quinta do noval

It’s Christmas time, anyone for Port?

We may be biased but in our opinion there is nothing finer than a bottle of Port at Christmas time… or any time for that matter!

When paired with a good stilton, there is little better, but below are some other excellent food pairings to try over the festive season.

Ruby port

Noval Fine Ruby

Ruby Ports are the ideal partner for a cheeseboard or chocolate dessert. They also make fantastic Port wine reductions to complement roast beef or duck.Try with full flavoured cheeses such as a good farmhouse Cheddar, Red Leicester or gorgonzola.

The sweet and full berry flavours of ruby port complement chocolate desserts such as a molten chocolate cake or a chocolate-walnut tart. Alternatively, a rich cherry pie would work brilliantly.

We love Quinta do Noval’s Ruby Port, so much that we stock it!

Tawny port

Noval 20

A glass of aged tawny port is delicious when matched with a hard, nutty cheese or a pudding such as apple pie, tarte tatin, baked figs or caramel tart.

Cheeses such as Parmesan and Manchego complement the naturally nutty flavours of tawny ports. Alternatively, go for any eggy dessert—for which the Portuguese are famous – such as Pastel de nata or a crème brûlée.

Be warned though, if you start eating Pastel de nata you will find it impossible to stop!

Quinta do Noval have wonderful Tawny ports, available from us here.

Vintage Port

Noval Silval 2005

A vintage is only declared when the port house believes it has a truly exceptional wine.

The truly classic pairing is Vintage Port with blue cheeses such as Stilton. The tangy, soft and mellow character of mature blue cheese compliments the powerful character of Vintage Port. If Stilton isn’t your thing, you could consider Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Saint Agur Blue.

If you are looking for the punch of a Vintage but at a more reasonable price then you should consider Quinta do Noval’s Silval Port. Quinta do Noval is one of the top Port houses in the World and produces the internationally renowned Nacionale. The Silval vintages are only declared in very good years and this is an excellent example. This wine also represents superb value for money compared to other vintage ports.

Snap it up here.

White Port

Noval White

White port is wonderful when served chilled as an aperitif, or poured over ice, and pairs well with olives, nuts, gouda and similar cheeses, or even seafood.

Quinta do Noval produce a wonderful dry white port, available from us here.

If these pairing suggestions have whet (that’s the right spelling) your appetite, then check out our range of Ports.

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Charles’ Ultimate Gift Buying Guide

At Charles Rose Wines, we make finding the perfect Christmas gift easy. Whether it’s a fine wine, aged port or a vintage champagne, we have a fantastic range of perfect presents this Christmas.

If you are unsure of what is the best choice for that special someone this Christmas, why not have a look at our suggestions for a very merry Christmas.

Dapper Dads (and Grandads)

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Port

Noval 20

This delicious blend of ports is carefully matured in oak casks. The perfect way to round off a delicious Christmas lunch.

Marvellous Mums (and Grandmas)

The Mionetto Sergio Prosecco or Mionetto Rose Sergio Prosecco

 

Whether you opt for the White or the Rose prosecco, mum’s everywhere are bound to love these superb sparkling proseccos from the Veneto and Trentino areas of Italy.

Party Princesses

Deutz Brut Rose Champagne

Deutz Rose

It’s party season and what better way for party princesses to celebrate than with a glass of fabulous pink champagne in hand.

Lovers of all things Vintage

Deutz Brut Vintage 2006 Champagne

Deutz Vintage.jpg

This champagne is a class act. Perfect for those who love the finer things in life.

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

Noval Silval 2005

A superb vintage port, perfect to enjoy now.

Those who dare to be different

Quinta do Noval White Port

Noval White

Perfect for those who love to try new things.

Gonzalez Byass 12 Anos Palo Cortado Sherry

Sherry

While Sherry used to be reserved for the Christmas trifle, this wine is not just for Christmas and is certainly on trend this year.

The Wine Aficionado

The Around the World Mixed Case

Case The Aroud The World

If you can’t decide between white or red, then our Around the World case will do the job for you. A great way for wine aficionado’s to sample a wide range of wines.

Organic Foodies/Gin Lover

Forest Gin, Premium London Gry Gin

Gin

This award winning gin is hand-crafted in small batches and is made with organic certified botanicals foraged from Macclesfield Forest.

If you would like any more help, please be sure to email, tweet or connect with us on facebook and our helpful team of wine experts will be sure to point you in the right direction.

Happy hunting!

New Products Launched!!!

At Charles Rose Wines we work hard to bring you top quality wines at fantastic prices and, even if we do say so, we’ve done it again!

We are extremely proud to announce a whole range of fantastic new products. Please allow us to introduce you to them…

Gin

Forest Gin

An exceptional spirit distilled in small batches by husband and wife team, Lindsay and Karl Bond at their distillery in Macclesfield. This fantastic gin is produced using organic juniper berries, coriander seeds and botanicals foraged directly from Macclesfield Forest.

The gin comes in a beautiful screen-printed stoneware bottle with a design created by papercuts artist Suzy Taylor. Each bottle is individually made and is printed by hand. Plus, we’re not the only ones to fall in love with this wonderful gin; it recently scooped Silver in the Ultra Premium Gin category at the Global Gin Masters Competition 2015.

See here for further details.

Noval Silval 2005

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

Quinta do Noval is one of the top Port houses in the World and produces the internationally renowned Nacionale. The Silval vintages are only declared in very good years and this is an excellent example. This wine also represents superb value for money compared to other vintage ports.

Snap it up here.

Sherry

Gonzalez Byass 12 Años Palo Cortado Sherry

This fantastic sherry comes from the Jerez D.O. in Spain and is made from handpicked Palomino grapes. The grapes are lightly pressed before being fermented in stainless steel vats, which are then aged for 12 years in North American Oak barrels. This sherry is for life, not just for Christmas!

Click here for more information.

Tosti Prosecco Brut Atelie

Tosti Prosecco Brut Atelie DOC

For seven generations the Bosca family have been producing wines in the Asti region of Piedmont, Italy. This prosecco is fun and refreshing and to the best of our knowledge, they are the only producer to create a bottle with a naval (see below)!

Get yourself a fizztastic time here.

Tosti Pinot Grigio Rose

Tosti Pinot Grigio Rose Sparkling Wine

Produced by the same Bosca family described above, this elegant and smooth sparkling wine is the perfect with chicken, white meats and fish. The bottle features the famous Tosti naval!

Available here.

For more details about these, and our other fantastic wines and spirits, please see our website. Happy drinking!

How Victorian Botanists Unwittingly Changed European Winemaking Forever

A few select European wines are sold as:

“produced with grapes from ungrafted rootstock”

Ever wondered what that means? Let us tell you!

Vitis Vinifera, the common Europe wine grape, has between 5,000 and 10,000 varietals. Of these, only a few account for nearly all European wine production (we posted about the lack of grape diversity previously).

The current method for growing vines in Europe relies on grafting Vitis Vinifera onto the rootstock of North American vines. A small number of wines are produced using grapes from “ungrafted” vines, but these are usually phenomenally expensive.

Grafting is time consuming and can be difficult. So, why don’t we use ungrafted vines for all European wines?

The short answer is, we can’t.

Grape phylloxera, the scourge of vineyards, makes the use of ungrafted vines impossible almost everywhere in Europe. This tiny relative of the aphid feeds on the roots of grapevines, sucking the sap from them. The resulting damage leaves the vine susceptible to disease.

Grape species native to North America, such as Vitis Labrusca, have developed some resistance to phylloxera. The roots of American vines can secrete a sticky sap that clogs the mouths of phylloxera. If the insect manages to cut into the roots of American vines then once they have moved on the vine can grow a layer of tissue over the wound to prevent bacterial or fungal infection.

North American vines are equipped to defend themselves against phylloxera. However, Vitis Vinifera is not.

French colonists tried to grow Vitis Vinifera in North America in the 16th Century but the vineyards inexplicably failed. Discovering the cause was made all the more difficult by the behaviour of phylloxera. Once the roots have lost a large percentage of sap the pest moves on. Usually, this is before the vine shows any signs of distress. Digging up a dying vine will not likely reveal any of the insects in the roots.

It was subsequently assumed that European vines simply couldn’t be grown in North America. Nobody could understand why.

In the 19th Century it became common practice to import exotic non-native plants into Europe. This was very much a feature of the Victorian era, with Botanists excitedly experimenting with growing plant species gathered from far away places.

With the advent of steamships, crossings of the Atlantic could be carried out in record time. Hence, it is thought that phylloxera began to survive the crossing in the roots of North American vines imported into Europe.

Of course, the inevitable happened, and European wine making was forever changed by what became known as the Great French Wine Blight of the 1850s. That century somewhere between 66% and 90% of all vineyards in Europe were destroyed by the ensuing phylloxera epidemic.

The only known method found to combat phylloxera was proposed by two French wine growers, Leo Laliman and Gaston Bazille, in the 1870s. This technique, namely rootstock grafting, is still in use today. European vines are grafted onto the roots of North American vines. This allows the vines to produce fruit as normal and the roots to have some chance of surviving phylloxera.

A few vineyards did escape the phylloxera epidemic and now produce the only examples of European wines as they were before the epidemic. These ungrafted vines produce grapes which are made into very expensive wines, such as Bollinger’s Vieilles Vignes Françaises Champagne, and Quinta do Noval’s Nacional Vintage Port.

The debate about whether or not grafted or ungrafted vines produce the best grapes is still ongoing to this day.

Image is “Phylloxera cartoon“. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.