Wednesday, 30 November -0001
Wines of the week: October 12
This week: Madeira
By Henry JeffreysWine and cake, what could me more indulgent? I’ve been petitioning the office to institute a mandatory elevenses break where work stops for a slice of seed cake and a glass of madeira. It’s one of the world’s great food and wine matches. It’s not easy, however, to find a wine that goes with cake. The problem is with all the sugar, particularly in the icing. Even very sweet wines such as Sauternes can taste hollow when consumed with a sugar-laden slice of cake. Then there are the things that appear in cake: dried fruit, ginger, lemon and, the substance that strikes fear into the heart of the burliest of wines, chocolate. So be very careful. The classic sweet wines of Spain and Portugal are happy hunting grounds and always easy to obtain.
Seriously Plummy Grand Reserve Maury NV (Waitrose, £10.99) To pair with chocolate one needs a sweet red with some heft: you need plenty of body to stand up to bitterness in the chocolate. Don’t serve anything too old or subtle lest it be overpowered. You could try an LBV port, but this sweet Grenache from the South of France is even better.
Noe PX Gonzalez-Byass (Waitrose, £16.95) This super-sweet sherry has the consistency of engine oil and tastes like liquid Christmas cake. The perfect thing with a dense, moist fruit cake.
Moscatel do Douro Reserva 1996, Portal (Wine Society, £7.95) A curiosity this, from the Port region, it has the nuttiness of a tawny port but with ripe oranges and honeysuckle. Just the sort of thing to go with a lemon or orange cake.
Mountain Malaga Telmo Rodriguez (Adnams, £13.50) Something a little lighter, fresher and lower in alcohol than the preceding wines. If your cake isn’t too heavy, then this is the wine for you.
Daily tip from the lady archive
“PEOPLE cannot help being influenced by their surroundings and their environment; therefore how all important it is that both of these should be healthy and cheery, for health and happiness both go hand-in-hand.”The Lady. The Blessing of Old Health, 18th November 1920
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