roe-DAHF-nee)
Synonyms: Mavrodafni, Mavrodaphne of Patras

Wine Name: Mavrodaphne, Marvrodaphne of Patras

Background: Mavrodaphne is a black grape of the Greek Peloponnese that is most often made into a sweet dessert wine like a Port, but it tastes more rustic and has herbal flavors. Fermentation is arrested before completion with a grape distilled spirit as Ports are and then it is aged in barrels in a solera system.

Classic Brands and Sources: Achaia Clauss, Antonopoulos Vineyards, Boutari, Kourtaki, Tsantali

Characteristics:

Style – typical

Body – full

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – medium (+)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with food similarly to what a Tawny Port would pair with such as chocolate, nuts and cheeses.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Crème Bruelee, pies and desserts made of Apple, Apricots, Pecans, Cherries, or Mince; Almonds, Hazelnuts, Biscotti, Dried Figs, Vanilla Ice Cream

Cheese Pairings:
nutty flavored cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, Swiss, Fontal, Maasdam,


Madeira

  (muh-DEER-uh)
Synonyms: None

Wine Name: Rainwater, Sercial, Verdelho, Bual (Boal), and Malmsey Madiera

Background: Madeira wines are similar to Ports and Sherries in that they are fortified and intentionally oxidized. Madeira is also heat treated which speeds up oxidation and turns the white wines brown. Generally the grapes are fermented either to dryness and then have distilled grape spirit added or the fermentation is arrested with distilled grape spirit (Bual and Malmsey). The wines are then aged usually in old wood and subjected to the heated estufas or age in warm sunny areas.

There are quite a few styles of Madeira and also there are different quality levels of aging ranging from bulk wines to 3 year old, 5 year old, 10 year old, Extra Reserve (> 15 years), Colheita ( from a single year’s harvest), and Frasqueira (single harvest aged 20 years or more). Grapes used to make Madeira are Tinta Mole, Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malvasia (for Malmsey style).

Classic Brands and Sources: Cossart Gordon, Blandy, Sandeman, Leacock, Pereira D’Oliveira, Henriques & Henriques, Vinhos Barbeito

Characteristics:

Sercial

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Rainwater

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – off dry

Tannins – low

Verdelho

Body – medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – off dry

Tannins – low

Bual

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – semi-sweet

Tannins – low

Malmsey

Body – full

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – medium (-)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
All styles are mostly used as apertifs and dessert wines. Rainwater, Sercial and Verdelho styles are acidic and pair with acidic dishes, whereas the sweetness in Bual can pair with spicy dishes and Malmsey goes more with desserts, nuts and cheeses.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Rainwater, Sercial and Verdelho – Salads with vinegarettes and walnuts, blue cheese, game, goose, duck, veal with acidic marinades or sauces
Bual – Pairs with spicy Pacific Rim, Mexican and South American foods, figs, dates, cured meats.
Malmsey – Crème Bruelee, Caramel-based desserts Pies of Apple, Apricots, Pecans, Cherries, or Mince; Almonds, Hazelnuts, Biscotti, Dried Figs, Vanilla Ice Cream

Cheese Pairings:
Rainwater, Sercial and Verdelho – Boursin herbed, Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, Cream cheese, Neufchatel , Saint -Felicien (French cow;s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois
Bual – Brie, Camembert, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, Grana Padano
Malmsey – Blue Cheese, Stilton, and nutty flavored cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, Swiss, Fontal, Maasdam

Sherry

  (SHARE-ree)
Synonyms: Jerez, Xérès

Wine Name: Fino, Manzanilla, Manzanilla Pasada, Amontillado, Oloroso, Amoroso, Palo Cortado, Jerez Dulce

Background: Sherry is a low acid, intentionally oxidized wine made in the Andalucia area of Spain. The main grapes are Palamino (95%), Pedro Ximénez and Muscat of Alexandria. Slightly different than Port production, the grapes are fermented to dryness and then distilled grape spirits are added to bring the alcohol content to about 15-15.5% for finos, manzanilla, amontillados and to 18% for olorosos, cream and pale cream sherries. The finos and manzanillos (a fino from the area of Sanlúcar de Barrameda) age in barrels with a flor yeast that sits on top of the wine and protects the wine from too rapid oxidation and gives some flavor. If the flor yeast dies off, the wine then becomes darker due to more rapid oxidation and is classified as a amontillado or in the case of manzanillas from Sanlúcar de Barrameda it becomes a manzanilla pasada. Further aging results in bottling both as Amontillado Sherry.

Oloroso sherries are fortified to a higher percent at which flor yeast cannot survive, turn darker with more rapid oxidation and the evaporation in the solera barrel aging process can raise the percent alcohol as high as 24%. Cream and Pale Cream sherries (decolored Cream sherry) have sweetening agents such as concentrated Pedro Ximénez or even Palomino grape juice added to them. A category inbetween finos and olorosos is one called palo cortado which is a fino or manzanilla that never developed the flor yeast and thus is aged as an oloroso. It has the elegant taste of the amontillado with the heavier body and strength of an oloroso.

Fino sherries taste of almonds, green olives and Manzanilla sherries the same with some additional saltiness from proximity to the sea. Amontillados may have hints of hazelnuts, cedar and slight tones of honey. Oloroso sherries will be sweeter and have tastes of figs, other dried fruit, maple syrup and roasted nuts. Cream and Pale Cream Sherries also taste of nuts and carmel and are moderately sweet.

Classic Brands and Sources: Hidalgo, Sandeman, Gonzales Byass, Osborne, Bodegas Williams & Humbert, Bodegas M.Gil.Luque, Hijos de Rainera Pérez Marin, Bodegas Antonio Barbadillo, Pedro Romero, Harveys, Terry

Characteristics:

Fino, Manzanilla

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Amontillado

Body – medium

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry to medium (-)

Tannins – low

Palo Cortado

Body – medium to medium (+)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – medium

Tannins – low

Oloroso

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – medium (+)

Tannins – low

Cream, Pale Cream

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
The lighter sherries pair well with low acid/savory foods while the sweeter and fuller styles do well with nuts and cheeses and sweeter desserts.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Finos, Manzanillas and Amontillados – many vegetables not in acidic sauces, nut breads, fish, oysters shellfish with savory sauces, paella, clam and lobster chowders, potato, broccolli and other vegetable with creamor cheese-based soups.
Palo Cortado, Olorosos – desserts with nuts, Flan, cookies, biscotti, pumpkin and sweet potato pie
Cream, Pale Cream – Pecan pie, Cream Bruleè, ice cream

Cheese Pairings:
Finos, Manzanillas and Amontillados – Gruyere, Swiss, Fontina, Emmenthal, Danbo,
Palo Cortado, Olorosos – nutty flavored cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, Swiss, Fontal, Maasdam, Cream Cheese, Neufchatel,
Cream, Pale Cream – Blue cheese, Stilton, Gorgonzola, mild Cheddar, Cambozola, Manchego, Murcia al Vino, Mahon, Fourme D’Ambert

Port

 
Synonyms: Porto, Vinho do Porto

Wine Name: Tawny Port, Vintage Port, Ruby Port, White Port, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Port, Colheita Port

Background: Port is a fortified wine from Portugal that is a blend of grapes, fermented not to completion but arrested with a neutral grape distilled spirit or brandy that kills off the yeast and stops the fermentation while sweet grape juice is still present. Then it is placed in barrels (for Tawny and Vintage Ports) for about two years to age, or in cement or stainless steel tanks (Ruby, White and Rosé ports). After the short aging time, the port wine is either further aged in barrels (Tawny, Coheita or LBV Ports) for extended periods of time such as 10, 20 30 or 40 years or more, or the wine is bottled. Ruby, White and Rosé Ports are then released for sale not too long after that, while Vintage Ports which are unfiltered are allowed to age further in the bottle. The Tawny Ports that have aged in barrels for a long time are either quite settled out or are filtered before bottling and since they were exposed to prolonged but very slow oxidation in the barrel, they can be opened and do not need to be decanted nor consumed quickly. Vintage Ports, however, benefit from being decanted due to sediment and should be consumed within a day or two since they will undergo rapid oxidation.

Classic Brands and Sources: Churchill, Cockburn, Croft, Dow, Fonseca, Graham’s, Niepoort, Smith Woodhouse, Taylor Fladgate, Quinta do Noval, Ramos Pinto, Sandeman, Warres Otima

Characteristics:

Tawny

Body – full

Acidity – perceived low

Sweetness – semi-sweet

Tannins – medium

Vintage

Body – full

Acidity – perceived low

Sweetness – semi-sweet

Tannins – medium (+)

Ruby

Body – full

Acidity – perceived low

Sweetness – medium

Tannins – medium

White

Body – full

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low to medium (-)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Generally, Ports are meditation wines consumed alone without foods. They pair well with chocolate desserts most aged cheeses and nuts

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:

Tawny ports – Crème Bruelee, Pies of Apple, Apricots, Pecans, Cherries, or Mince; Almonds, Hazelnuts, Biscotti, Dried Figs, Vanilla Ice Cream
Vintage Ports – Chocolate cake, tarts and truffles, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, walnuts
Ruby Ports – Chocolate Mousse, chocolate pudding, Mud Pie, fruit salads
White Ports – Olives, Sushi, Clam Chowder, Fish Cakes, Smoked Salmon, Spicy Prawns, Duck/Chicken Liver Pate, Cheese Biscuits

Cheese Pairings:
Tawny ports – nutty flavored cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, Swiss, Fontal, Maasdam,
Vintage Ports – Blue Cheese, Stilton, Brie, Camembert, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, Grana Padano
Ruby Ports – Mild and medium sharp Cheddar, Cambozola, Manchego, Murcia al Vino, Mahon, Fourme D’Ambert
White Ports – Gruyere, Swiss, Fontina, Cream Cheese, Neufchatel, Danbo,

Ice Wine

 
Synonyms: Icewine, Eiswein

Wine Name: Ice Wine, Icewine, Eiswein, Vin de Glace, Vin de Glacière, Vin Glace

Background: Ice wine is made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine and usually harvested in January in the northern hemisphere. The water in the grapes freezes leaving behind the sugars and solids with a resulting sweet syrup with high sugar content. Because of the high sugar content which lowers the freezing point of the grapes, temperatures of 17 deg F (-8 deg C) must be reached to freeze the grapes enough for extraction. Some countries allow cryo extraction, i.e., an artificial freezing but the leading ice wine producers in Canada and Germany require freezing naturally on the vine. The crushed grapes are then fermented (which takes months due to the high sugar content) although not to completion since wine yeasts die off after about 15% alcohol is reached. The grapes are not afflicted with botrytis mold (noble rot) that dehydreates the grapes as is the case for Sauternes from France, Tokaji from Hungary or Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany.

Almost any grapes can and have been used to produce ice wine but the most common ones are Riesling, Vidal Blanc, and Cabernet Franc. Other grapes that are sometimes used include Pinot Gris, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (Shiraz), Semillion, and Sangiovese.

Classic Brands and Sources: Canada – Inniskillin, Reif Estates, Pillitteri Estates, Peller Estates, Pelee Island Winery, Tinhorn Creek Estates, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Ziraldo Estate; USA – Cave Spring, Konzlemann, Bonny Doon, King Estates, Gordon Brothers, Poet’s Leap, Mission Hill; Austria – Andau; Germany – Selbach-Oster, Hans Wirsching, Dr Loosen, H. Dönnhoff, Grans-Fassian, Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler, Joh. Jos. Prüm, Johannishof, C. von Schubert, Robert Weil;

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Typical from white grapes

Body – full

Acidity – high but perceived medium

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low to medium (-)

Style #2 – Typical from red grapes

Body – full

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – medium to medium (+)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Ice Wines are often best on their own without food. If taken with food, white dessert wines do best with desserts without milk or dark chocolate that are less sweet than the ice wine. Red dessert wines do better with chocolate or nut based desserts. “Ice Wine as dessert is better than dessert.”

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
White wine based ice wine – pairs with apple pie or fritters, oysters, paté, peaches, pears, strawberries, French toast, flan, Creme Brulee, cheese cake.
Red wine based ice wine – would go with chocolate mousse, nuts such as almonds, hazlenuts, walnuts and pecans, baked strawberry, rhubarb, and cheese based desserts.

Cheese Pairings:
Blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, hard cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino, Grana Padano, aged Chevre